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On a Saturday in October 2013, nearly 200 musicians, pros and amateurs, came together to play 147 dilapidated pianos stored in a dusty warehouse on Chicago’s west side. 147 Pianos documents this event, while telling the story of Ed Lisauskas and Sylvester Czajkowski who have worked together for decades, fixing and tuning pianos – struggling to maintain a business that may no longer have a place in the contemporary world.

Dolores Wilber dolores.wilber@gmail.com (01) 773-882-1717



Format: HD

TRT: 39:46 min.

Completion date: 2015

Genre: Documentary

Aspect Ratio: 16:9


Major Credits

Director: Dolores Wilber

Composer and Supervising Sound Editor: Robert Steel

Editor: Wonjung Bae

Cinematographer: Pete Biagi

First Conductor: Victor Muenzer

Color Correction: Robert Sliga

Lukas Piano Service owners:

Ed Lisauskas and Sylvester Czajkowski

Producers: Dolores Wilber and Dana Hodgdon


Director Statement

Everything I do is based in my life growing up in Chicago. Where I lived for my first 18 years you were identified by what parish and what park you were from, followed by your ethnicity. The city used to be a mixture of residential and light manufacturing with some heavy manufacturing. That blend of culture, family and work life has vastly eroded.

‘147 Pianos’ is a film of a single performance in October 2013 at Lukas Piano Service on Chicago’s west side where close to 200 musicians, pros and amateurs, adults and children, played piano scores from Chopsticks to Chopin all together, all at once. The music included Chopsticks/Euphemia Allen, Bethena/Scott Joplin, Gymnopedie No. 1/Erik Satie, Scherzo No. 3/Chopin and original experimental scores for the production. The film intertwines interviews with the owners, along with the concert of the `as is’ pianos playing simultaneously by the invited public.

Ed Lisauskas and Sylvester Czajkowski have worked together for decades, fixing and tuning pianos, in a dusty warehouse full of hundreds of rickety but mostly living pianos with a few treasures they have refurbished. Treasures of information about the history of pianos, they tell a Chicago story with a dusty warehouse full of over 150 rickety but living treasures they have refurbished over the last 40 years. They struggle to maintain their lifelong business threatened with digital media and the need for portability in our contemporary world.

Their work, this warehouse and this performance of 147 Pianos hold some of that history of what Chicago once was, even as we watch what it becomes. The performance was directed and produced by Dolores Wilber, Composer and Sound Director Rob Steel, Cinematographer Pete Biagi, and Producer Dana Hodgdon. It was supported by DePaul University Bluelight grant and the help of fifty faculty and students who helped make this film possible.

Dear Chicago is a performance series excavating key locations in the city resulting in live, multimedia site activations each preserved in a documentary film. The series is about urban space and culture and doing things together; it is about longing and memory and honoring working people; it is also about tenacity, endurance, making do, and the evasive joy of the moment. 147 PIANOS is the first in the series, performed at Lukas Piano Service on the west side of Chicago, October 2013.