Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 25 October |
Saint of the Day: Sts Gavin, Protus, and Januarius
Aleteia logo
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

The heartbreaking story of two neighbors and a piano duet


Aris-Tect Group | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 03/31/21

Two strangers found support and comfort when they needed it most.

A recent story on TikTok showed how two neighbors found companionship and a new lease on life during the pandemic, thanks to a shared love of the piano.

The heartbreaking story started when Giorgio Lo Porto heard his neighbor playing the piano through their dividing wall. Lo Porto is an Italian living in London, who decided to reach out to his neighbor and left a note asking him or her to play “My Heart Will Go On,” as reported in Upworthy.

The mystery neighbor duly obliged, leading Lo Porto to suggest they play a duet together from the comfort of their own homes. He began his tune at 2 p.m., and when he stopped his neighbor continued. Over time the duets between two complete strangers became a regular weekend engagement.


It was really fun #fyp#foryou#music#piano#neighbour#duet#love#foryoupage

♬ original sound – Giorgio Lo Porto

On February 14 Lo Porto shared: “It’s Valentine’s Day. We’re in lockdown. This was our way of saying, I don’t know who you are but I’m here. You’re not alone.”

A week later there was an update on the story. The pair had finally met and “it was better than expected,” shared the TikToker. The mystery pianist happened to be a 78-year-old Polish man named Emil, who was living in temporary accommodation until his home is sold.

“He lost his wife in December due to COVID and all he has left is the piano. And the reason why he plays at 2 p.m. every weekend is because his wife loved it,” shared an emotional Lo Porto.

While Emil didn’t want to appear on any of the videos, he did share his gratitude with Lo Porto for keeping him motivated during a most emotional and lonely time. The young man shared his intention to keep up the musical rendezvous until Emil found a permanent home.


I wasn’t surprised – I knew there was a special soul behind that wall #fyp#foryou#music#neighbour#love#piano#foryoupage

♬ original sound – Giorgio Lo Porto

While the pair offered each other company, Emil also inspired Lo Porto to write his own song, “Dear Emil.”

“When I wrote this piece I started picturing Emil’s life. A 78 y.o. widower who lost his wife due to this stupid virus. Spending days at home alone due to lockdown. Looking forward to play her favorite piano songs at 2 p.m. every weekend, until a note appeared on his door. A letter showing he was heard and not alone. And a new friendship started. Two pianos between a wall, not knowing who was playing. But it didn’t matter,” shared Lo Porto.

The pair played a final duet together — Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata — before Emil moved out at the end of February. While Emile continued to avoid the camera, he did report being happier and was grateful to those who watched their duets.

As Lo Porto pointed out in his video: “You can be the light of somebody else’s darkness. So keep shining.”

While this is heartwarming in itself the story has a heartbreaking ending: On March 14 Lo Porto shared that his old neighbor had passed away in his sleep, “and now he is reunited with his wife.”

The bittersweet story shows the incredible impact two complete strangers can have on each other. As Lo Porto wrote: “Dear Emil, I knew very little about you, but you changed my life. You gave me back my passion, and we shared that with the world. You’ll be in my heart. I’ll keep playing, thinking of how powerful music can be. You said I was your light, but you’ve been mine too. Bye, Emil.”


Read more:
Lockdown love: Italian neighbors to wed after meeting during balcony concerts

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Marinella Bandini
Exclusive: Carlo Acutis as seen by his mother
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio replied to John Paul II’s letter with a miracle
Philip Kosloski
Meet Sandra Sabattini, a newly beatified 22-year-old
Theresa Civantos Barber
St. John Paul II’s perfect advice for lasting love in marriage
Cerith Gardiner
A collection of Pope John Paul II’s quotes on some of life’s most...
John Burger
Once considered for top post in Anglican Church, former bishop be...
Philip Kosloski
How kindness begins in your heart
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.