Duke Musicians Play the Cancer Center Piano



The Steinway & Sons piano on the lower level of Duke Cancer Center relies on volunteers to make it sing.

Sometimes, volunteers on the keys are Duke musicians – artists in residence, professors and administrators – who play for Duke Hospital patients, visitors and colleagues.

When Duke Hospital President Kevin Sowers gets a break in his day, he heads to the Steinway in the Duke Cancer Center and plays for passersby. He started learning how to play when he was 5 years old. His grandmother, who played the piano accompaniment for silent films, gave him lessons. Sowers was a voice and piano music major in college before he switched to nursing.

“Patients and families will always stop and enjoy the music, so it’s a wonderful thing in the midst of my day to be able to come over and give back a gift,” he said.

Meet Sowers and other Duke musicians who bring their favorite songs to the halls and waiting rooms of the Duke Cancer Center.