This concert pianist was unsatisfied with performing on a stage for humans – so instead, he brought his piano to Thailand and played for elephants.
It all started when he traveled to Thailand in 1996 in search of adventure. He and his wife eventually found fulfillment caring for old rescued pachyderms at Elephants World near Kanchanaburi, in Northern Thailand.
After working with the rehabilitated elephants for ten years, Barton finally decided to achieve his lifelong dream of playing piano for the mammals.
He hauled his piano up the mountain to where the elephants were roaming and started playing Beethoven – and the animals loved it, particularly a blind elephant named Pla-Ra.
“Each time I played music for Pla-Ra, whether flute or piano, there was an identical reaction,” says Barton. “Pla-Ra would stand for a while, and then he would curl his trunk and hold his trunk in his mouth until the piece was over. No matter how long that piece was, he would stay like that.”
Barton originally filmed the exchange and posted it to YouTube as a means of raising funds for the donation-run sanctuary – but after seeing how much the elephants enjoyed the tunes, he started hosting regular concerts.
The clip was shared so widely on social media, Barton’s story was eventually made into a documentary called Music For Elephants.
(WATCH the documentary trailer below)
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