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Captain of the Ship: Enver Bander Mans the Rim-Bending Helm

It’s 6:45 a recent Friday morning, and there’s a big guy sitting in a Toyota Highlander in the parking lot of the Steinway & Sons factory in Astoria. His name is Enver Bander, but the guys on the shop floor call him "Mango." He doesn’t mind the nickname; in fact, by some accounts, he came up with it himself. He gets to the factory every day about this time. The shift whistle won’t sound for another twenty-five minutes, but Mango arrives early by design. If he doesn’t leave his house in Palisades Park early and make it over the George Washington Bridge before the brutal traffic builds, he’s sunk. But he enjoys these few extra minutes every morning. He uses them to collect himself, to get his head on for the day. Once he’s inside the factory, where seven to ten gigantic "books" of hard-rock maple are waiting to be pressed into the iconic shape of the Steinway & Sons grand piano, lead rim bender Enver Bander will have plenty on his mind.

Enver is tall, well over six feet, with a bristly head of salt-and-pepper hair that was once a thick slate-black. He wears oversized glasses both to improve his vision and to protect his eyes on the factory floor. As a lead rim bender, his position involves calling the plays on one of the most meticulously choreographed segments in the year-long construction of a Steinway & Sons piano. Consider the task ahead of him today: together with a team of four other men, Enver will repeat the same process for nine hours. He will carry a foot-wide "book" of 17-ply glued hard rock maple across the floor of the factory basement (the dungeon, Steinway workers call it), where the venerable rim press awaits. Here the men will belly the wobbling book up against the press. For the first few minutes, it will be a wrestling match, but eventually the strips of wood will be bullied into place along the press, where post-like clamps will hold the rim steady. Then, for long moments, there will be no sound save for the spinning whir of T-wrenches and the creaks and moans of tensing wood against steel. Enver and his team will win.

It’s an ungainly, physical job. At one end, the rim has to be bent into an almost 90-degree angle. Enver and the guys use body weight and brute force to shape the wood, and there’s a great deal of hand-guided precision at play. Because it has to be done right. The rim will soon house a 340-pound iron plate, not to mention all the other sounding and structural parts of the piano, so it needs to be solid and structurally flawless. And the shaping has to be done quick. There’s glue drying on these strips of wood.

And through all of this, there is Enver, moving solidly and purposefully, relying on a carefully honed system of non-verbal communication to lead the rim-bending orchestra through its complicated movements of pressing and tightening. Once the rim is bent, it will spend the next twenty-four hours drying on the press before going on to its next destination—the rim conditioning room, where it will spend at least two months before being wheeled back into the factory for the next part of its transformation into a grand piano.

"Enver is the captain of the ship," said Lorenzo Espinal, foreman of the Rim Bending Department. "He directs the show." Espinal is more than glad to have Enver at the helm as a point man. "On Mondays I give him the rims for the week—we talk about what’s going to be produced, and he guides the guys in the basement," he said. "It’s flawless. They move in perfect concert. And the thing that always gets me is that once the process begins, there’s no talking, no verbal communication, because they have to know instinctively what they have to do. They watch Mango—he leads the process, and everybody watches him."

Enver is coming up on a twenty-year anniversary at Steinway, and during that time he’s become known as a generous and encouraging steward to younger craftsmen.

"He’s taught me a lot of what I know now," said Luis Polanco, another member of the rim-bending team. An easygoing guy with roots in El Salvador, Polanco was a rookie in the rim department when he first met Enver some fifteen years ago. "We work as a team," he said. "It’s a group of four or five of us, depending on what type of rim we are making, and Mango’s always there—he makes us laugh, makes our job feel easier. We’re bending six or seven rims a day, and every one of them is a challenge. He keeps us all together, helps us make something we’re proud of."

Despite his reputation as a jokester, one-on-one Enver is actually a soft-spoken guy. He’s deferential about his key role on the rim-bending team. "We’re a family," he said simply. "We look out for each other."

A native of Montenegro, Enver lived and worked in Bosnia-Herzegovina until the ravages of war changed the course of his life forever. During the Bosnian War, his father and brother disappeared, and his wife and four children were evacuated as refugees, forcing a separation that lasted for several years until Enver was reunited with his family in the United States in 1995. He quickly found work at Steinway & Sons and has been using his skill and precision to bend the rims of concert grands ever since. A proud father of four, he’s quick to turn the conversation to his grown kids and their accomplishments: "Two M.D.s, one nurse practitioner, one bank manager. They’re doing good. Doing good."

Enver shares his locker space with six other guys. It’s an unassuming life: a regular commute and a physically-demanding job, weekends spent visiting with his kids and grandkids. When it’s time for lunch, he brown-bags it in the break room with the others, usually cutting up and sharing jokes with the team. He’s happy where he is, happy to be part of the Steinway tradition, working with his hands to shape instruments that are an iconic part of American history. "I have to be strong," he said simply, when asked how long he thinks he’ll be bending rims. "I hope I can do it as long as I stay strong." He laughed. "And beyond that, I guess I can teach it to the other guys. I’m comfortable with this job. I love it."

CAN’T MISS: Peek inside the Steinway & Sons factory to watch Mango and the rim-bending team at work:

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New Concert Series Brings Steinway Artists Inside the Steinway Factory

Long Island City, NY (July 29, 2014) – Steinway & Sons announces a groundbreaking new concert series that brings the artistry of two groups together: the renowned pianists who perform on Steinway pianos, and the talented craftspeople who create them. The “Live from the Factory Floor” series kicked off this summer at the Steinway & Sons factory in Astoria. The quarterly series is a pioneering concept: it invites selected Steinway Artists to the factory for live shows performed for the entire Steinway factory production staff. The first concert, recently filmed in the second floor polishing department of the historic factory, featured Steinway Artist Jason Moran and showed some of the incredible mutual respect that exists between two key groups—creators and musicians—who love Steinway pianos.

“Magic happens at our factory every day but none of us will forget our day with Jason,” said Michael Sweeney, President & CEO, Steinway & Sons. “Having our craftspeople and our artists come together is like a dramatic reunion of separated family members. It has long been our pleasure to bring all of these talented people together.”

The series’ first concert was performed by Jason Moran, a versatile performer called “the most provocative thinker in current jazz” by Rolling Stone. Moran was hand-selected to kick off the concert series; his energetic brand of jazz and improvisation had the audience of Steinway craftspeople looking on like proud parents. The concert also provided Moran with an opportunity to talk with production workers and better understand the diversity that infuses each and every instrument. The hand-crafting that goes into the piano by the factory’s 300+ workers, Moran noted, is what makes each instrument unique.“Each one of these instruments has characteristics that are unlike the cousin that sits right next to it. They are all from a family. They might look the same, but they talk differently.”

Steinway & Sons will release a series of short video excerpts of the Jason Moran performance every Tuesday throughout the month of August. The video shorts will also feature a special behind-the-scenes look at the process of selecting a Steinway concert grand in the Steinway Factory Selection Room, and interviews with Jason Moran. The “Live from the Factory Floor” concert series will return in the fall and will bring a different Steinway Artist—in a wide range of genres—to the factory each season.

To view the current video short and future videos visit and subscribe to Steinway’s YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/SteinwayOfficial. In the first video short, Jason Moran can be heard playing “Handful of Keys” by the legendary Fats Waller. His latest album on the Blue Note label, “All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller,” will be released on September 16.

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Steinway Artist Feature: Seeing the Music. Carter Burwell Brings Music to the Big Screen

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Maybe it was the fire that did it. Twenty-five years ago, a Steinway Model O survived a fire in suburban Virginia, making it through with a bit of case damage but with all sounding pieces intact. Carter Burwell’s mother spotted the charred instrument, which the homeowners had written off, and spoke up. “Could I have that?” she said, “for my son?” And it’s easy to speculate—perhaps when Carter sat down at the restored piano, there was some residual heat banked in the soundboard of the old Steinway, or some wayward flames licking outward through the keys. How else can you explain the roaring talents of Carter Burwell, whose music career has encompassed performance, composing, conducting, and scoring across genres ranging from punk to country to classical?

The diversity of his oeuvre notwithstanding, Burwell is best known for his film work. A Steinway Artist since 2012, Burwell has scored more than eighty movies from every major Hollywood studio and has worked with such renowned directors as the Coen brothers, Spike Jonez, Mike Nichols, and Bill Condon. His current project, for which he just wrapped up recording in June, is the score for Olive Kitteridge, an HBO miniseries drama based on Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel of the same name. The Lisa Cholodenko-directed series will star Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, and Bill Murray. In addition to composing the score for the eight-piece ensemble which performs the pieces, Burwell himself also plays piano on all tracks.

Like almost every project Burwell has composed, the Olive Kitteridge score began in a very specific place: at the keyboard. “Oh, yes,” he said, “the piano. It always begins at the piano.” Or, to be more specific—Burwell’s work always begins at one of two Steinway pianos: the charmed Model O from the Virginia fire or the venerable Model D that resides in his Long Island home. The reason is simple, he explained: to score a piece of art as complex as a film, which combines multiple visual and audio elements, he needs to take a step back and begin at the beginning—with the core question of why the music appears in the film.

“Typically,” he said, “even if the score will not feature a piano, I begin at the piano. After I’ve seen the film or read the script, I usually try to get away from the image and sit at the piano to come up with ideas—melodic ideas, harmonic ideas, whatever.” Burwell said he has to start at a very foundational level, simply asking why the music should exist in the particular film project. What is it there to do? For this exploration, he explained, the piano is the purest instrument.

Music as an Interpretive Tool

There’s no denying the power of music to shape what a film audience experiences. (To understand how dramatically music can change interpretation of a scene, check the exploration of Burwell’s score in the Coen brothers’ True Grit in the video link below.) But in the early stages of working on a score, Burwell said, a question sometimes arises: how hard should the music be working to advance particular features of the film—say plot points or character motivations?

“This can be an interesting exploration,” he said. “For example, in Olive Kitteridge, Frances McDormand, who plays Olive and is a producer on the series, brought up the idea of allowing the music to have a hand in developing the characters. It’s interesting because that’s a logical approach, but it actually ended up taking things in a direction that didn’t work as well. When the music is telling you what’s going on inside the characters’ minds, it can become melodramatic.”

“Also,” Burwell continued, “in a way, the mystery of what’s going on inside the characters is one of the most engaging things about watching a film, and watching this film, Olive Kitteridge, in particular. If you clarify that mystery too much, it can take away one of the things that’s fun about the experience of watching a film—wondering why in the world is she doing that??”

In the end, then, he explained, the music of Olive Kitteridge mostly sits outside the characters. “It does not tell you that much about the characters, which is interesting. It’s not what you might at first think a story like this would do. But one of the things I like about this work is trying to think first about what the real role of music is. Why do we want it in this piece?”

Why Steinway?

Burwell always begins at one of his two Steinways, and the reason has to do with pulling back to get a global view of the function of the music in the film.

“The nature of the music for Olive Kitteridge—and the nature of the characters that embody it—is pretty quiet. There’s a lot going on with these characters, but they keep it inside. The music, therefore, is quiet in that same way. It is designed to express a sense of tension—there’s some level of conflict going on inside the character—but I don’t think we ever get to mezzo piano in the whole score. So I wanted a very particular piano sound. It’s hard to put it into words, but it’s a warmth and a bell-like quality I look for in a Steinway, and a quality I knew I could get from it. We made a special arrangement to have a Model B brought into the recording studio, and it worked out beautifully.”

HBO’s Olive Kitteridge will debut at the Venice Film Festival in August. Look for a stateside air date in November.

Can’t Miss: Watch Carter Burwell and the Coen brothers discuss “The Art of the Score: The Mind, Music, and Moving Images” with Alec Baldwin and neuroscientist Aniruddh Patel.

About Carter Burwell
New York native Carter Burwell is one of the most widely-regarded composers in American film. Among his best-known film scores are Twilight, Where the Wild Things Are, Miller’s Crossing, And the Band Played On, Conspiracy Theory, and The Blind Side. His music has been an integral part of the Joel and Ethan Coen Brothers oeuvre, with Burwell providing the scores for Coen Brothers classics including Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Fargo, Hudsucker Proxy, Barton Fink, and True Grit. He is a graduate of Harvard College, where he studied animation and electronic music. He had an early career working as a computer scientist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island and later as a computer modeler and animator at the New York Institute of Technology before segueing into his music career—first as a musician with NYC bands The Same, Thick Pigeon and Radiante. He and his wife, the artist Christine Sciulli, live in Long Island and New York City, where Burwell teaches and composes for film, dance, theater, and television. www.carterburwell.com

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The Boston Chronicle: Institutional News from Steinway & Sons

Boston Chronicle 2014 Issue OneThe Boston Chronicle presents Institutional news from Steinway & Sons regarding Steinway-Designed Boston pianos. Published twice a year, this publication includes in-depth articles with compelling photographs covering Steinway's Institutional customers.

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Colton Dixon Named Steinway Artist

Steinway Artist Coton Dixon

New York City, NY (June 24, 2014) – Tennessee native Colton Dixon first caught the world’s eye when he rose through the ranks of thousands of contenders to finish seventh in the eleventh season of American Idol in 2012. Now Dixon—a groundbreaking new talent in the Christian music genre—is the latest addition to the roster of Steinway Artists, a select and prestigious group of pianists who have chosen to perform exclusively on The Family of Steinway-Designed Pianos. The twenty-two-year-old Dixon is in the company of such electric Steinway performers as Billy Joel, Lang Lang, Diana Krall, and Harry Connick, Jr. as well as immortal legends such as Vladimir Horowitz and Irving Berlin. He takes to the road this summer to support the release of his second album, Anchor.

Dixon’s first album, A Messenger, was released in 2013 to wide critical and popular acclaim. The album set the largest first-week sales record by a new solo Christian artist. Dixon was the No. 22 best-selling new artist across all genres, and A Messenger was the ninth top selling physical CD sold in all genres in 2013. The album was nominated for three Dove awards, winning in the category of “Best Contemporary Rock Album.” Dixon also received a nomination for a K-LOVE Fan Award in the Male Artist of the Year category.

Dixon’s forthcoming album, Anchor, was produced by David Garcia (TobyMac, Mandisa, Newsboys) and Red Decibel (Switchfoot, Kelly Clarkson, Jeremy Camp). He has also worked with renowned songwriters and artists such as David Garcia, Red Decibel, TobyMac, Trevor McNevan (TFK), Matthew West, Ben Glover and Matt Bronleewe. The debut single from the new album, “More of You,” was released in mid-June.

“I’m honored to be able to say I’m partnered with the best,” Dixon said about his new designation as a Steinway Artist.

“Steinway & Sons is delighted to welcome Colton into the family of Steinway Artists. His stunning work in the Christian music world is a wonderful addition to the diverse talents of the artists who perform on our pianos,” said Jenn Gordon, Manager of Concert & Artist Activities at Steinway & Sons. “It is an honor for Steinway to recognize, support, and cheer on Colton during this exciting time in his career.”

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Stewart Goodyear plays Tchaikovsky and Grieg on Steinway & Sons’ first-ever orchestral release

On his Steinway & Sons debut due out in June, the intrepid Canadian pianist shows off the intelligence and audacity that have led the press to compare him to Pollini and Arrau. Here, on the label’s inaugural orchestral recording, Goodyear brings his unique vision and renowned technique to two of the most powerful virtuosic works in the repertoire, Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Piano No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23, and Grieg’s Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16. Stewart Goodyear will appear at Bargemusic in Brooklyn, NY on June 22 & 29 and July 6 & 27, performing the complete Beethoven sonatas.

Two of the most famous piano concertos ever written, Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor and Grieg’s Concerto for Piano in A minor, shine anew in the nimble hands and imaginative mind of Stewart Goodyear on this debut disc on the Steinway & Sons label. The first orchestral recording ever produced by the label, the recording features Goodyear and the Czech National Symphony, who together unleash an impressive spectrum of color and nuance to recapture the initial shock these pieces elicited before they became iconic.

 Like Maurizio Pollini and Claudio Arrau, to whom Goodyear has frequently been likened, Goodyear has a reputation for getting audiences to jettison their expectations and experience classic repertoire in a new light. Of one of his 11-hour Beethoven sonata marathons in 2012, Musical Toronto wrote that the performance “yielded a depiction of Beethoven’s ideas so vivid that it compels attention.” Gramophone praised his recording of the complete Beethoven sonata cycle as “vital, communicative and intelligently stylish.” On this album, he basks in how each composer broke with convention, from strange harmonic juxtapositions to an unabashed incorporation of folk music.

“Passion can be quite messy,” Goodyear said of his approach to Beethoven. Likewise on this new album, Goodyear is not afraid to transcend the aesthetics of elegance to get to the heart of some of the most passionate music ever written.

In addition to Goodyear’s four concert dates at Bargemusic this summer, upcoming appearances include:

  • July 10, 2014: Festival de Lanaudiere, Joliette (Canada), Orchestre Metropolitain (Bartok: Piano Concerto No.2)
  • July 22, 2014: Festival de Lanaudiere, Joliette (Canada), Solo Recital at St. Charles Borromeo Cathedral

About Stewart Goodyear
Proclaimed a “a phenomenon” by the Los Angeles Times and “one of the best pianists of his generation” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stewart Goodyear is an accomplished young pianist as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, recitalist and composer.

Mr. Goodyear has performed with major orchestras of the world, including Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Bournemouth Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and NHK Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Goodyear began his training at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, received his bachelor’s degree from Curtis Institute of Music, and completed his master’s at The Juilliard School. Known as an improviser and composer, he has been commissioned by orchestras and chamber music organizations, and performs his own solo works. In the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Mr. Goodyear performed all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas in one day at Koerner Hall, McCarter Theatre, and Mondavi Center. His recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas has received critical acclaim and a Juno nomination for Best Classical Solo Recording. In June and July 2014, he will perform the complete sonatas in four three-hour programs at Bargemusic in Brooklyn, NY.

Highlights for the 2014 –15 season include two concerts at Festival de Lanaudière in Joliette, Quebec, recitals in Chicago, Montreal, and Toronto, performances with the Kosei Wind Ensemble in Tokyo, Japan, and a duo-piano collaboration with Emanuel Ax in Toronto at Roy Thompson Hall.

About Steinway & Sons label
The Steinway & Sons music label was founded in 2010 and has produced many phenomenal albums since its inception. Recordings on the Steinway & Sons record label can be purchased through ArkivMusic.com as well as Amazon, iTunes and other fine retailers around the globe. This collaboration under the umbrella of the historic Steinway & Sons is a perfect vessel for producing the finest quality recordings by some of the most talented pianists in the world.

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Edgewood ISD “Night of Inspiration” as Steinway Piano Unveiled (YouTube)

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Steinway & Sons releases Stanislav Khristenko’s enchanting debut album, Fantasies

The Ukrainian born pianist, consistently praised for his alluring combination of deep sensitivity and impeccable technique, conjures a sonic wonderland on his Steinway & Sons debut, released digitally May 6 and physically May 27. In addition to Schumann’s Phantasie in C Major, Op. 17, an iconic work of the early Romantic repertoire, Khristenko delves into Fantasies by Brahms, Bruckner and Zemlinsky. Khristenko will perform his debut recital at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on Monday, May 19, 2014, at 7:30pm. Tickets are $35–$45.

Praised by The Washington Post for his ability to “spin a story,” Stanislav Khristenko builds his raconteur reputation on Fantasies, his poignant Steinway & Sons debut album due out in May. An homage to the Romantics, Khristenko brings his unhurried tenderness and superlative technique to Fantasies by Schumann, Brahms, Bruckner and Zemlinsky.

The disc opens with Schumann’s beloved Phantasie in C Major, Op. 17, of which he wrote to Clara Wieck “the first movement may well be the most passionate I have ever composed – a deep lament for you.” The piece, dedicated to Franz Liszt, is a technical marvel and Khristenko rises to its challenges, suspending a shimmering, celestial surface over the work’s earthy emotional core. His performance of this piece at the 2013 Cleveland International Piano Competition helped him to capture the top prize.

On Bruckner’s Fantasie in G Major, Khristenko applies a subtle, intuitive rubato that perfectly captures the sweet longing of deceptively powerful miniature. He savors the darkness of Zemlinsky’s fin de siècle Fantasien über Gedichte von Richard Dehmel, Op. 9, with the sparkling runs of the final movement arriving like long-awaited rays of sunshine. For Brahms’s seven-movement Fantasie, Op. 116, Khristenko flexes his muscles on the Capriccios, exacting dexterous control over all 10 fingers, while never losing sight of the complex emotional tapestry that Brahms wove into his structures.

About Stanislav Khristenko
Stanislav Khristenko's performances have captivated audiences since his first solo recital at the age of eleven. A “poet of piano,” and “an architect of grand style” (Le Soir), Mr. Khristenko has been praised in the media around the globe. Spanish El Pais wrote of his “precise technique, powerful sound and fingers of steel.” The Washington Post said “it was clear that Khristenko knows how to spin a story; his pacing was mature and unhurried, the dynamic range wide, and his fingers exhibited power and sensitivity.” Cleveland Plain Dealer described his performance as “shimmering filigree and phrases of exquisite tenderness, in which every note mattered.”

Mr. Khristenko has appeared as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Belgium, the Cleveland Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, Berliner Musikfreunde Orchestra, Takamatsu Symphony Orchestra and Moscow Conservatory Orchestra, among others. His performance highlights include solo recitals at Carnegie Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, L'Auditori de Barcelona; and performances with orchestra in Grosser Hall of Berlin Philharmonie, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Moscow Conservatory Great Hall, and Hong Kong City Hall.

Mr. Khristenko has won top prizes at some of the most prestigious international piano competitions. In 2013 alone he won First Prize at the 2013 Cleveland International Piano Competition, First Prize at the 2013 Maria Canals International Music Competition, and was named Fourth Laureate at the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition.

Born in Ukraine, Mr. Khristenko is a graduate of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

About Steinway & Sons label
The Steinway & Sons music label was founded in 2010 and has produced many phenomenal albums since its inception. Recordings on the Steinway & Sons record label can be purchased through ArkivMusic.com as well as Amazon, iTunes and other fine retailers around the globe. This collaboration under the umbrella of the historic Steinway & Sons is a perfect vessel for producing the finest quality recordings by some of the most talented pianists in the world.

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Steinway & Sons releases rising star pianist Yoonie Han’s delectable debut

On Love and Longing, the up-and-coming pianist’s Steinway & Sons debut album available digitally May 6 and physically May 27, Yoonie Han invites us into her soundworld, enveloping us with her exceptional imagination and the narrative power of some of classical music’s most famous melodies. The Romantics (Schubert, Liszt) and their descendants (Wagner, Prokofiev) figure prominently on this lovelorn album, but there are also a number of surprises, including the world premiere recording of a flamenco-inspired new piece written for Han by composer Theodore Wiprud.

Everywhere Yoonie Han performs, the South Korean born pianist with a Curtis/Juilliard pedigree entrances her audience with her “flowing tones, poetic phrasing, and heavenly singing melodies” (The Cincinnati Enquirer) as well as her “musical imagination…and feel for complex textures” (The Washington Post). Since 2009 when she was awarded the Gawon Music Prize, which recognizes young pianists destined for greatness, Han’s unique vision of the solo piano repertoire has been gaining traction with critics and fans alike. Her Steinway & Sons debut brings this vision to the fore.

Han delights in the deep humanity of music and this characteristic is obvious in her sparkling, penetrating renditions of Liszt’s transcriptions of Schubert lieder and of Wagner’s epic Isoldens Liebestod. She freezes Romeo & Juliet at the story’s most tender moment in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet before Parting, and celebrates another famous couple with a heart-rending performance of Friedman’s arrangement of Mélodie from Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck. And there is as much expressed in the expansive silences of Reynaldo Hahn’s rarely performed “poèmes pour piano” as there is in achingly beautiful phrases.

She indulges in the sultrier side of love in Granados’s El amor y la muerte from Goyescas, providing a satisfying sequel to her ravishing recording of other sections of this grand work. Han’s deep interest in Spanish art and music is also on display in El Jaleo, a piece written especially for Han by the American composer Theodore Wiprud that takes its inspiration from the depiction of flamenco in John Singer Sargent’s painting of the same name. This is the world premiere recording of El Jaleo.

About Yoonie Han
South Korean pianist Yoonie Han has won top prizes in distinguished international competitions and the highest accolades for her poetic performances in major concert halls in the U.S. and around the world.

In 2009, Ms. Han was honored with the Gawon Music Award as the “most brilliant pianist aged 17 to 31 of any nationality who possesses the most promising potential for global prominence.”

She is the first-prize winner of the Washington International Piano Competition (2011), the Fulbright Competition (2011), Juilliard’s Gina Bachauer Piano Competition (2008), the World Piano Competition (2008), and the Kosciuszko Chopin Competition (2005), and has garnered major prizes at the Helsinki Maj Lind International Piano Competition and Milan Concorso Pianistico Ettore Pozzoli Internaziole. Following her 2001 grand-prize award in the Korea National Music Competition, the Korean Ministry of Culture named her its “most promising young artist.”

Ms. Han made her solo debut with the Seoul Philharmonic at age 13, and has since performed with the Berlin Symphoniker, Buffalo Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Banff Festival Orchestra, and I Pomeriggi Musicali di Milan. Her performances have also been broadcast on WQXR- New York, NPR’s “Artist Showcases”, Chicago’s WFMT, and many others.

Ms. Han received a Bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music studying with Eleanor Sokoloff, and a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School as a pupil of Robert McDonald. She is completing her Doctorate at SUNY Stony Brook, and continuing her studies with Philippe Entremont. Yoonie Han is a Steinway Artist.

About Steinway & Sons label
The Steinway & Sons music label was founded in 2010 and has produced many phenomenal albums since its inception. Recordings on the Steinway & Sons record label can be purchased through ArkivMusic.com as well as Amazon, iTunes and other fine retailers around the globe. This collaboration under the umbrella of the historic Steinway & Sons is a perfect vessel for producing the finest quality recordings by some of the most talented pianists in the world. 

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University of Michigan Acquires Treasured George Gershwin Steinway

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2014 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

One of America’s most prominent and prolific composers, George Gershwin’s legacy is honored through the Gershwin initiative.

Opening his email after a long weekend last April, Robert Grijalva probably felt as if he just unfolded a map leading to Montezuma’s Treasure. The director of piano technology at the University of Michigan joyfully learned that George Gershwin’s 1933 Model A Steinway would be leaving a New York City apartment for the U-M School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

Marc Gershwin, George’s nephew, was moving to the west coast and offered the iconic instrument to complete a freshly-minted relationship between U-M and the Gershwin Archives. Christopher Kendall, Dean of the U-M School of Music, Theatre and Dance, describes Gershwin’s music as the “soundtrack of American identity” whose personality traits likely revolved around the historic Steinway.

“The powerful aesthetic insight of George and Ira Gershwin was that great music could be made for any audience anywhere – in the concert hall, the opera house, the theatre, the jazz club,” he observes. “Quality depended not on the category of music being made be it classical or popular, but on the imagination of the musician. George, sometimes with Ira by his side, would have composed popular songs, opera and orchestral works on this piano.”

The Model A is one of three George Gershwin pianos in the United States. The others are in the Library of Congress and the American Songwriters Hall of Fame. George took delivery of the piano while preparing for the 10th anniversary tour of “Rhapsody in Blue.” He likely used the instrument to create portions of “Porgy and Bess,” first performed in 1935.

In this rare image from 1935, George Gershwin works at the Steinway Model A recently donated by his nephew to the University of Michigan. Photos courtesy of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin trust.

George Gershwin was a Steinway Artist and no stranger to the Steinway family. At one of many high society dinner parties hosted by Julia Steinway in the 1920s, he joined a star-powered guest list that included Vladimir Horowitz, the Fritz Kreislers and the Sergei Rachmaninoffs, according to Richard K. Lieberman, author of the book, Steinway & Sons.

In partnership with the estates of George and Ira, U-M recently launched the Gershwin Initiative, a multi-faceted project uniquely designed to showcase the duos’ distinguished lyrics and music. Musicology faculty and collaborators will create the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition, producing new, scholarly imprints of the brothers’ complete musical legacy. In addition, U-M will have Gershwin-related courses, symposia, and, most importantly, performances “in which our voice, orchestral, jazz, and musical theatre students and faculty will bring the edition drafts to life on stage,” explains Dean Kendall.

The piano’s original action, like the piano itself, was handcrafted in the Steinway factory in New York during the Great Depression.

He envisions the prized piano being used for a variety of performances in the future. “Marc Gershwin donated his uncle’s instrument as a symbol of our partnership, but more than that I know he wants this instrument to have new life making music, to be accessible to our students and faculty musicians,” he said. Currently undergoing restoration, the Gershwin Steinway is expected to be front and center for a dedication recital later this year. “All of our students and faculty sincerely appreciate the excellence of the more than 100 Steinway instruments we have on our stages and in our practice facilities,” Dean Kendall said.

Grijalva, meanwhile, remains vigilant about guarding his school’s newly-discovered treasure. “We talked a lot about being sensitive to the history of the instrument, to figure out the right way to preserve it and to make sure people understand that this is a Gershwin Steinway,” he says.

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Continuing a Rich Tradition, Moravian College Becomes an All-Steinway School

New Steinway pianos make history in the hallowed halls of Moravian College. Image courtesy of John Kish IV Photography.

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2014 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Moravian College tells a uniquely American story as one of the newest All-Steinway Schools.

Imbued with the teachings of John Amos Comenicus, followers of Protestant martyr John Hus left central Europe for what would become Bethlehem; a rural settlement situated about 60 miles outside Philadelphia. The highly innovative Comenicus viewed education as a vehicle of salvation, and schools became a cornerstone in the New World. Modern-day Moravian traces its lineage to humble beginnings as a girls’ boarding school in May, 1742.

Music laid the foundation for religious services and cultural engagements. Among the Music Department’s many notable structures, the Single Brethren’s House served as a hospital during the Revolutionary War, meriting a visit from General George Washington in 1783. Later, in his second term as president, Washington would petition Moravian to admit two of his grand nieces.

Such precious heritage deserves only the best programs, faculty and instruments possible, according to one proud alumnus.

“As the sixth oldest college in the country, Moravian has a rich and vibrant history that fits well with the Steinway brand,” says President Bryon Grigsby, Class of 1990. “We could not be prouder to join the All-Steinway program and continue in the traditions of excellence that were established by our founders.”

Gathered around a celebratory cake at the All-Steinway School celebration are (Front) representatives of the Aierstock family: Madeline Koch, Peg Moore, Patty Moore Koch, Larry Koch, Peter Koch and Anna Baker. (rear) Jacobs Music Company of Philadelphia: Chris Rinaldi, President and Valerie Vogt, Vice-President of Steinway Sales with Moravian President Byron Grigsby and Sally Coveleskie of Steinway & Sons.

Moravian completed their All-Steinway School initiative with a gift from late alumna Betty Louise Aierstock Moore, whose family generously donated $350,000 for new pianos. Students are extremely enthusiastic when playing instruments by Steinway & Sons, says Music Department Chair Dr. Hilde M. Binford: “They have become a bit protective of them, which is all to the good.”

Dr. Honnie Spencer, a native of Antigua who also graduated from Moravian in 1990 with dual degrees in biology and piano performance, recently donated a Model M, bringing the total number of instruments on campus to 28. After receiving her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University, she is combining both passions in life, opening a medical clinic while giving free lessons to young musicians at the Logan Community Music School in Winston- Salem, N.C.

Facilities Manager E. Blair Flintom is widely recognized as the pioneer who championed the All-Steinway cause from its infancy. “I was able to help create a legacy for future students and faculty that I could not have done on my own. They won’t know me or the wonderful people and organizations that were responsible for this legacy, but they will know about their college’s musical heritage and its unwavering commitment to excellence,” he said.

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At George Mason University, Practice is a Steinway Grand Experience

Dr. Linda A. Monson, Distinguished Service Professor of Music and a Steinway Artist, with George Mason University piano students, from left, Ina Mirtcheva, Andrew Miller, John Kim, and Yoonji Kim. Photo: Evan Cantwell, George Mason University.

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2014 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Acknowledging that great performances usually begin well ahead of time in cloistered havens of discovery, George Mason University recently added 23 Steinway grand pianos to its practice rooms and teaching studios.

“It’s important to provide Steinway grand pianos in the places where most of the work occurs for our students,” observed Dr. Linda Apple Monson, Director of Keyboard Studies. “We wanted to offer the finest instruments possible in the practice rooms so that they are fully prepared when they approach similar instruments on the concert stage. We also wanted to emphasize the seriousness of the practice room culture with superior pianos that would help inspire them to do their best in every environment.”

In August, the School of Music took possession of 10 Model B and 13 Model A Steinway grand pianos, bringing the total number of Steinways at GMU to 80. Since that time, she said students and faculty have been thrilled with the control, beautiful tone and consistency of touch with each of the new instruments.

While some practice rooms are exclusive to piano majors, most of the facilities with the new Steinways are available to all music majors. “Everyone, from our pianists to our singers and our instrumentalists, absolutely loves them,” she said.

Dr. Monson, who is a Steinway Artist, could not say enough about the last six years GMU has spent under the All-Steinway seal. “We have seen direct growth in recruitment and retention of many wonderful students while elevating our visibility has allowed us to achieve a higher level of excellence,” she said. “One of the most visible differences has been in the number of international students, some who have come directly as a result of GMU being an All-Steinway School.”

As Virginia’s largest public university, GMU hosts music students from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, Costa Rica and Russia, among other places. “There is great value not only in being an All-Steinway School, but knowing that they have Steinway grands in the practice rooms,” Dr. Monson said.

Hyun Ji Kim, an undergraduate piano major, gave the highest praise: “Practicing on these new Steinway grand pianos is like being in heaven!”

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Markus Gottschlich Joins Steinway & Sons Artists’ Roster

Long Island City, NY (May 5, 2014) – Steinway & Sons is proud to announce that Markus Gottschlich has been added to the roster of Steinway Artists, a select and prestigious group of pianists who have chosen to perform exclusively on The Family of Steinway-Designed pianos.

Gottschlich, an Austrian-born pianist and composer, is known for his fearless blend of traditional and new-world influences and for his innovative contributions to the jazz scenes of Vienna, New York, and most recently South Florida.

In reviewing his 2008 debut album, When the Day is Done, Jazzreview.com wrote: “The piano is an extension of Markus Gottschlich’s personality as truly as the trumpet was a conduit for Dizzy Gillespie’s voice, and the guitar is another appendage that Eric Clapton was born with so naturally in his hands. Nobody could imagine either Gillespie or Clapton without their instruments, which is something that both men have in common with Gottschlich.”

For his sophomore album, 2013’s Of Places Between, the pianist teamed up with Grammy Award-winning musicians Federico Britos and Jose Javier Freire. The result was a stunning collaboration that cemented Gottschlich’s status as one to watch in the contemporary jazz world. “[Gottschlich is]...poised to become one of the country’s leading jazz performers,” wrote Miami Magazine. AllAboutJazz.com calls him “a painter of emotions via music.” The entirety of Gottschlich’s work on this album was performed on a Steinway & Sons Model D concert grand piano.

As a Steinway Artist, Gottschlich is now on the same roster as some of the most dynamic names in piano, including Billy Joel, Lang Lang, Diana Krall, and Harry Connick, Jr., as well as immortal legends such as Vladimir Horowitz and Irving Berlin. He is the first Austrian-born jazz pianist to be named a Steinway Artist.

“To me a Steinway piano is the only instrument that has the innate ability to give back, stimulate, and inspire,” Gottschlich said. “Performing on a Steinway not only allows me to express the full spectrum of emotions, it also demands and deserves the same type of excellence from me that it takes to build this piano.”

Born and raised in Vienna, Austria, Gottschlich grew up in what was once Beethoven’s apartment. He attended Admiral Farragut Academy, Concordia College in New York and graduated from Western Connecticut State University. In addition to a rigorous global touring and teaching schedule, he also serves as the Artistic Director of the Miami Beach Jazz Festival.  

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The University of Tennessee Opens a World Class, All-Steinway Music Center

The gleaming Natalie L. Haslam Music Center at the University of Tennessee recently opened its doors to rave reviews from students, faculty and administrators.

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2014 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

By today’s standards, $250 could buy a pleasant evening out in New York City, but what Jim Powell did with that seemingly modest sum in the form of a scholarship from Sears & Roebuck is nothing short of epic.

In 1955, Mr. Powell used the proceeds to attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. An animal science major whose entrepreneurial talents emerged so quickly that he soon shifted to business, the visionary resident from the small town of Limestone went on to create Powell Companies, one of the Volunteer State’s premier builders with more than 500 employees.

Jim and Sandy Powell commissioned a commemorative sculpture by Inspired Bronze, which they presented to Dr. Jimmy Cheek, Chancellor, and Dr. Jeffrey Pappas, Director of the School of Music, at the University of Tennessee. (Photo by Purple Lens Photography)

Jim Powell never forgot how that scholarship changed his life, and UT never overlooked an opportunity to tap into his boundless energy and contagious enthusiasm. Most recently, Jim and his wife Sandy, a fellow student whom he courted during his college years, spearheaded the $3.5 million campaign that made UT an All- Steinway School. With help from 58 donors, the team effort resulted in a purchase of 68 new pianos.

“Sandy and I feel strongly that our students deserve the opportunity to develop their talents on the best pianos in the world, so we are thrilled about the School of Music’s All-Steinway designation,” says Mr. Powell. He added that he could not imagine a better place to show off the instruments than the new Natalie L. Haslam Music Center.

Senator Lamar Alexander, an accomplished pianist, pays tribute to Natalie L. Haslam with his inspired version of the “Tennessee Waltz.” (Photo by LTB Photography)

The 123,000 square foot complex recently opened its doors to much fanfare on the UT campus, with a ribbon cutting ceremony that included Governor Bill Haslam and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander. Sen. Alexander later performed “Tennessee Waltz” on a Steinway, with the original manuscript of the iconic country song displayed atop the piano. He was among a group of donors who offered the authentic sheet music as a gift to UT. “The right home for the Magna Carta of country music is in the Natalie Haslam Music Center,” the senator said during a memorable presentation following the ceremony.

Natalie and husband Jim Haslam contributed $10 million to the project, estimated at more than $40 million, that consolidates performance and learning facilities in what Chancellor Jimmy Cheek calls the most advanced, state of the art music building in the nation, well equipped with 116 pianos by Steinway & Sons.

The center’s showpiece is the Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall, containing 400 navy-leathered seats and a Steinway concert grand on its stage. There are 45 practice rooms, eight classrooms, three computer labs, a music library and 40 performance studios, rehearsal rooms and offices within the building.

The Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall in the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center shines as a crown jewel of the University of Tennessee.

Dr. Jeffrey Pappas, Director of the School of Music in the College of Arts and Sciences, is humbled by the number of supporters “who believe in the school so much that they want us to have the finest instruments. The quest for excellence and distinction continues as we walk through these doors.”

Achieving All-Steinway status “positions the School of Music in a competitive advantage as we strive to retain and attract the best and brightest faculty and students,” adds Dr. Theresa Lee, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

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Mercer University Receives $1.5 Million Gift and Will Become An All-Steinway School

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Queen of Parts: Prenta Ljucovic Reigns as Steinway’s Only Female Case-Maker

In January 1973, Steinbrenner bought the Yankees, Nixon started his second term, and a subway ride to Queens cost $0.35. And in the cold, battered streets of the Bronx—a borough that would soon prompt the infamous “Bronx is burning” declaration that summed up the violent socioeconomic unrest of parts of New York City in the seventies—a young woman walked. She was cold. She was nervous. Her English was weak, and she was missing the family she’d left behind in Montenegro when she and her brother arrived in New York a month earlier, looking for work. But she kept walking, headed for the train that would bring her across the East River to the Steinway & Sons factory, where she would begin her first day of work in the case-making department.

Prenta Ljucovic

Her name was Prenta Ljucovic, and today, more than four decades later, she still walks through the factory doors each morning and heads for case-making. She’s a little older, sure, and a little wiser. She also now owns the double distinctions of being the longest-tenured woman in the factory and the only woman who has ever served in the arduous and demanding role of a Steinway & Sons case-maker.

She’s come a long way. From the poverty-stricken streets of early-seventies Bronx, Prenta now owns a home in New Hyde Park. She works out, plays guitar, and travels back to Montenegro regularly to visit her family. It’s a good life, she says. “I came here from a poor country; my brother and I came because the United States is the United States. It was the best country we could come to. I wanted to see if I could get a job and have a better life, like many people do.” She pauses and considers her statement. “I think whatever I was asking for, so far I’ve gotten,” she continues. “I’m making the best pianos in the world. And I love them. Every single one of them, I love.”

The longevity of Prenta’s career with Steinway is something she shares with a select group of men and women who have made it past the thirty-, forty-, and sometimes even fifty-year mark at the factory. She’s been working at Steinway through the terms of eight U.S. presidents and through the breakup of her home country Yugoslavia and its reformation into successor states. She’s built cases through the fall of Saigon, the invention of the mobile phone, the unification of Germany, the launch of the Hubble space telescope, and the horrors of 9-11. But to hear Prenta tell it, “it feels like forty days, not forty years. I really do enjoy what I do, and I cannot believe I’ve actually been here this long. It’s going to be very tough when the day comes to retire.”

“I Like to Work with Wood”

Case-making is a job that might not suit some women. It involves lifting heavy blocks of solid spruce, which is no small feat to cut, plane, sand, drill, and shape. When Prenta begins her work on the case of a Steinway grand, the instrument is still the barest skeleton, just an empty rim constructed of layered laminations of hard-rock maple. The rim has been bent and wrestled into shape by a team of specialists using essentially the same procedure C. F. Theodore Steinway devised in the 1870s. The rim has been planed and perfected and has been sitting in a conditioning room for more than a month. And now it comes to Prenta, who will use various species of wood to create and install the rest of the cabinetry that will comprise the piano’s outer case, which is the piano’s most visible feature and the element that encapsulates nearly all of the instrument’s 12,000 parts.

The rim is wheeled over to Prenta’s area. She approaches it with pieces of spruce and begins the process of planning for the braces, trusses, and dowels. Soon she’s hoisting heavy pieces of wood, layering thick coatings of glue, and handling drills as long as her arm. For Prenta, it’s all in a day’s work. “For some reason I like to work with wood,” she says simply. “Maybe it’s because I got started very young, I don’t know. I just like the physical satisfaction of building, of working with my hands. It’s a joy.”

The House of Prenta

Ask any of the men she works with, and the answer is the same: working with Prenta is a joy in itself. Take Santé Auriti, for example. Santé is one of the most well-known artisans in the case-making department. He’s been known to take the show on the road with exhibition-style gigs making Steinway piano cases in high-visibility locations—including the window of Steinway Hall on West 57th Street—for people to see the exquisite craftsmanship that goes into a case. He’s spent twenty-five years working with Prenta, and he has a simple assessment of her talents: “She’s one of the greatest workers we have,” he says. “Sometimes I think without her here, none of us would know what to do.”

Prenta Ljucovic

Her skill, he points out, lies not just in her workmanship, though she has indeed perfected a three-hundred-year-old craft in which few people in the world gain true proficiency. It lies also in her ability to instill in the team a sense of ownership and accountability for the finished product that’s a true hallmark of the Steinway & Sons brand. “Prenta is the last one here every night,” Santé says. “She walks around this place turning out lights, tidying up details. This factory is like her house. We’re all very proud to work for Steinway. But for Prenta, there’s something more. Put it this way: her car is the last one in the lot at night. She loves her work that much.”

Vincent Skeete agrees. He’s been with Steinway for forty-three years and has worked alongside Prenta in the case-making department for the majority of that time. “Prenta is unusual,” he says. “Some people politely come to work and get the job done. But she comes to work because she truly loves her job. It’s a very inspiring thing to see.”

Vincent is quick to point out that Prenta’s gender has had no bearing on her production levels or her abilities. “Listen, she’s no slacker,” he says. “I’d put her abilities up against any man in the factory, including my own. It’s amazing. She just doesn’t get tired.” He pauses for a moment, then laughs as a thought occurs to him. “Maybe it’s because she doesn’t eat junk like the rest of us,” he says. 
“She takes care of herself. She exercises. She has integrity.”

She also has resilience, if her four-decade tenure is any indication. But for Prenta, there’s no sign of slowing down any time soon. “My supervisor John Marek says I’m not allowed to retire until after he does,” she says, smiling. “So I don’t know what the future will hold. Right now I feel good and I feel healthy and strong. I would love to go on for as long as I can, but if I see that I cannot keep producing the way I want to, then I will have to consider making a change. If I don’t make a good piano, I’m wasting time. But so far, so good. I just want to continue to build the best pianos in the world. It’s been a great career. I’m very lucky.” 

News & Events

Impressive Survey Affirms Tangible Benefits of All-Steinway School Program

Ron Losby, Steinway & Sons President- Americas, and Sally Coveleskie, National Director of Higher Education Sales, front row, left, welcomed representatives from nearly 50 All-Steinway Schools at a special reception during the 2013 National Association of Schools of Music Annual Meeting in Hollywood, Fla.

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2014 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

A new poll finds 100 academic leaders from All-Steinway Schools throughout the United States unanimously agree that being an All-Steinway School provides their students with the finest instruments possible, while also meeting high expectations of their piano faculty members.

Participants united in reporting improved performance levels and enhanced abilities of their students to do better in competitions as a result of attending an All-Steinway School. Not only were students happier after the pianos arrived, but the relationship with Steinway & Sons contributed to a more positive image for the institution, they said.

In the spring of 2013, Steinway & Sons conducted an anonymous, online survey of deans, directors, department chairs and professors working daily in an All-Steinway environment on their campuses. Fifty-five percent held All-Steinway status for at least five years – 62 percent comprised public entities and 38 percent were private institutions. Measuring the impact on recruiting, 96 percent said they had more requests for enrollment, and 94 percent said it helped to draw higher quality students. Likewise, the majority – 84 to 87 percent – revealed that having an All- Steinway reputation assists with attracting new faculty, more international students and students of other music disciplines that are not specifically piano majors.

From a financial standpoint, 95 percent agree the program has proven to contribute appreciating assets to their facilities as the value of the pianos increases over time.

Here is a sampling of comments from participants asked: What’s the best thing about being an All-Steinway School?

  • “Becoming an All-Steinway School was one of the best and smartest investments for our university.”
  • “Status and prestige are nice, but ultimately, being able to say we havethe best pianos around is wonderful.”
  • “Students and faculty have access tothe best quality instruments in achieving their maximum technical and artistic qualities.”
  • “Being an All-Steinway-School attracts more students of a higher level from the United States and abroad to study at our university.”

“Many outstanding institutions realize that the All-Steinway School program presents multiple advantages to students, faculty members and the communities they serve. Now, we are proud to share empirical evidence with the rest of the world of what we have known all along,” said Ron Losby, Steinway & Sons President –Americas.

“We heard from an across-the-board, representative group of highly respected individuals with different perspectives,” offered Sally Coveleskie, National Director of Higher Education Sales at Steinway & Sons in New York City. “I personally want to thank all the people who took time from their busy schedules to respond to this survey. The All-Steinway Schools have spoken in no uncertain terms, and we are delighted that this growing collective gains so many substantial benefits from their affiliation with Steinway & Sons.”

More than 160 institutions of distinction stretching across five continents now display the All-Steinway School symbol as a firm commitment to excellence.

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House of Worship

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The Steinway Chronicle: Institutional News from Steinway & Sons

The Steinway Chronicle

The Steinway Chronicle presents Institutional news from Steinway & Sons. This publication includes in-depth articles with compelling photographs covering Steinway's Institutional customers. If you haven't read the hard copy of the newsletter, read the online version available at the link below.

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“Arts in the City” Visits the Steinway NY Factory (YouTube)

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Sean Chen delves into Ravel and Scriabin on “La Valse,” his debut album for Steinway & Sons

2013 Winner of the American Pianists Association’s DeHaan Classical Fellowship, Sean Chen, has his debut album on the Steinway & Sons label. La Valse was recorded as part of Chen’s substantial APA prize package, and was released digitally on March 4 and physically on March 25.

Described as an “American shooting star” blessed with “outstanding stage presence combined with an extraordinary technique and musicianship” (Theater Jones), pianist Sean Chen’s La Valse celebrates the music of two important early modern composers, Maurice Ravel and Alexander Scriabin.

Featured works include Scriabin’s Valse in A-­flat Major (1903), Piano Sonata No.4 in F-­sharp Major (1903), and Piano Sonata No.5 (1907); and Ravel’s Menuet antique (1895), Valses nobles et sentimentales (1911), Menuet sur le nom d’Haydn (1909), and Prélude (1913). With one exception, all the pieces on the album were composed after 1895 and before the beginning of World War I. The tensions between old classical forms and the progressive harmonies of the modern era are evident throughout. The last track on the album is Chen’s own transcription of Ravel’s La Valse, originally composed in 1919-­20. La Valse, originally meant to be a ballet, was published as an orchestral poème chorégraphique instead. Ravel also prepared versions for solo piano and for two pianos. Chen’s transcription draws on all of Ravel’s different scores.

This album, Chen’s first for Steinway & Sons, was recorded as part of Chen’s award package as the winner of the American Pianist Association’s DeHaan Classical Fellowship. Joel Harrison, President/CEO and Artistic Director of the APA, describes Chen as “one of the most dynamic and engaging artists of his generation.” 2013 was a landmark year for Chen: in addition to the APA Fellowship, he also took third prize at the 2013 Cliburn competition. Highlights of Chen’s 2013-­2014 season include return engagements with the Indianapolis and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras, and performances at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Jordan Hall in Boston.

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Pianist Sean Chen is being hailed as a rising star with a “million-­volt smile” and a “formidable set of fingers” (Dallas Morning News). In 2013 Chen won the American Pianists Association’s DeHaan Classical Fellowship, one of the most lucrative and significant prizes availableto an American pianist; he also won Third Prize at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, becoming the first American to reach the finals since 1997. He received Second

Prize at the 2011 Seoul International Music Competition, Third Prize at the 2013 Morocco Philharmony International Piano Competition, Best Performance of an American Work at the 2009 Cleveland International Piano Competition, and he was a semifinalist at the 2012 Leeds International Piano Competition.

The 25-­year-­old American pianist has appeared as soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Suwon City Philharmonic, New West Symphony, and the Juilliard Orchestra. Highlights of his 2013–14 season include return invitations with Indianapolis and Fort Worth, performances at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Jordan Hall in Boston, and recital and concerto appearances across the United States and Europe. He has performed new works by Lisa Bielawa, Michael Williams, Nicco Athens, Michael Gilbertson, and Reinaldo Moya, among others. His CD releases include an album of Michael Williams’s solo piano works on the Parma label, a recording from the Cliburn competition on Harmonia Mundi, and this solo recording on the Steinway label as part of his American Pianists Association prize.

Born in 1988 in Margate, FL, Chen grew up in the Los Angeles area of Oak Park, CA. His impressive achievements before college included receiving an NFAA ARTSweek award, a prize at the California International Young Artist Competition, the Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight Award, the Evelyn Vonar Storrs Scholarship, and the Glenn Miller Scholarship. These honors combined with his extraordinary intellect facilitated offers of acceptance by MIT, Harvard, and the Juilliard School; choosing to study music, Chen earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees at Juilliard, where he won the 2010 Gina Bachauer Piano Competition, the 2010 Munz Scholarship, and first prize at the 2008 Juilliard Concerto Competition. While attending Juilliard, Chen was the recipient of a notable third-­party scholarship: the 2010 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

Chen is currently pursuing his Artist Diploma at the Yale School of Music as a George W. Miles Fellowship recipient. He is studying with Hung-­Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone, and his former teachers include Jerome Lowenthal, Matti Raekallio, and Edward Francis. Chen’s performances have been broadcast on From the Top, American Public Media’s Performance Today, WQXR (New York), WGBH (Boston), and WFYI (Indianapolis). The American Pianists Association webcast of his April 2013 performance of Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Indianapolis Symphony – which, according to International Piano, “blazed with color and excitement” – can be viewed at AmericanPianists.org.

When not at the piano, Chen enjoys tinkering with computers and composing. In the coming seasons, he will be performing under the management of the American Pianists Association, touring the U.S. and presenting recitals worldwide.

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Steinway & Sons Opens New Company-Owned Gallery in Bellevue

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (March 31, 2014) – Steinway & Sons, makers of the finest pianos in the world, announces the opening of a new company-owned dealership and gallery in Bellevue, one of Seattle’s most vibrant and diverse satellite cities. Bellevue, recently ranked number one in CNNMoney’s list of the best places to live, is accessible to all communities in the greater Seattle area, including Medina & Clyde Hill, Kirkland, Redmond, and Issaquah. The gallery will celebrate its grand opening on Sunday, April 6.

The new gallery marks the first time a company-owned dealership has had a presence in the greater Seattle region. Steinway Piano Gallery of Bellevue will handle sales and service of the entire line of Steinway pianos—from majestic concert grands to traditional uprights. The dealership will also offer Steinway-designed Boston and Essex pianos, ensuring buyers will find the right instrument for every budget and price point.

Steinway Piano Gallery of Bellevue will be managed by Gary Finkelstein, a long-time Seattle resident who is known in the region as a professional pianist, entertainer, Steinway Artist liaison, and author. He will be joined in the gallery by teacher and sales professional Oscar Spidahl.

“After working for many years with Steinway & Sons pianos in other capacities, the opportunity to manage a company-owned store is fantastic,” Finkelstein said. “This gallery will become a hub of the piano community, and I’m delighted to be a part of its inception.”

“Steinway & Sons has long been interested in establishing a strong presence in the Seattle area,” said Ron Losby, President, Steinway & Sons – Americas. “The location of this gallery is perfect. It brings our instruments to the widest possible local market. And having Gary and Oscar in the gallery—two music professionals who are well known throughout Seattle—is a great asset. We’re very excited to open the new store.”

Steinway Piano Gallery of Bellevue is located at 2616 Bellevue Way Northeast, Bellevue, WA, 98004. For more information, visit www.steinwayseattle.com.

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Steinway & Sons Welcomes Portland Gallery to Elite Family of Dealerships

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (March 28, 2014) – Steinway & Sons, makers of the finest pianos in the world, has solidified its presence in northwest Oregon with the addition of Michelle’s Pianos to the company’s hand-picked network of exclusive Steinway dealerships. Michelle’s Pianos has been a foundation of the Portland music community since 1995. It now becomes the area’s only official Steinway & Sons dealer, bringing Steinway, Boston, and Essex grand and upright pianos to a vibrant community of musicians and music educators.

Michelle’s Pianos is a family-owned dealership offering piano sales, service, storage, education, and rentals. The gallery also hosts performances, children’s activities, and special events throughout the year. In coming months, said owner Lotof Shahtout, Michelle’s will begin a series of master classes taught by visiting Steinway Artists.

“Association with Steinway is a dream for everyone in the music world—from artists to businesspeople. I have always worked toward the goal of this partnership,” Shahtout said.

Shahtout has a long history of connection to the Steinway brand. A working musician, he was trained in piano sales at another Steinway dealership in 1990, and he received additional sales training at the Steinway factory in New York.

“My whole business was built on the Steinway approach,” he said. “Securing this partnership now feels like my comfort zone, like coming home. I love it.”

“Lotof and his wife Michelle are a perfect fit with Steinway,” said Todd Sanders, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Steinway & Sons. “They have a passion for music and for music education in particular. We’re proud to have them represent Steinway in the greater Portland area.”

To celebrate the new partnership, Michelle’s Pianos will launch a series of special events this spring. Watch www.michellespiano.com for updates. Michelle’s Pianos is located at 600 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR, 97214.

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Anniversary “Arabesque” Wins Prestigious Red Dot for Product Design

Steinway Arabesque Red Dot Award

Hamburg (March 24, 2014) – For the first time in history, Steinway & Sons has been honored with the prestigious Red Dot Award. The accolade recognizes the innovative product design behind the company’s 160th Anniversary Limited Edition Arabesque grand piano, conceived by renowned American furniture designer Dakota Jackson.

The Arabesque, an exclusive masterpiece limited to only 50 pianos, won over a large panel of expert judges for the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2014. These international experts evaluated 4,815 entries from around the world before awarding the coveted Red Dot designations.

In ballet, an “arabesque” is a pose in which the dancer’s limbs are extended and held; the position conveys channeled energy, perfect balance, and flawless beauty. Likewise, the Arabesque piano demonstrates an impression of fluidity and movement through its pentagonal legs, its gracefully curved prop stick, and the double row of silver bands in the rim. The Arabesque piano is available in ebony high polish (30 pieces worldwide) and Macassar ebony, a precious, elegant veneer from Indonesia (20 pieces worldwide). The Arabesque was submitted to the Red Dot Awards in Macassar ebony.

On July 7, 2014, the Arabesque will be honored in a musical performance at the Red Dot Awards Gala, when roughly 1,200 guests will gather in Essen, Germany to salute the winners.

“The 40 experts assessed the quality of the entries with the utmost care and attention. Due to their backgrounds, they also assessed the special cultural aspects of the designs from 53 countries. But only the best products receive an award from the jury,” said Dr. Peter Zec, initiator and CEO of Red Dot. “The winners can be proud of their achievements. With their entries, they stood out from the rest and were able to pass the test in front of the critical eyes of the experts. This success will be perceptible during the Red Dot Gala, when the laureates will receive the recognition of the international audience.”

Steinway & Sons and Dakota Jackson are pleased and honored to accept the Red Dot Award.

About the Red Dot Awards
With its origins dating back to 1955, the Red Dot Design Award ranks among the biggest and most renowned competitions in the world today. Red Dot documents the most remarkable trends and best designs. The internationally accepted seal is reserved exclusively for the competition’s winners. For more information, visit www.en.red-dot.org.

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“Listen: Life With Classical Music” 
Releases Its Spring 2014 Issue

As buds and birdsong usher in a long-awaited rebirth of outdoor life, the spring issue of Listen: Life with Classical Music celebrates the constant renewal of endlessly inspiring music.

Three of our most insightful pianists — Jeremy Denk, Stephen Hough, and Paul Lewis — grapple with finding a singular approach to some of the weightiest pieces in the canon. Jeremy speaks to Thomas May on the stakes of recording the Goldberg Variations and notes that “part of the joy of the Goldberg Variations is the outrageousness of some of the ideas Bach comes up with.” Stephen Hough revisits highlights of his discography and speaks frankly about Brahms, Chopin and his own work. Pianist Paul Lewis recently emerged from massive projects with Beethoven and Schubert, and spoke at length with Listen Editor in Chief Ben Finane. Hear the complete Paul Lewis interview at the Listen: Life with Classical Music podcast.

On the cover is cello champion and small-town hero Zuill Bailey who chats at length with Ben Finane about building an audience and a better world through classical music, avoiding the grapevine effect and keeping it together during the Elgar.

Listen resident scholar Jens F. Laurson tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the Mass (but were afraid to ask) accompanied by a chronological playlist that invites your ears to discover how the form went from Gebrauchsmusik to absolute music, from medieval polyphony to salsa, and why it endures today.

Also on the historical beat, Damian Fowler revisits the World War I centenary and the Germanophobia that swept the United States—including its concert halls and opera houses, carrying classical music to the margins of American pop culture and yielding generations of maverick composers. During this same time period, Leopold Stokowski became America’s premier maestro. Colin Eaton distills his colorful legacy and recounts how he “Stokowski-ized” orchestral music in the U.S.

Writer Mark Mobley strolls down memory lane with composer Paul Lansky, who has spent his career chipping away at his heady predilections for tone rows and computers to reveal a surprising musical voice that is usually tonal and acoustic.

Plus: Violinist Arnold Steinhardt writes a poignant love letter to his 1785 Storioni; Brian Wise takes us deep into the Ural Mountains where conductor Teodor Currentzis’s approach to Mozart can be as extreme as the region’s winter temperatures; Nick Frisch digs beneath the glossy surface of cross-cultural collaboration with regards to Chinese classical music in the U.S.; Jens F. Laurson memorializes Claudio Abbado; and, in print, Daniel Felsenfeld applauds John Eliot Gardiner’s Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, which finally brings us a biography of the composer that “throbs with life.”

Our critics plunge into a whopping 27 new recordings including Anne-Sophie Mutter’s superlative Dvorak collaboration with Manfred Honeck and the Berlin Philharmonic; a double shot of Diabelli from András Schiff, pitting modern piano against fortepiano; a classic Riccardo Chailly restoration of Brahms’s symphonies; an inaugural release from Les Arts Florissants’ in-house label featuring a bright and shiny version of Handel’s 1745 English oratorio Belshazzar; and an overflowing Ashkenazy box-set.

Plus, much, much more in the spring 2014 issue of Listen: Life with Classical Music.

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A multi-award-winning print quarterly hailed by Library Journal as one of 
the best new magazines of 2009, Listen is the American voice of classical music. 
Now in its fifth year of publication, Listen delivers exclusive interviews with the world’s top musicians, feature articles, think pieces, festival coverage, insight into the masterworks and the unsung works of the classical canon, as well as recommendations on record, on screen, in print and online. No one covers the breadth and depth of classical music with greater elegance and zeal than Listen.

The magazine is available at Barnes & Noble and other fine bookstores throughout the US and Canada or by subscription.  

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Steinway & Sons Unveils Dakota Jackson’s “Arabesque” Piano

NEW YORK, NY (February 28, 2014) – Another blast of frigid winter temperatures didn’t deter more than one hundred people from attending a special event at historic Steinway Hall Wednesday night: the unveiling of the Dakota Jackson-designed Steinway & Sons 160th Anniversary “Arabesque” Limited Edition Piano. With only 50 of these pianos being sold worldwide, the Arabesque is an exclusive masterpiece representing the combined artistic vision of one of the world’s most celebrated designers and the Steinway craftsmen who have brought his design to life. This week marks the first time the Arabesque is being seen by the public in New York.

At the event, Dakota Jackson offered remarks on his inspired design and mingled with guests during a cocktail reception. He later commented, “Unveiling the Arabesque Piano in historic Steinway Hall combined with the virtuosic performance by pianist Jenny Lin was the culmination of a seven year journey, an evening I will long cherish."



After the presentation, Steinway Artist Jenny Lin performed a concert on the Arabesque, bringing the exquisite instrument to life in the hallowed hall that has hosted some of the twentieth century’s most revered pianists, including Vladimir Horowitz and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Lin performed virtuosic arrangements of opera and American Songbook melodies including Liszt’s “Concert paraphrase on Verdi’s”; Rodgers and Hart’s “Blue Moon” arranged by Andre Previn; Gershwin’s “Embraceable You”; and “I’ve Got Rhythm” arranged by Earl Wild.

“What an instrument, what a venue, what a night,” Lin said. “It’s been an honor to be a part of this unveiling, and I am delighted to have an opportunity to play this gorgeous piano. The energy is electric.”

The Arabesque unveiling was one of the last large-scale events that will take place in Steinway Hall at its historic beaux arts 57th Street location. The current Steinway Hall will be closing and relocating to another building in Manhattan by early 2015.

“The Arabesque was conceived by Dakota to commemorate our 160th Anniversary,” said Ron Losby, President, Steinway & Sons – Americas. “It was very fitting for the piano to be unveiled in Steinway Hall, especially as we prepare for the next chapter in the Hall’s illustrious history. This event showcased the latest achievement of a great partnership between Steinway and Dakota Jackson.”

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Jenny Lin traverses Stravinsky’s dynamic solo piano repertoire on Jenny Lin - Stravinsky

“One of the most interesting pianists in America” according to The Washington Post, Jenny Lin delves into Stravinsky’s dense and delectable catalogue for solo piano on her third Steinway & Sons release, due out on February 25, 2014. Lin’s signature blend of technical mastery, grace and thoughtfulness is the perfect match for Stravinsky’s formidable stylistic range in which neoclassical sonatas and serial sketches rub elbows with elephant ballets and ragtime. 

Praised for her “graceful musicmaking” (The Washington Post) and “remarkable technical command” (The New York Times), pianist Jenny Lin adds an important new recording to her already rich discography. An intrepid champion of contemporary music, Ms. Lin turns her nimble fingers and open ears to the “smaller scale opuses” of the most inspiring composer of the 20th century on her latest Steinway and Sons release, Jenny Lin - Stravinsky.

The disc, available digitally February 4 and physically February 25, 2014, includes all of Stravinsky’s major solo piano works: the Piano Sonata (1924), Four Etudes (1908), Ragtime for 11 Instruments, Polka and Valse from Trois Pièces Faciles (1915 – arranged for two hands), Tango (1940), Piano-Rag-Music (1940), Prologue to Mussorgsky’s Boris Gudonov, Serenade in A (1925), Circus Polka (1942) and Two Sketches for a Sonata (1967) plus Guido Agosti’s devilish and rarely recorded transcription of The Firebird Suite.

Lin’s previous Steinway & Sons release, a collection of virtuosic show tunes called Get Happy from 2012, was described by MusicWeb as “…an outright joy. Something every piano collection should have.” Her first recording on the label, Silent Music featuring Federico Mompou’s Música Callada was chosen by The New York Times as one of the best albums of the year for 2011.

To celebrate the release of the new album, Lin will perform a recital featuring scintillating transcriptions and arrangements of music by Kreisler, Stravinsky, Rodgers, Loewe, Gershwin, Berlin and Arlen at the new Greenwich Village hotspot Subculture NYC on February 25. Doors open at 7pm with the concert at 7:30pm. Tickets are $30–$35. http://www.subculturenewyork.com

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Jenny Lin is one of the most respected young pianists today, admired for her adventurous programming and charismatic stage presence. Her ability to combine classical and contemporary literature has brought her to the attention of international critics and audiences. She has been acclaimed for her "gift for melodic flow" by The New York Times. The Washington Post praises "Lin's confident fingers... spectacular technique... ", and Gramophone Magazine has hailed her as "an exceptionally sensitive pianist".

Born in Taiwan and raised in Austria, Jenny studied with Noel Flores at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, with Julian Martin at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, and with Dominique Weber in Geneva. She has also worked with Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, and Blanca Uribe, and with Dimitri Bashkirov and Andreas Staier at the Fondazione Internazionale per il pianoforte in Como, Italy. She holds a bachelor's degree in German Literature from The Johns Hopkins University and currently resides in New York City where she also serves on the faculty of the 92nd Street Y.

Jenny's extensive discography includes critically acclaimed recordings on Steinway & Sons, Hänssler Classic, eOne Records, BIS Records, and Sunrise Records. Since 2000, she has over twenty albums to her credit. The New York Times called her disc of Federico Mompou’s Música Callada "...beautifully recorded..."; Classicstoday praised her 24 Preludes and Fugues Op. 87, by Shostakovitch "...hands down the finest version of this massive work" and the disc was voted Best of 2009 by The Washington Post. All-Music Guide raved: "The 11th Finger is a thrill ride for musical adventurers" and "Lin's playing is nothing less than superhuman", and Gramophone reported on her CD of Valentin Silvestrov "beautifully arranged programme...Lin is an ideal exponent of music whose superfine dynamic and textural contrasts create their own expressive intensity.” Other notable recordings have included Liszt Sonata and Schumann Fantasie, music for Piano and Orchestra by Ernest Bloch, Xavier Montsalvatge, Ma Shui-Long Piano Concerto, and Get Happy, an album of Broadway song arrangements. 

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Anderson & Roe Piano Duo cozy up on new Steinway & Sons disc, An Amadeus Affair

Mozart’s magnificent Sonata for Two Pianos in D major is the centerpiece of this seductive Steinway & Sons album from the vibrant, enterprising piano power duo of Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe. Glittering arrangements of his operas and concertos channel Amadeus’s deep humanity and fascination with love. An Amadeus Affair arrives digitally on February 4th and physically February 25, 2014.

“The most dynamic duo of this generation” (San Francisco Classical Review) celebrates the flirtation, romance and charm inherent to Mozart’s music on their newest album on the Steinway & Sons label, An Amadeus Affair. Anchored around the impressive Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, the album also features arrangements of his orchestral and operatic works for piano four-hand on one or two pianos.

The pianists, both inventive arrangers as well as exceptional performers, contribute original reworkings of “Soave sia il vento” from Così fan tutte and Chorale Prelude from Die Zauberflöte, plus a scherzo inspired by Così and a rag spun from the famous Rondo alla Turca. Ferruccio Busoni’s buoyant Duettino concertante and Franz Liszt’s dazzling Reminiscences de Don Juan complete the grand romance, the two great composer-pianists paying homage to their beloved Mozart.

For Anderson and Roe, who are known for their freethinking approach to classical music, Mozart remains an ideal for piano collaboration. In an articulate essay that accompanies the work, they write, “so much of his music is devoted to witty banter and a dynamic musical dialogue, dramatic conflict and resolution, plus a shared vulnerability and sense of play. His music has sparked us to tap into that place of awe and discovery, where inspiration and joie de vivre reign.” 

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Known for their adrenalized performances, original compositions, and notorious music videos, GREG ANDERSON and ELIZABETH JOY ROE are revolutionizing the piano duo experience for the 21st century. Described as “the intense synchronization of genius” (ThirdCoast Digest), the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo aims to make classical music a relevant and powerful force around the world. Their recent album, When Words Fade (Steinway Label), was released to critical acclaim in 2012 and spent over a dozen weeks at the top of the Billboard Classical Charts, while their Emmy-nominated and self-produced music videos (including the explosive new rendition of The Rite of Spring) have been viewed by millions on YouTube.

Mr. Anderson and Ms. Roe met in 2000 as freshmen at The Juilliard School and formed their musical partnership shortly thereafter. They have since toured extensively, with notable recitals in Beijing, Seoul, Singapore, Italy, Vancouver, and most major US cities, as well as in nearly every New York City venue imaginable, from Carnegie Hall to children's hospitals. Together they have appeared on MTV's Total Request Live, NPR's All Things Considered and From the Top, APM's Performance Today, the Cliburn Concert Series, the Gina Bachauer International Piano Festival, and dozens of summer chamber music festivals. Their orchestral engagements include performances with the Hartford, Santa Fe, and Lafayette Symphony Orchestras, and with members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. In recognition of their singular vision for the advancement of classical music, they have been invited to present at numerous international leader symposiums, including the EG (Entertainment Gathering), the Imagine Solutions Conference, Chicago Ideas Week, and Mexico’s Think Tank Festival for Brilliant Minds. Their scores are published by Alfred Music on the “Anderson & Roe Duos & Duets Series” and by Awkward Fermata Press. 

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NPR Video: Yuja Wang at the Steinway New York Factory

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Steinway & Sons Announces New Dealership: Upstate New York’s Artist Pianos

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (February 18, 2014) – For twenty-six years, Artist Pianos has served the upstate New York music community with piano sales and service, not to mention a wide range of recitals, educational events, concerts, and sponsorships of festivals and arts organizations. Now, Artist Pianos has been hand-selected to serve as the region’s only Steinway-authorized dealer.

In this partnership, Artist Pianos will handle sales and service of Steinway pianos—from majestic concert grands to traditional uprights. The dealership will also offer Steinway-designed Boston and Essex pianos, ensuring buyers will find the right instrument for every budget and price point.

Artist Pianos has long been known as a gallery that offers customers the time and attention they deserve to make the best choices for their musical needs. Going forward, this is how they plan on treating all customers—whether they are selecting a Steinway concert grand or an entry-level upright. “Many of our customers are first-time buyers who are seeking the knowledge to help them choose the best value in more affordable price ranges,” Dellinger said. “This is one of the reasons we were so excited to represent the Essex line. The Essex pianos are so affordable and so well-engineered that my staff cannot wait to show them to people.”

Dellinger cites the new partnership as a “reinvention” of her business and the culmination of a long career goal. “It was a dream of mine to be a Steinway dealer,” Dellinger said. “The day I walked into the Steinway offices to discuss becoming a Steinway dealer is a thrill I’ll remember for a long time. For a dedicated piano person, there’s nothing else quite like that.”

“Jo Beth and her team are committed to the level of service and quality demanded from those who represent the finest pianos in the world,” said Todd Sanders, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Steinway & Sons. “We’re very proud to have Artist Pianos as a Steinway & Sons dealer, and we look forward to a great partnership for years to come.”

To celebrate the new partnership, Artist Pianos will hold a special event later this year. Watch www.artist-pianos.com for updates. Artist Pianos has two upstate New York locations; the gallery serves the Albany area at 603 Watervliet Shaker Road, Latham, and it serves the Syracuse area at 5780 Celi Drive, East Syracuse. 

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Steinway & Sons Extends Horowitz Piano Tour Into 2014

Steinway Artist Vladimir Horowitz

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (February 14, 2014) – Last year, the legendary Steinway & Sons Model D Horowitz Piano completed a multi-city tour of North America. Popular demand has now led to the addition of new stops in Texas, Milwaukee, Detroit and New York that bring the tour into 2014.

The stunning piano—a nine-foot grand and one of Steinway’s most revered designs—is currently being showcased at Steinway Hall – Dallas; it will soon be moved to its next destination, Fort Worth, followed by Plano and Houston through mid-March. In April, the piano will travel to Steinway Piano Gallery of Milwaukee before continuing on to Steinway Piano Gallery of Detroit in late May. Plans are also in development to bring the Horowitz piano to Purchase, New York in July or August.

The extension of this tour provides a rare opportunity for the public to see, hear, touch, and even play CD 503, which is the fabled piano that accompanied classical titan Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989) on his last tour. It was known to be one of the legendary pianist’s favorite instruments.

Horowitz is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. His colorful personality and astounding performances enthralled audiences for decades. Early in 1934, as a wedding present, Steinway & Sons presented Horowitz and his wife Wanda with a Steinway Model D, Serial #279503. In the early 1940’s, this piano was replaced with #314503, now known simply as CD 503. This is the piano Horowitz kept in his New York townhouse. He used it in many recitals and recordings in the 70’s and 80’s, and he famously demanded that the piano be his exclusive touring instrument for the last four years of his life.

The remaining stops on the Steinway & Sons Horowitz Piano Extended Tour are:

Feb 3 – Feb 16: DALLAS, Steinway Hall – Dallas

Feb 17 – Feb 28: FORT WORTH, Steinway Hall – Fort Worth

Mar 1 – Mar 13: PLANO, Steinway Hall – Plano

Mar 15 – Mar 31: HOUSTON, Steinway Piano Gallery of Houston

April 25 – May 12: MILWAUKEE, Steinway Piano Gallery of Milwaukee

May 29 – Jun 16: DETROIT, Steinway Piano Gallery of Detroit

TBD: PURCHASE, NEW YORK. Details to be announced soon.

While each location will offer viewing and listening opportunities for CD 503, some will also offer appointment-only playing access to piano students and teachers. Schedule subject to change. Please contact dealer listed to confirm dates directly with them before scheduling your visit to see/play the piano. 

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Steinway & Sons Welcomes Olga Kern to Artists’ Roster

Long Island City, NY (February 4, 2014) – Steinway & Sons announces the addition of Russian pianist Olga Kern to its prestigious roster of Steinway Artists. With the designation of Steinway Artist, Kern joins an elite group of pianists which includes immortal legends such as Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz, and Arthur Rubinstein.
 
Olga Kern is now recognized as one of her generation’s great pianists. With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship, and extraordinary technique, this magnetic virtuoso performer continues to captivate fans and critics alike. Olga is the first woman in 30 years to receive the Gold Medal and first prize at the 11th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas.

Ms. Kern was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. She began studying piano at the age of five. She was the first-place winner of the first Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition in Moscow, Russia when she was 17 years old. She is also the winner of 11 prestigious international competitions in China, Japan, Italy, Czech Republic, South Africa, and Morocco.

Ms. Kern’s performing career has brought her to many of the world’s most important venues, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Symphony Hall in Osaka, Salzburger Festspielhaus, La Scala in Milan, Tonhalle in Zurich, and the Chatelet in Paris. In North America, she has performed with the symphonies of Chicago, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Houston, St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore, Vancouver, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Detroit and in cities from coast to coast.

She has collaborated with the most prominent conductors in the world today, including Valery Gergiev, Leonard Slatkin, Vladimir Spivakov, Manfred Honeck, Christoph Eschenbach, James Conlon, Antoni Wit, Pinchas Zukerman, James DePreist, Constantine Orbelian, and Peter Oundjian.

In addition to performing, Ms. Kern also devotes time to the support and education of developing musicians. In 2012, the artist and her brother, Vladimir Kern, co-founded the Aspiration Foundation with the objective of providing financial and artistic assistance to musicians throughout the world. 

Ms. Kern’s discography includes Harmonia Mundi recordings of her acclaimed success at the Van Cliburn competition recital; Tchaikovsky Piano concerto No.1; a Grammy-nominated recording of Rachmaninoff's Corelli Variations and all Rachmaninoff’s transcriptions; a recital disk with works by Rachmaninoff and Balakirev; a live recording of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1 with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Antoni Wit; Brahms Variations; and a recording of Chopin Sonatas No.2 and No.3. She was featured in the award-winning documentary about the 2001 Cliburn Competition Playing on the Edge and in the documentary film Olga’s Journey about her first years after winning Van Cliburn competition. In addition, she has been featured in the film The Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg (with famed soprano Renee Fleming), as well as in the documentary films They Came to Play and The Cliburn—50 Years of Gold.

Most recently, the SONY recording of Ms. Kern performing the Rachmaninoff Sonata for Violoncello and Piano with cellist Sol Gabetta was released in the summer of 2013.

“Sheer talent does not come more transparently,” writes Bryce Morrison in The Gramophone.

“Call it star quality—music likes Kern the way the camera liked Garbo,” writes Ronald Broun in The Washington Post. “Her electricity at the keyboard is palpable, and though she generates it from the music itself, as it flows through her fingers, it takes on fresh voltage that is unmistakably hers.”
 
“Steinway & Sons has long admired the artistic excellence that Olga Kern brings to the piano,” said Ron Losby, President of Steinway & Sons Americas. “As a past winner of both the Rachmaninoff and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competitions, it is especially poignant to see her follow in the footsteps of Rachmaninoff and Van Cliburn in becoming a Steinway Artist. We welcome Olga to the Steinway family.”
 
“For me, Steinway is like no other instrument,” said Kern. “Steinway allows each individual artist to display his unique qualities of strength and refined sound. Steinway is the magical medium through which a pianist communicates with the composer’s mind and soul.” 

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University of Alabama Invests in Steinway Pianos

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Steinway & Sons Comes to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, Offers Special Pricing

In an expansion of the company’s presence in the greater Chicago area, Steinway & Sons is proud to announce the opening of the new Steinway Piano Gallery Chicago inside the elegant 900 North Michigan Shops mall in downtown Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile shopping district.

The new Michigan Avenue address becomes the third location for Steinway Piano Gallery Chicago, part of an elite group of factory-owned showrooms which bring the world’s finest pianos to artists, students, retail consumers and institutions around the globe. To celebrate the grand opening, Steinway Piano Gallery Chicago is extending 2013 pricing on its current inventory of Steinway and Steinway-Designed pianos until January 31st, a move which offers significant savings on the Gallery’s Steinway, Boston and Essex grand and upright pianos.

“Our other Chicago-area galleries have been strong for many years,” said Gordon McNelly, Steinway Piano Gallery Chicago General Manager. “Now, this entry into the downtown scene offers an exciting opportunity for more people to see and hear the beauty of Steinway & Sons pianos. 900 North Michigan Shops is a gorgeous, upscale location. We’re very pleased to celebrate the new gallery with a rare reduced pricing opportunity.”

Residing on the north end of the Magnificent Mile, 900 North Michigan Shops is an architecturally stunning property with seven levels featuring national brands, unique boutiques and a diverse selection of dining options. Anchored by Bloomingdale’s, the mall houses more than 70 luxury retailers in some of their most elegant facilities, including Gucci, MaxMara, Montblanc, Bernardaud and Michael Kors and now Steinway & Sons.

“Given our New York roots, the Steinway & Sons brand has long been associated with the glamour and elegance of a big-city environment,” said Ron Losby, President, Steinway & Sons – Americas. “This entry into the downtown Chicago market is very fitting. We’re proud to be a part of the famous Magnificent Mile.”

The new gallery is located at 900 N. Michigan Ave, 900 Shops Level 6, Chicago, IL 60611.  

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Retail Piano Sales (all locations)

Last Updated: January 17, 2013
Our renowned sales organization offers opportunities for retailing the world’s finest piano, with excellent earning potential and full and comprehensive benefits. Our most successful candidates have a background in retailing luxury goods, building relationships, and a knowledge of pianos and piano literature.

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The Steinway Hexagrip® Pinblock: The Foundation for a Consistently Beautiful Sound

"By the time the piano has its third tuning, 70 to 80 percent of the firmness or torque remains in the pins. At the end of six months or a year, the firmness or torque no longer drops but remains at a very satisfactory level of up to 80 percent of the original torque.”

 

A piano can only play as well as its tune

and an out of tune piano will produce a poor sound regardless of its build quality. There are several factors that contribute to a piano maintaining a consistent tune, but the most important is the construction of the wrest plank, also known as the pinblock. In 1963 Steinway revolutionized this component with the introduction of the Hexagrip Pinblock.

The Steinway Hexagrip Pinblock is made by laminating seven layers of hardrock maple in a staggered grain formation. Each subsequent layer of the lamination offsets the grain angle by 45 to 90 degrees. The result is an even distribution of grain direction throughout the pinblock. This ensures that at least one layer has its grain directly in line with the stress acting on the pin. Another advantage of this technique is that the pins are held in place tighter, yet are smoother to tighten, allowing the tuner to place the pin in the exact optimal location.

With the Steinway Hexagrip Pinblock, pianos are able to hold their tune longer and with considerable precision. That is the secret to how Steinways are able to maintain their world-renowned sound far beyond their last tuning.

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Retail Sales Managers

Last Updated: January 16, 2013
Managing and directing a retail sales location requires an expert understanding of the local market, thorough product knowledge of the world's finest piano, and the ability to motivate your sales force. If you have these qualities and qualifications, please contact us to discuss sales management opportunities within the Steinway organization.

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Steinway & Sons to Bring Signature Gallery to Charlotte

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (January 14, 2014) – Steinway & Sons, makers of the finest pianos in the world, is proud to announce the upcoming opening of Steinway Piano Gallery - Charlotte, the North Carolina Piedmont region’s only exclusive Steinway showroom. The new gallery becomes one of a limited number of hand-selected dealerships offering The Family of Steinway-Designed Pianos to artists, students, retail consumers and institutions around the globe.

Steinway Piano Gallery - Charlotte is owned and operated by Mark and Katherine Love. The Loves are no strangers to the Steinway brand. As Senior Vice President of Development and Institutional Relationships for Steinway in the Philadelphia region, Mark worked closely with colleges and universities to ensure that Steinway pianos graced their recital halls and practice rooms, and he assisted many area colleges and universities in their goal of attaining All-Steinway School status, including Rowan University, Moravian College, Immaculata University, Cairn University and Chestnut Hill College. In addition, with many years of experience on the sales floor, Mark has provided consistent education and advice for customers, enabling them to make an informed decision in their acquisition of a Steinway piano.

“Mark’s long experience with Steinway gives him special knowledge of our brand that will be invaluable in launching this new presence in Charlotte,” said Todd Sanders, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Steinway & Sons. “In partnership with his wife Katherine, Mark is providing Steinway with an exciting entré into a region with a vibrant community of pianists and music lovers. We wish them every success.”

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Steinway Artists Capture Twelve Grammy Nominations

Steinway & Sons is proud to extend congratulations to ten Steinway Artists who have earned a total of twelve 2014 Grammy Award nominations: Shelly Berg, Yefim Bronfman, Gloria Cheng, Christopher Eschenbach, Hélène Grimaud, Scott Healy, Fred Hersch, Vicki Ray, Regina Spektor, and Allen Toussaint.

Since 1958, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ Grammy Awards have recognized outstanding achievement in the music industry, and Steinway is proud to have a long tradition of representation in a wide range of musical categories. The 56th annual Grammy Awards will be held on January 26, 2014.

“The list of Steinway Artists who have earned nominations this year is one of the most diverse we have ever seen,” said Ron Losby, President of Steinway & Sons Americas. “It’s gratifying to see the Steinway name accompany these incredibly talented artists as they are recognized for their achievements. We are very proud of the entire group.”

The Steinway Artists nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award are:

Shelly Berg, Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist for his haunting arrangement of “What a Wonderful World” performed by Gloria Estefan and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra on the album Gloria Estefan: The Standards.

Yefim Bronfman, Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his performance of Mangus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Alan Gilbert. In his second Grammy nod this year, Bronfman is also included in the nomination of Marcus Lindberg in the category of Best Contemporary Classical Composition, also for Piano Concerto No. 2.

Gloria Cheng, Best Classical Instrumental Solo, for her program The Edge of Light in collaboration the Calder Quartet. The recording celebrates works by Olivier Messiaen and Kaija Saariaho. Cheng took home a Grammy award in the same category in 2009 for Piano Music of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, and Witold Lutoslawski.

Christopher Eschenbach, Best Classical Compendium for his conduction of Hindemith: Violinknozert: Symphonic Metamorphosis; Knozertmusik. Eschenbach, who also serves as music director of both the National Symphony Orchestra and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, conducted the compendium to commemorate the anniversary of Paul Hindemith’s death 50 years ago.

Hélène Grimaud, Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for Duo. Grimaud performed this duet with Sol Gabetta in a recital that brought audiences to their feet at the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad and has since been revered by critics for its energy and chemistry.

Scott Healy, Best Instrumental Composition for “Koko on the Boulevard” Hudson City Suite. Healy is well known as the keyboardist for the Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band on Conan. His “Koko” composition is a comically engaging jazz piece inspired by a dog chase.

Fred Hersch, Best Improvised Jazz Solo for “Song Without Words #4.” This live, madrigal-inspired recording features Hersch and guitar virtuoso Julian Lage in performance at New York’s legendary jazz venue the Kitano Hotel.

Vicki Ray, Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for “Cage: The 10,000 Things.” Ray’s contribution to this recording of composer John Cage’s midcentury open-ensemble masterpiece showcases her signature intensity and fearless technique.

Regina Spektor, Best Song Written for Visual Media for “You’ve Got Time.” The track was composed for the new Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, a gripping, darkly comic portrayal of female prison life. This recording marks the first time that Spektor has written a television theme song.

Allen Toussaint, Best American Roots Song for “Shrimp Po-Boy, Dressed” from his album Songbook, and a second nomination for Best American Album for the same work. When he was forced to relocate from New Orleans to New York after Hurricane Katrina, Toussaint was encouraged to do a series of solo gigs at Joe’s Pub in Greenwich Village. His performances over two nights were recorded for the Songbook album.

For a full listing of 2014 Grammy Award nominees, visit www.grammy.com/nominees.

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NPR: New Owner Promises Handmade Steinways For Years To Come

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Restoring Greatness: Forty-two-year Steinway Veteran Eddie Carrasco is a Restoration Wizard

Twelve thousand. That’s how many parts—ballpark—make up a Steinway & Sons piano.

One hundred sixty. That’s how many years Steinway & Sons has been making pianos, with each year’s technology, materials, and processes evolving to reflect new advances in piano manufacturing.

Start doing the math, and pretty soon it’s clear: the skills and knowledge required to be able to restore a Steinway & Sons piano are vast. There is only one right way to restore a Steinway piano—any introduction of imitation parts or faulty workmanship, and the authenticity (and value) of the instrument is irrevocably eroded. Thus, a Steinway & Sons restoration technician must understand every facet of piano making and how it has changed over the years. The technician becomes a factory in miniature—able to address restoration of each one of those twelve thousand parts, from sweeping lid to elegant foot pedal. As a poet who grew up not far from the Steinway & Sons factory once wrote: “I am large. I contain multitudes.” ~Walt Whitman.

Enter Eddie Carrasco; when it comes to Steinway pianos, Eddie contains multitudes indeed. Forty-two years ago, he walked through the doors of the Steinway & Sons factory, and he’s been walking through those doors ever since. Today, he is one of the most respected and revered restoration specialists in the factory, and one of the few people in the world who know how to take a Steinway piano of any vintage and model and restore it to its original glory. As such, he holds the venerable Steinway & Sons legacy in the palms of his capable hands.

Tinkering

When Eddie looks out the window of the factory in Astoria, he sees something pretty special: PS141, the public school he attended more than fifty years ago. Back then, Eddie was a newcomer to America, having arrived from coastal Ecuador as a young teenager with his family. They were looking for opportunity. Eddie’s sister came to the United States first, at age eighteen. “I don’t know where she got the courage,” he says. After she found a job and a place to live, she sent for the rest of her family, and the Carrascos arrived in New York in the summer of 1966.

“I was thirteen years and seven months old,” he says. “That’s what it says on my passport.” The adjustment must have been challenging for a young South American man who suddenly finds himself a resident of one of the biggest cities in the United States. But Eddie quickly found a focus in developing the hands-on crafting skills that would become his life’s work. “I like to tinker. I’ve always liked to tinker,” he says. “When I was a little boy, my mother worked as a seamstress. If her sewing machine broke down, I’d fix it—sometimes filing a nail into the shape of a tiny screwdriver to make the repair. I’ve always liked to fiddle around with things like that.”

Eddie works on the historic White House Piano, circa 1986.

It was an interest that would serve him well; when Eddie finished school, he immediately started looking for work. An older man who lived in his neighborhood worked at Steinway & Sons, and he suggested Eddie try the factory—it was just around the corner, after all, and it offered the promise of steady, hands-on work.

“My first job was in the shipping department,” Eddie remembers, “and I was lucky, because the people I worked with were very attentive and open to providing new opportunities.” It wasn’t long before his skill as a problem-solver came to the attention of his supervisors. One foreman, in particular, took note. “I want to put you inside the piano,” he told Eddie.

And from there Eddie has never looked back. He has since worked nearly every department in the factory—from wood cutting to finishing—with each new position teaching him more about what goes on “inside the piano.” Duane Olko, Grand Finishing Foreman, is one of the people who has seen first-hand what Eddie can do. “I think he is the most talented woodworking craftsman and all-around piano-knowledgeable technician throughout the plant,” Olko says simply. “He’s infinitely prideful and caring about sustaining Steinway’s lead in the industry.”

Eddie with Henry Z. Steinway, circa 1995.

No Room for Error

By 1986, when a job opened up in the company’s renowned Restoration Department, Eddie was a natural fit. Bill Youse, Director of Technical Services and Special Projects, remembers hand-selecting Eddie for the position.

“When I was put in charge of Restoration, the first person I brought with me was Eddie,” Youse says. “There are only a handful of people who can do Steinway restoration. Eddie was my number one choice. He is the most well-rounded technician in the factory.”

(And Youse would know, incidentally. He is himself a forty-year Steinway veteran. “Yes, we go way back,” he says, laughing. “Eddie has two or three years on me, but for forty years now we have worked side by side at the factory, usually no more than twenty feet apart. We grew up in this place together.”)

Work in the Restoration Department is demanding. It takes six months to restore a piano, and the factory restores about two hundred instruments a year, with the average age of each instrument around 75 years. And the stakes are high: a fifty year old Steinway piano commands a price more than nine times its original cost. Thus, there is absolutely no room for error.

With Eddie, there’s no worry. He recently helped restore the White House Steinway, a Steinway from the Motown Museum that had been played by many of the Motown legends, and a Steinway used on American Idol. His passion for Steinway & Sons grows stronger each day, he says. “I think we are making great pianos. I truly believe that. I’ve seen these pianos from the inside out, and I know the quality of both the instrument and the workmanship. The pianos get better and better, every year. I am very, very proud to be a part of this company.”

Eddie (third from left) pictured with Bill Youse (fourth from left) and Steinway leadership, 2010.

Those around him are hoping he’ll be a part of the company for as long as possible. “Now and then he threatens to retire, and I guess after forty-two years I can’t blame him,” Youse says. “But I dread the day. He’s one of the good ones.”

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The Steinway & Sons Custom Pianos Division is dedicated to bringing unique, exclusive, and impeccably designed Steinways to life.

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Steinway & Sons Reveals Limited Edition Dakota Jackson “Arabesque” Piano

Arabesque Steinway & Sons

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (October 16, 2013) – In honor of the company’s 160th anniversary, Steinway & Sons has revealed a history-making collaboration with renowned furniture designer Dakota Jackson to develop the stunning Arabesque Limited Edition piano. With only 50 pianos in the line, the Arabesque is an exclusive masterpiece representing the combined artistic vision of one of the world’s most celebrated designers and the Steinway craftsmen who have brought his design to life.

“In Dakota Jackson we found a designer and craftsman whose passion matches our own,” said Michael Sweeney, CEO of Steinway Musical Instruments and President of Steinway & Sons. “For this collaboration we chose the Steinway Model B, frequently selected by Steinway Artists and other accomplished players for their residential purposes. Together with Dakota we have created an instrument at the highest levels of both design and musicality. We are pleased to share this accomplishment with 50 families around the world.”

In ballet, an “arabesque” is a pose in which the dancer’s limbs are extended and held—the position conveys channeled energy, perfect balance, and flawless beauty. Likewise, the Arabesque piano demonstrates an impression of fluidity and movement through its spiraling pentagonal legs, gracefully curved lid, and ethereal silver plate. Macassar ebony from Indonesia is the perfect material to underscore the warm strength of the design.

Born into a family of magicians and performers, Dakota Jackson studied and performed as a dancer in the early part of his career. “The demands of performance taught me how to discipline myself to achieve aesthetic ends,” he said. Over the past three decades, those aesthetic ends have earned Jackson recognition by major museums and commissions around the world. In fact, the Arabesque is not the first collaboration between Steinway & Sons and Jackson. In 1998 Dakota Jackson was invited by Steinway to design the Tricentennial Piano, a beautifully understated piano commemorating the three-hundredth birthday of the instrument. “It was stripped down to its essential shape,” said Jackson. “I simplified it to one line drawn from the curve of the harp, a form that is integral to the instrument.”

By contrast, the Arabesque is an intricately-conceived design featuring rounded aesthetics to recall the gentle curves of a ballet dancer’s arms and the perfect harmony of shapes evident in every movement.

“Details are what separate out extraordinary design,” said Laura Seele, Manager of Steinway & Sons’ Custom Pianos Department.  “Every element of Arabesque’s graceful form helps tell its story, contributes to its overall sense of balance, refinement, and sophistication. The result is both timeless and contemporary.  It finds that rarified identity as both a great musical instrument and a beautiful piece of design.”

“To me, Steinway is synonymous with the word ‘piano’,” Jackson said. “I wouldn’t consider designing a piano for any other company.”

The Arabesque piano has been previewed over the past two months through a series of short video clips, photos, and descriptions of some of the instrument’s most unique features. These “sneak peaks” are posted on the Steinway & Sons website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page.

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All in the Family: Four Generations of the Youse Clan at Steinway & Sons

Bill Youse

Bill Youse is shouting.

“Hold on!” he says. He’s being drowned out by the sound of the factory whistle at Steinway & Sons’ headquarters in Queens, New York. He waits a moment, the whistle dies down, and he’s back to his natural friendly tone. “It’s the signal for break,” he explains, a little apologetically. And the mind wanders for a moment, thinking about how many times Youse has heard that haunting, historic whistle over the forty years he’s worked with the legendary piano manufacturer.

To say Steinway has been a part of the Youse family history is quite an understatement. No less than four generations of Youse men have made their living in the Astoria factory. Bill, now Director of Technical Services and Special Projects, is third in the line; his son Michael, a craftsman in the pattern shop and a ten-year Steinway veteran, is fourth.

But it’s Bill who can—so far—claim the longest tenure. As he celebrates his fourth decade with Steinway, the man once known around the factory as “The Kid” thinks about how sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Post-War Boom: The Youse Dynasty Begins

In 1947, George Youse, Bill’s grandfather, completed a training program at the Lighthouse to learn how to tune pianos. George was blind; he had recently lost his sight due to a degenerative retinal condition. He didn’t handle the vision loss well until he found his way to the Steinway factory and settled into a career as a piano tuner.

This was during a post-war boom in which sales at the factory were skyrocketing. Customers were waiting impatiently for their Steinway pianos, even the premier Model D grands, which in those days boasted a retail price of $6,900.

So there was plenty of work for George. The issue was transportation. The daily commute from George’s home in the Bronx to Astoria was becoming tedious for his son, Bill Youse Sr. (as he was later known once his own son Bill started at Steinway), who had taken on the task of driving his father to work, over the congested Triborough Bridge, before returning to his own job with Bronx-based Mapes Piano Strings and rushing back to fetch George in the evening. Four trips over the bridge each day was a problem, and after several years of this, Bill Sr. had had enough. The solution? Simple. He would join his father George at the Steinway factory and cut his transportation time in half.

Bill Sr. started at the factory in 1955 as a machine worker, operating equipment that produced part of the satin piano finishing for which Steinway is famous. He held the same position until he was eventually elected to run the factory workers’ union. He worked with Steinway through a number of historic moments in company history, including the switch away from ivory keys, the diversification of the workforce following the Civil Rights movement, and the legendary Van Cliburn Steinway performance at the Tchaikovsky piano competition that is credited with helping to thaw Cold War tensions.

“He never really left here,” Bill says today of his father. “He worked right up until about a year before his death. And because of his role with the union, his work was not confined to the factory walls. It came home with him, quite often—phone calls and meetings and the like. I always remember Steinway as a part of our lives. Always.”

Bill Youse and Henry Z. SteinwayBill Youse, Jr. receives his 20-year Steinway award in 1993. He is flanked by his parents and by Henry Z. Steinway (second from right).

In 1973, Bill himself (“The Kid,” or Bill Youse Jr., as he would soon be known) had just graduated an aircraft mechanic’s program. But this was during the infamous oil crisis, when gas lines wound around city blocks and careers in transportation were not looking good. Airlines were laying off mechanics, not hiring them. Meanwhile Steinway, having recently added two additional floors to the factory to increase manufacturing by 20%, was hiring.

Bill remembers the moment. “My father said to me, ‘You’re not going to wait around for aircraft jobs to open up. I’ve got something you can do.’ And I agreed—I needed work. But I didn’t plan to stay with pianos for long. I told my father I would do it for one year, and then return to aviation.” He laughs. “Yeah. That was forty years ago,” he says. 
 “The Kid” has now worked nearly every job in the Steinway factory—starting with routine facilities maintenance and moving up through packing and driving before being recognized for his initiative and placed on “the bench,” learning the highly skilled piano craft work for which Steinway is known. He worked in the color matching department and the action department before being selected for an apprenticeship that taught him so much about every aspect of the piano construction process that he was highly suited for his next gig, as a restoration specialist. He now directs restoration services, where he has overseen rehabilitation of some of the most famous pianos in the company’s history, including the White House piano; a Smithsonian heirloom piano that spent much of its life in Congress; and a storied Motown piano that was originally built in the 1870s.

“The list, quite frankly, is long and impressive,” he says, when asked about notable pianos that have moved through his department. “If it came back here to be restored, I’ve had a hand in it.”

Continuity through Craftsmanship

In addition to the famous pianos, artists, and craftsmen he has worked with, Bill has also worked with plenty of changes in the Steinway operation through the years. “When I started, the Steinway family still owned the business,” he remembers. “Then it went to CBS and through two other sales before it went public and then went through its most recent sale. I’ve been here through all those transitions.”

There have been other developments, too: new technologies, a more diverse workforce, sophisticated equipment additions. But one thing has remained the same, according to Bill. “The core of what a Steinway piano is comes from the people who build it. You can change management styles, you can change owners, you can bring in all kinds of machinery—but there is still a big, big, big portion of this piano that’s created by hand. And that part is driven by desire.”

“You can’t make someone want to do a good job,” he continues. “Maybe they’ll do a good job, but you can’t make them want to. I think the constant here is that we have been very fortunate in getting the kind of people who really want to do a good job. We work here because we want to be craftsmen. We want to turn out the best piano in the world. The craftsmen on the bench are the people who have made this what it is.”

“Look, this is a factory. It’s hard work,” Bill says. “You have to love it to stay for decades, like many people do. You have to love this or you wouldn’t stay for that kind of time.”

Bill Youse at Steinway DinnerBill Youse, Jr. at a celebratory dinner marking his 20 years with the company.

Like forty years? “Yes,” he replies. “Like forty years.” In fact, Bill is hoping to make it to fifty, for a few reasons. “Well, for one thing, retiring in New York is an expensive proposition,” he says, laughing. “But it’s not just that. I would love to be counted as one of the people who made fifty years with Steinway & Sons.” He pauses. “That would be nice,” he says quietly.

And if anything were to get in the way of that goal, Bill says, it won’t be the company. “I guess it will come down to physical ability, my own limitations. Steinway will be here for as long as I can do my job. It will be here and be strong for quite a few years going forward.”

Which is a good thing for Bill Youse. And for Michael Youse. And for all the Youses to come.

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​Steinway Artist Feature: The 5 Browns Celebrate Fall with New Album plus Carnegie Debut

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When sibling sensations The 5 Browns perform, the physical spectacle is already arresting. Picture it: five Steinway concert grand pianos, five strikingly charismatic performers, five distinct styles of showmanship. Now picture this spectacle taking place on one of the most revered stages the world has ever known. And now you might—might—have a hint of what’s in store for the lucky audience who will be in attendance on October 18, when Steinway Artists The 5 Browns make their long-anticipated debut at Carnegie Hall.

The-5-Browns-Steinway

The Carnegie performance coincides with October’s release of the Browns’ sixth album, a live performance of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The album will be released digitally October 1 and will be available on CD October 29. The Carnegie debut—a dream come true for a young quintet from Utah—will fall just between these dates, on October 18.

Autumn Brings Rite of Spring

With five studio albums under their belts, The 5 Browns are not newcomers to the record business. But making the new album was a completely different experience, says big sister Deondra, who is second-oldest of the siblings. The Rite of Spring captures The 5 Browns’ electric performance of Stravinsky’s legendary composition on May 29, 2013—exactly one hundred years from the day of its riotous debut in Paris. Produced by Grammy-winner Adam Abeshouse, the performance was recorded live at the Helen Filene Ladd Concert Hall, Arthur Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College in a show presented by SaratogaArtsFest. In addition to the Stravinsky piece, the album also features five-piano arrangements of three movements from Gustav Holst’s The Planets and Danse Macabre, a tone poem by Camille Saint-Saëns.

“This was our first opportunity to do a live recording, and we were thrilled that we did The Rite of Spring,” says Deondra “It’s pretty amazing on any day, and to play it on the 100th anniversary of the debut in Paris was extraordinary.”

The dynamic is different in a live performance, she says, which makes for a stirring experience not just for the performers and the audience, but for the recording as well. “We were nervous, sure. But I think nerves actually help the performance when you are playing live. There is so much more energy. When recording an album in a studio you sort of have to amp yourself up,” Deondra says. “But when you are live, feeling the support and joy of the audience—it’s hard to describe. It’s very exciting.”

The Rite of Spring release will add The 5 Browns to the ranks of a diverse range of renowned classical, modern, jazz, and popular piano artists who have recorded on the Steinway & Sons label, which highlights exceptional pianists from the Steinway Artist roster performing on Steinway grand pianos.

The-5-Browns

Could We Be Here One Day?

They may be seasoned recording professionals today, but The 5 Browns, with an average age of 30, are still young artists, still wide-eyed at the prospect of playing Carnegie Hall next month. They first visited the legendary venue as teenagers, when the prospect of a debut there was little more than a fantasy. After all, Carnegie Hall had hosted performances of nearly every iconic figure of classical piano for the last century: from the historic performance by Tchaikovsky on opening night in 1891 to recent shows by Lang Lang, Jeremy Denk, and Mitsuko Uchida. Not to mention all the performers in between: Rachmaninoff, Rubenstein, Horowitz, Van Cliburn—the list goes on.

“I have a very strong memory of the first time we went to Carnegie Hall,” says Melody. “We managed to get tickets on the stage for a solo recital by Evgeny Kissin. He was like a movie star to us. We were awestruck. The whole time we were thinking, could we be here one day? Could we make it? And here we are 15 years later, having our debut on that stage in Carnegie Hall. We’re so excited.”

When they arrive at Carnegie, the stage will be set with five Steinway Model D grand pianos. But don’t expect to see the siblings settle in for the evening on their benches. When performing live, The 5 Browns give a new meaning to the term “musical chairs.”

“We change pianos every single piece,” says Ryan. “We work with amazing arrangers—Greg Anderson and Jeffrey Shumway—and they name the parts for us, design the changes. It’s great for us to mix it up, and it’s better for the audience, because they don’t have to stare at the same Brown all night,” he adds, laughing.

It’s the Steinways, he says, that provide the reliability and consistency the Browns need to ensure a perfect performance all the way around the stage.

“We’ve been enthralled by Steinway pianos all our lives. At one point when we were growing up we had five in the house,” Melody says. (“We even had one in the garage,” Gregory interjects. “But it was an air-conditioned garage,” Melody shoots back.) She laughs. “OK, yes—there were pianos everywhere: various grands and an upright as well. And whoever got up first had their pick of which one to practice on. So there was some incentive to be an early riser.”

What’s next for The 5 Browns? “It’s hard to think about what’s next when there is so much on the immediate table,” says Gregory. “After Carnegie we’ll get back to performing new material, and we think we’ll take on a new five-piano arrangement of Mily Balakirev’s composition, Islamey. We just want to continue to challenge ourselves.”

The-5-Browns

But wherever they go and whatever they do, one thing is sure: The 5 Browns will continue to make quite an impression: five dynamic young performers traveling with a semi-truck full of Steinway pianos, courtesy of piano movers Keyboard Express. The Browns laugh, acknowledging the spectacle.

“We are so grateful for our relationship with Steinway,” Desirae says. “They take care of us. We know our pianos will be there at every venue. We feel like we are part of an elite club, playing these fine pianos.”

Her brothers and sisters agree. “A few years ago we did a mini concert for staff at the Steinway & Sons factory,” Melody says. “We looked at the people listening and we realized: these are the technicians who have worked on the concert grands we play. These craftsmen train for 20 years and more. The time they have invested in perfecting their craft is about as long as we have been playing. There was a mutual respect there—a camaraderie among artists.”

To see The 5 Browns at their Carnegie Hall debut on October 18, visit www.carnegiehall.org. To purchase The Rite of Spring, visit www.arkivmusic.com.

Can’t Miss: Preview PBS special The 5 Browns in Concert.

About The 5 Browns

The 5 Browns—Desirae, Deondra, Gregory, Melody, and Ryan—all attended New York’s Juilliard School. The quintet enjoyed their first wave of critical attention in February 2002 when People magazine dubbed them the “Fab Five” at about the same time they were featured on Oprah and 60 Minutes. The 5 Browns have released 3 CDs with Sony Classics that each went to #1 on Billboard Magazine’s Classical Album Chart. The 5 Browns tour extensively and have performed in numerous venues including the Grand National Theater in China, Suntory Hall in Japan and, in the United States, The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Symphony Hall in Chicago and Alice Tully Hall in New York City. Individually and collaboratively, they have soloed with orchestras around the world, including the National Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre de chambre de Paris. Their book, Life Between the Keys, a lighthearted collection of personal stories, was published by Phoenix Books in March 2009. Sisters Desirae and Deondra are the creators of The Foundation for Survivors of Abuse, a non-profit organization dedicated to working to remove the statute of limitations for crimes of sexual abuse. To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.survivingabuse.org. The 5 Browns are exclusive Steinway Artists. www.the5browns.com.

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Poulenc meets Piaf on Antonio Pompa-Baldi’s Enchanting Steinway & Sons Debut Album

On his debut Steinway & Sons recording The Rascal and the Sparrow, the imaginative Italian-born pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi spins a whimsical, heartrending dialogue between Francis Poulenc and Edith Piaf. By weaving together solo piano arrangements of music from these icons of mid-20th-century French chanson, Pompa-Baldi evokes a glittering memory of one of history’s most romanticized eras. The album is available for download in the US on September 3 and on CD September 24.

The Rascal and the Sparrow - Poulenc Meets Piaf, Antonio Pompa-Baldi

In 1959, Francis Poulenc finished up his series of 15 improvisations for piano with No. 15 in C minor, subtitled “L’hommage à Édith Piaf.” While nobody knows why he called it this, the three-and-a-half minute piece echoes the melancholy, impassioned strains that The Little Sparrow (the diminutive Piaf’s famous nickname) would have been belting out to sold-out crowds at Paris’ Olympia Theater that year. This charming work, and its mysterious dedication, is the inspiration behind The Rascal and the Sparrow: Poulenc Meets Piaf, pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi’s Steinway & Sons debut that captures all of the passion, heartbreak and beauty of mid-20th-century Paris.

The recording blends Pompa-Baldi’s elegant transcriptions of some of Poulenc’s most melodious art songs, including the famous cabaret-inspired “Les chemins de l’amour,” with composer Roberto Piana's "elaborations" on beloved chansons from Piaf’s extensive songbook, including “La vie en rose” and “Non, je ne regrette rien.” The result is an exquisite time capsule that transports us back to Paris of the 1920s and ‘30s.

Although it is unknown if Poulenc and Piaf knew each other during their lifetimes, they shared a great deal including common friends (Jean Cocteau, for example), infectious melodies and, above all, a profound honesty in their art. They also died in the same year, 1963, and this album coincides thus with the 50th anniversary of their passing.

With his intuitive grasp of the deep humanity that permeates this music, Pompa-Baldi draws an intimate portrait of these two larger-than-life personalities who elevated the art of the song both in the concert hall and the cabaret. The recording opens with Poulenc’s bittersweet waltz, “Les Chemins de l’Amour,” and the Improvisation No. 15, “Hommage à Édith Piaf” before transitioning seamlessly into a stunning, ornamented rendition one of Piaf’s signature tunes, “Hymne à l’amour,” setting into motion an elegiac arc that makes us nostalgic for a time and place that we’ve never known.

Other songs on the recording from Poulenc include transcriptions from several of his song cycles including Cinq Poèmes de Max Jacob; Métamorphoses; Deux Poèmes de Louis Aragon; Tel Jour, Telle Nuit; Chansons Gaillardes and Huit Chansons Polonaises, as well as the evocatively titled “Nos souvenirs chantent” and “Montparnasse.” On the Piaf side, fans will recognize some of her most triumphant successes including “La Vie en Rose,” “Non, Je ne regrette rien,” “Mon legionnaire,” “Les amants d’un jour,” and many more. One of the year’s most original solo piano recordings, The Rascal and the Sparrow demands to be played on repeat.

ANTONIO POMPA-BALDI, born and raised in Italy, has toured extensively in five continents, performing in some of the world's major concert venues including New York's Carnegie Hall, Cleveland's Severance Hall, Milan's Sala Verdi, Boston's Symphony Hall, Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall, and Paris' Salle Pleyel. He also appeared in London, Rome, Tokyo, Auckland, Houston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles,  Kiev, Seoul, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Hong Kong, to name a few.

First prize winner of the 1999 Cleveland International Piano Competition, Pompa-Baldi is also a top prize winner at the 1998 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition, and a silver medalist at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Mr. Pompa-Baldi's recordings include an all-Brahms disc, a live and unedited recital from his award-winning Cliburn Competition performances, the Josef Rheinberger Piano Sonatas, the entire piano music of Edward Grieg, in 12 volumes, a Rachmaninoff disc, a Schumann album, as well as Sonatas by Johann Nepomuk Hummel.

Antonio Pompa-Baldi is a Steinway Artist. He serves as Distinguished Professor of Piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He also gives master-classes around the world, often in conjunction with his performing engagements. For more information, please visit pompa-baldi.com.

The Rascal and the Sparrow, Poulenc Meets Piaf from pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi, will be released by Steinway & Sons [CD 30015] digitally on September 3rd and physically on September 24th.

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A Conversation with John Paulson

On the eve of the closing on the purchase of Steinway Musical Instruments by Paulson & Company, Ben Niles, producer of the award-winning documentary about Steinway & Sons, “Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1037,” sat down with John Paulson, founder of the investment management firm Paulson & Co.

Their short discussion allowed John to share some of his thoughts regarding Steinway Musical Instruments, the reasons he purchased the company and his plans for its future. He also provided assurances regarding the continuity of the quality that Steinway is world-renowned for, and that the world’s finest pianos would continue to be handcrafted in its Queens, New York and Hamburg, Germany factories.

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The Diaphragmatic Soundboard: The Heart of the Steinway Tone, Color and Richness

Steinway Soundboard Craftsmen

More than 98% of performing pianists insist on using a Steinway piano. Why this dramatic vote of confidence? The sound of the Steinway piano is one of power, warmth, richness and color - the result of many exclusive features, including the Diaphragmatic Soundboard. Over 70 years ago, Steinway patented its “soundboard for pianos,” continuing its tradition of superior craftsmanship, innovation and sound.

1937 Steinway Soundboard PamphletClick for a larger version of the original Steinway pamphlet from 1937 describing the diaphragmatic soundboard.

The Patented Steinway
Diaphragmatic Soundboard

1) Patented Design

The Steinway Diaphragmatic Soundboard was designed and patented to act like a true diaphragm. The greatest thickness is in the middle, from which point there is continual tapering in all directions toward the outer edges. This design reduces the energy needed by the soundboard to vibrate, an efficiency that permits a greater variance of tone, color, and richness.
The Steinway’s rich tone is due also to the full (front and rear) duplex scale design. The design allows for the fretted “non-speaking” lengths of the steel strings to vibrate in sympathy with other notes being played. This feature would contribute little, though, if the soundboard were not sensitive and efficient enough to respond to subtlety. Without the Diaphragmatic Soundboard, the tonal attributes created by the duplex scale design would be like words whispered to someone with earplugs.

Steinway Soundboard Patent 1973 Fig. 3“Original illustration from the patent of Feb. 9, 1937.” Read the Full Article (2.7 MB)

2) Superior Materials

The materials used in the manufacturing of the piano are just as important as the design. Steinway pianos combine the resonance of Sitka spruce with the rigidity of hard rock maple to intensify the richness of the sound.
All Steinway soundboards are made with Sitka spruce, the most resonant wood available. Soundboards in Steinway pianos are constructed from solid (never laminated) Sitka spruce with annual growth rings measuring 8-12 per inch. These close-grained lines enable the sound-producing energy to travel to the end of the board, which is custom-fit to the top of the inner rim. The energy travels more efficiently when the soundboard is close-grained.
This is just the beginning. When the sound-producing energy reaches the inside of the single-bent rim, it instantly returns to the body of the soundboard, where it resonates. The efficiency of this process is much enhanced by the hardness of the rim, which is constructed from hard rock maple.

Steinway Soundboard Patent 1973 Fig. 6“Original illustration from the patent of Feb. 9, 1937.” Read the Full Article (2.7 MB)

3) The Quality of Steinway

The design, shape and materials of the Steinway soundboard make it the best found in any piano. Each Steinway soundboard is custom-made, by hand, to fit to a specific piano. This perfect fit means there is no wasted energy.
There are more than 250 skilled craftspeople at the Steinway New York factory, yet it takes almost an entire year to craft a Steinway piano; the soundboard itself requires 7 days in a specialized conditioning room before installation – which is performed by a skilled artisan called a “bellyman” over the course of a full day. Integrity of design, materials and workmanship is maintained in the creation of all Steinways. Each aspect of this threefold foundation plays a role in the instrument’s superior tone.

News & Events

Paulson & Co. Announces Completion of Acquisition of Steinway Musical Instruments

NEW YORK and WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 19, 2013 -- An affiliate of investment firm Paulson & Co. Inc. ("Paulson") and Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. ("Steinway" or the "Company"), today announced the successful completion of Paulson's acquisition of Steinway, a global leader in the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of high quality musical instruments.

John Paulson, President of Paulson & Co. Inc., said, "Over the last 160 years, Steinway has built an unprecedented reputation for excellence. We will uphold that tradition with the continued uncompromising pursuit of perfection."

Michael Sweeney, Chief Executive Officer of Steinway, stated, "As we look forward, we expect the entire Steinway family — dealers, artists and employees — to benefit from the continued execution of our business strategies under Paulson's ownership. Our customers will continue to enjoy the best-in-class musical instruments and service they have come to expect from Steinway."

About the Acquisition
The acquisition was effected through a tender offer followed by a merger. The tender offer, which was made at $40.00 per share pursuant to the definitive merger agreement entered into among affiliates of Paulson and Steinway on August 14, 2013, expired as scheduled at 12:00 midnight, New York City time, at the end of the day on September 18, 2013. As of the expiration of the tender offer, a total of 11,005,781 shares of the Company's common stock, representing approximately 83.8% of the outstanding shares on a fully-diluted basis, were validly tendered into and not validly withdrawn from the tender offer. According to the terms of the tender offer, shares that were validly tendered and not validly withdrawn have been accepted for payment. In accordance with the merger agreement, the parties subsequently completed the acquisition by an affiliate of Paulson merging with and into Steinway with Steinway continuing as the surviving corporation and an affiliate of Paulson. In the merger, each share of the Company's common stock issued and outstanding immediately prior to the effective time of the merger, other than shares held by Paulson, the Company or their respective subsidiaries, and shares held by the Company's stockholders who properly exercised their appraisal rights under Delaware law, was canceled and converted into the right to receive the $40.00 offer price per share, net to the seller in cash, without interest and less any applicable withholding taxes. The Company's shares ceased trading on the NYSE at the close of market on September 18, 2013, and will no longer be listed.

Allen & Company LLC served as financial advisor to the Company in this transaction. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP acted as legal advisors to the Company. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP acted as Paulson's legal advisor.

About Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc.
Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc., through its Steinway and Conn-Selmer divisions, is a global leader in the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of high quality musical instruments. These products include Bach Stradivarius trumpets, Selmer Paris saxophones, C.G. Conn French horns, Leblanc clarinets, King trombones, Ludwig snare drums and Steinway & Sons pianos. Through its online music retailer, ArkivMusic, the Company also produces and distributes classical music recordings. For more information about Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. please visit the Company's website at www.steinwaymusical.com.

About Paulson & Co. Inc.
Paulson & Co. Inc. is an investment management firm with approximately US$18 billion in assets under management and has offices in New York, London and Hong Kong.

Cautionary Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements with respect to the tender offer and related transactions, including the benefits expected from the acquisition. When used in this press release, the words "can," "will," "intends," "expects," "is expected," similar expressions and any other statements that are not historical facts are intended to identify those assertions as forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on a number of assumptions that could ultimately prove inaccurate, and are subject to a number of risk factors, including uncertainties regarding general economic and business conditions. The Company and Paulson do not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Further information on factors that could affect the Company's financial results is provided in documents filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company's recent filings on Form 10-Q and Form 10-K.

Company Contact:
Julie A. Theriault
Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc.
(781) 894-9770
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Investor Relations Contact:
Harriet Fried
LHA
(212) 838-3777
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Paulson Contact:
Dawn Dover
Kekst and Company
(212) 521-4817
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

SOURCE Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc.

News & Events

With a Global Standard of Excellence, All-Steinway Schools Number 150 and Counting

As seen in the Spring 2013 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

University of Cincinnati SteinwayThe piano faculty and orchestra perform at the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music, honoring the single largest purchase, 165 pianos, in the 160 year history of Steinway & Sons.

Citing diverse cultural interpretations across the globe, scholars often debate whether music really is a universal language. But for more than 150 distinguished institutions now proudly displaying the All-Steinway School insignia, there is no question about what has become a universal symbol of excellence.

While the Oberlin Conservatory of Music first partnered with Steinway & Sons in 1877, the All- Steinway concept was officially adopted about 20 years ago. “Steinway & Sons recognized that institutions like Oberlin, the Juilliard School, the Yale School of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music were already using Steinway pianos exclusively,” says Sally Coveleskie, National Director of Institutional Sales at Steinway & Sons in New York City. “From this illustrious core of institutions where the world’s foremost musicians and teachers were already using our pianos, it wasn’t inconceivable that other schools would want to emulate them in terms of examining their own piano inventories.”

Steinway Artist Ignat SolzhenitsynSteinway Artist Ignat Solzhenitsyn gives a lesson at the Curtis Institute of Music, an All-Steinway School since it opened in 1924.

With more institutions purchasing large numbers of new Steinway pianos, the company discovered a unique way to acknowledge their efforts.

“The ‘All-Steinway School’ captures the same spirit of excellence expressed in Steinway’s mission statement,” she says. “What our most coveted trademark tells the world is that this school is committed to excellence, just as we have been for 160 years.”

Steinway pianos are exclusive to 97 percent of all pianists performing with orchestras around the world, as well as 1,600 musicians who are designated Steinway Artists.

In the Presence of a Master“In the Presence of a Master“ is a bronze sculpture created by Inspired Bronze and commissioned by philanthropists Jim and Sandy Powell in honor of All-Steinway Schools in Tennessee. It was formally presented to Steinway & Sons and resides at the Steinway Factory in New York. Steinway & Sons deeply appreciates this gift and takes this opportunity to thank Mr. & Mrs. Powell for their generous support of Steinway pianos to public institutions of higher learning in Tennessee.

Dr. Robert Blocker, Dean of the Yale School of Music, notes that Steinway pianos are serving young artists (at Yale) who are already launching their careers “and the thing that we appreciate so much is that these are the pianos they will find in world competitions and centers throughout the United States.”

“It reflects on your program, it reflects on everything as being committed to the best,” adds Dr. Richard Gipson, Director of the School of Music at Texas Christian University, home of the Van Cliburn Competition.

All-Steinway Schools are divided into three categories: conservatories, colleges & universities, and other schools of distinction. At an All-Steinway School each student is guaranteed to perform and rehearse on Steinway instruments. Institutions must follow Steinway maintenance guidelines, and are subject to periodic inspections by factory representatives.

Columbus State University SteinwayColumbus State University, Columbus, GA: Maxine Schiffman is seated among the 68 new Steinway pianos she donated to the University, making this an All-Steinway School.

Steinway develops a customized strategic plan to manage inventories, in addition to offering technical services, support with fundraising, financing and public relations. “Our comprehensive approach addresses everything to insure that students and faculty members have the best pianos possible.” Coveleskie says.

Having an inventory plan in hand, schools can offer potential donors much more than the aesthetic beauty of the instruments. “Non-musicians who evaluate the program strictly from an investor’s point of view usually cite value, durability and appreciation of equipment,” she explains. “They choose Steinway for pragmatic as well as artistic reasons.”

Wanda L. Bass, a banker, philanthropist and arts patron who passed away in 2008, made international news with the single largest donation of 105 new Steinway pianos to Oklahoma City University.

Other landmarks in the storied history of the All-Steinway program include the 2007 purchase of 141 pianos by the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York – Potsdam for $3.8 million, followed two years later with the single largest order of 165 Steinway instruments for more than $4 million by the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. The number of All-Steinway Schools recently reached the important milestone of 150 institutions when the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University completed its $2.7 million purchase of 70 new pianos.

All Steinway School Map 2013

Given a strong emphasis on excellence, it comes as no surprise that the program has defied geographic boundaries through the years. The amazing assembly of All-Steinway Schools attests to a collective distinction quite unlike any other worldwide initiative:

The Central Conservatory of Music, School of Piano in Beijing, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Wales, Leeds College of Music in England, University of South Africa in Pretoria, University of Victoria in Canada, Amadeus International School of Music in Austria, Rimsky Korsakov School in Russia, Qatar Music Academy in Doha and the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico in San Juan.

“We’d like to thank our many partners in the global community for sharing in our rich tradition and history,” says Coveleskie.

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Arabesque

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All-Steinway University of Utah Reaffirms Commitment, Adds 49 New Pianos

As seen in the Spring 2013 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Reflecting on a century of achievement in the Piano Area, a group of visionaries at the University of Utah wanted to insure endless success for what has grown to become the single largest program in the School of Music. So they decided to celebrate in the finest fashion, adding 49 new pianos by Steinway & Sons.

“This acquisition in our centennial year affirms the administration’s and faculty’s commitment to provide a stellar educational experience for our students,” said Dean Raymond Tymas-Jones of the College of Fine Arts, noting an amazing relationship began when the university became an All-Steinway school in 2001 through a magnanimous gift of 55 pianos from Bruce W. Bastian. Today, the University of Utah boasts one of the largest inventories of Steinway and Steinway-Designed instruments in the country.

“Our students come from major schools of music to study with us, and our undergraduates have been accepted into some of the most prestigious graduate programs in the country,” added Dr. Susan Duehlmeier, Piano Area Chair and one of seven Steinway Artists at the school. “We are looking forward to experiencing the dynamic impact that these additional instruments will afford to us on so many different levels.”

Steinway-Artist-Susan-DuehlemeierDr. Susan Duehlemeier, Piano Area Chair and Presidential Teaching Scholar at the University of Utah. Dr. Duehlemeier is a Steinway Artist.

The Piano Area prepares students for professional careers in solo, chamber and collaborative performance, accompaniment and teaching. With the new pianos and addition of a DMA degree, enrollment in graduate programs has tripled, according to Dr. Duehlmeier.

She explained that faculty members wanted their students to train on the instruments they would most likely use in various competitions and performances.
“It was just as important that our concert instruments provide a refined and responsive sound not only for students and faculty, but for guest artists and community patrons who support us.”

Citing high quality of the pianos, many of those guest artists who have performed over the years express interest in returning, she said.

Student reaction to receiving the initial shipment is best summed up by Xiaoyang Zhou, who proclaimed her enthusiasm with this post on social media: “Because of the new piano, I will get up very early tomorrow morning. . .Excited!”

Steinway Michael Stewart
Steinway Rebekah-Ann Gebler
Students Michael Stewart and Rebekah-Ann Gebler play two of the 49 new pianos from Steinway & Sons recently delivered to the University of Utah by Dayne’s Music.

University President David Pershing, vice presidents Fred Esplin and Michael Hardman, Dean Raymond Tymas-Jones, School of Music Director James Gardner and Skip Daynes, owner of Daynes Music, all played essential roles in the centennial campaign.

With support of President Pershing and Interim senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Hardman, “it was imperative that the University of Utah, as the flagship institution of the state of Utah, continues to enjoy the designation as an All-Steinway School in the Intermountain West,” said Dean Tymas-Jones, who designated 2013 the Year of the Piano.

Most of the new instruments will be used in faculty offices, concert spaces and practice rooms, while others are assigned to the Theater Department. Hospitals in the university system also have Steinway grand pianos in their lobbies, providing live music for patients and patrons.

Ladies in Red SteinwayUniversity of Utah’s Ladies in Red, from left: Ruby Chou, Mary Anne Huntsman, Lindsey Wright, Cassie Olsen-Taylor, Stella Markova.

Serving the greater Salt Lake community since 2000 are the crimson-clad Ladies in Red, an altruistic assembly of university students who volunteer their time and talents to advance the study of music at inner-city schools.

“Our school color is crimson, so it was only natural that they adopt red as their designated color,” said Dr. Duehlmeier. “We are so very proud of their efforts. Like our wonderful new pianos, they help to inspire and bring out the very best in each and every one of us.”

News & Events

The 5 Browns to Release New Live Album on October 29; With Carnegie Hall Debut on October 18

View the original press release

Steinway Artists The 5 BrownsThe 5 Browns to release new live album on October 29.
(PRNewsFoto/The 5 Browns)

A revolutionary force in classical music and an ongoing global phenomenon since the release of their self-titled debut album, The 5 Browns will realize a lifelong collective dream this year with the release of their new live album on October 29 titled The Rite of Spring – The 5 Browns: Live at Arthur Zankel Music Center. The Steinway & Sons recording, which will also be digitally released on October 1, will include their arrangement of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and was recorded at the Arthur Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. The group of five pianist siblings, will also bring their five piano ensemble to The Ravinia Festival on September 5, and for the first time, to Carnegie Hall on October 18.

“Steinway & Sons has been honored to have The 5 Browns on our Steinway Artist roster from the very start of their illustrious careers,” says Ron Losby, President, Steinway & Sons-Americas. He continues: “We are now especially honored to feature The 5 Browns on our exclusive Steinway Record Label and to watch as they make their Carnegie Hall debut. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with this group of marvelous pianists who show the same passion and dedication towards making great music as we do towards making the world’s finest pianos.”

Video: Melody Brown talks about The 5 Browns' Carnegie Hall debut

For more information visit: http://www.the5browns.com/

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Investment Brochure

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Paulson & Co. to Acquire Steinway Musical Instruments for $40 Per Share

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Gilmore Festival Looks Beyond the Stars

As seen in the Spring 2013 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Alfredo RodriguezCuban pianist and composer Alfredo Rodriguez plays at the 2012 Gilmore Keyboard Festival.
Mark Bugnaski photo

Every two years, thousands of music lovers flock to southwestern Michigan and are treated to star-studded performances by globally-celebrated artists. With much anticipation, organizers are planning the 2014 Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival by means of a far reaching vision that could very well stretch into another galaxy.

“We have enjoyed the artistry of many of the world’s greatest pianists over the years, but I am most proud of the younger generation of artists whom we have presented and championed – many of them are now beginning to be the movers and shakers of today’s music world,” said Dan Gustin, who’s been directing the festival since 2000.

Ingrid FliterIngrid Fliter of Argentina, who gained international attention when she won the 2006 Gilmore Artist Award, performs at the 2012 Gilmore Keyboard Festival.
John Lacko Photography

Past performers include Steinway Artists Emanuel Ax, Jeremy Denk, Leon Fleisher, Bruce Hornsby, Diana Krall and Peter Serkin. One of the highlights next year will be naming a new Gilmore Artist to join an elite roster that includes Steinway Artists Piotr Anderszewski, Leif Ove Andsnes, Ingrid Fliter and Kirill Gerstein. Described by The New York Times as music’s answer to the MacArthur Foundation “genius grants,” the $300,000 award possesses a tantalizing mystique, as nominees have no idea that they have been put up for consideration by a large and diverse group of international music professionals. An anonymous, six-member Artistic Advisory Committee appraises each nominee and makes their decision after absorbing numerous performances over a four year period.

Debuting in 1991 as a nine-day showcase mostly for classical and jazz pianists, the Gilmore expanded to 17 days in 2002. Last year’s world-class extravaganza featured nearly 100 events. Festival goers can pick and choose from orchestra concerts, solo recitals, chamber music and musical theater, all while exploring hidden treasures along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Kirill Gerstein and Brad MehldauKirill Gerstein, 2010 Gilmore Artist, and Brad Mehldau, play on back-to-back Steinway Model D grand pianos at the 2012 Gilmore Keyboard Festival.
John Lacko Photography

“Great music is a great leveler and reminds us all of our common humanity. We thought we had the capacity to present a greater diversity of artists and a good deal more music, and given our past successes, that our community was ready for it,” Gustin said of the decision to extend the schedule. “Early exposure and local availability are paramount in building support for the fine arts in any community. Thanks to our local leaders, music has always had an important and much-valued place here. The Gilmore Festival builds on that foundation.”

Gustin has been a vocal advocate for an All-Steinway designation at Western Michigan University, which plays host for practice sessions, master classes and dozens of Gilmore performances. WMU just inked its name to the All-Steinway register on the 100th anniversary of its School of Music.

Leif Ove Andsnes
Piotr Anderszewski
Above left: Leif Ove Andsnes, a Norwegian pianist who garnered the Gilmore Artist Award in 1998, performs at 2012 Gilmore Keyboard Festival.
Above right: Piotr Anderszewski, born in Warsaw, performs at the 2010 Gilmore Keyboard Festival. He received the Gilmore Artist Award in 2002.

John Lacko Photography

“This world-class talent now has access to the best pianos on the globe,” noted Dr. Margaret Merrion, Dean of the College of Fine Arts. “We are pleased to affiliate the All-Steinway School of Music at Western Michigan University with the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival.”

Irving S. Gilmore, a local businessman and philanthropist who passed away in 1986, was an accomplished musician in his own right, playing piano as a child and studying in New York City after graduating from Yale University in 1923. His love of keyboard music and admiration for its performers never diminished. “Irving Gilmore created a great heritage for us with his enthusiasm for, and support of, the arts. We remain the grateful beneficiaries of his legacy,’’ said Gustin.

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Newest All-Steinway School, UT School of Music, Debuts $40M Music Center

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Western Michigan University’s College of Fine Arts Creates Distinct Brand as All-Steinway School

As seen in the Spring 2013 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Steinway Western Michigan University Symphony OrchestraAcknowledged by Downbeat Magazine as the “Best Classical University Symphony Orchestra” in 2005, the Western Michigan University Symphony Orchestra now performs with added distinction as an All-Steinway school.

Students aspiring to become successful artists in the 21st century will find a reverential destination at Western Michigan University, where administrators say musical culture is built on mutual respect that demanded pianos by Steinway & Sons.

“Our mission is to give our students a first-rate education and that requires first-class instruments, high quality learning opportunities and outstanding faculty-artists,” said Dr. Margaret Merrion, Dean of the College of Fine Arts. “The All-Steinway program was a major objective in our strategic map for distinction.” “Becoming an All-Steinway School is another example in which the College of Fine Arts is a leader in creating a distinctive brand for Western Michigan University,” adds Dr. David Colson, Director of the School of Music. “Students are especially appreciative to have instruments on which to practice and perform that inspire their growth as musicians. In addition to our students, guest artists often comment on the uniqueness of our program in regards to the numbers and types of superior pianos. It’s something they remember about our school.”

Steinway Margaret Merrion David ColsonDr. Margaret Merrion, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, and Dr. David Colson, Director of the School of Music at Western Michigan University, one of the nation’s newest All-Steinway schools.

WMU has been updating its inventory with 118 pianos, said Wilbur Miller, Director of Institutional Sales at Steinway Piano Gallery of Detroit. “They have a tremendous piano department with faculty members who recognized the importance of the All-Steinway initiative. When Dean Merrion realized it was close to happening on the 100th anniversary (of the School of Music), they pushed hard to reach the top the mountain,” he said. Performances are scheduled for later this year to mark the All-Steinway milestone.

As witnessed first-hand by Dean Merrion at the Dorothy U. Dalton Center, WMU’s community of music students and faculty respect and take great pride in the environment. “This culture of reverence is most visible when students invite their friends and family to their recitals, when they are one notch closer to professional artists as they perform with Steinway instruments. I think they ‘play up’ to a higher level of performance when having the most respected instruments in the industry,” she said.

Steinway Artist Christopher O'RileySteinway Artist Christopher O’Riley, host of From the Top on NPR, makes a point at the School of Music’s Dalton Center during the 40th Anniversary of the College of Fine Arts at Western Michigan University.

Fundraising began five years ago, with a $2 million campaign led by two major donors: the Dorothy U. Dalton Foundation and Irving S. Gilmore Foundation. While project resources came from many places, Dr. Colson said “it was the commitment and focus of Dean Merrion that was the driving force in achieving this goal in a timely manner.”

Dean Merrion confesses she wanted the School of Music to be part of the first university in the State of Michigan bearing the All-Steinway seal. “I must admit I am competitive,” she said after joining more than 150 colleges, universities and other prestigious schools of distinction around the world.

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Steinway & Sons Welcomes New Dealership to Houston Region

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (August 1, 2013) – Steinway & Sons announces the opening of Steinway Piano Gallery of Houston, now the fourth location in the long-established Steinway Hall - Dallas/Fort Worth/Plano family of dealerships. The new showroom, in Houston’s prestigious River Oaks neighborhood, becomes Steinway & Sons’ exclusive dealer representative for the Houston market, bringing the world’s finest pianos to artists, students, and institutions in the southeast Texas region.

Steinway Piano Gallery of Houston is located between the prestigious Houston neighborhoods of River Oaks and Upper Kirby in the River Oaks Shopping Center. The 3,200 square foot showroom space will offer sales and service of Steinway pianos—from majestic concert grands to traditional uprights. The gallery will also offer Steinway-designed Boston and Essex pianos, ensuring buyers will find the right instrument for every budget and price point.

“The Saliba family has represented the Steinway & Sons brand in Texas markets since 1992, and they have done a beautiful job,” said Todd Sanders, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Steinway & Sons. “We’re very pleased to welcome this fourth location. Steinway Piano Gallery of Houston represents growth for the regional market and for our renowned family of instruments.”

“The new showroom is in a beautiful location just five minutes from downtown Houston,” said Casey Saliba, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Steinway Hall - Dallas/Fort Worth/Plano. “Our family has been strongly committed to the Steinway brand since my father Danny started his music industry career as a Steinway sales representative in 1979. It’s tremendously exciting to open another showroom and to extend our reach in Texas.”

Danny Saliba, who founded Steinway Hall - Dallas in 1992, and his wife L.B. Saliba will lead the new Houston dealership, while son Casey Saliba will direct the original Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Plano locations. The Houston gallery is located at 2001 W. Gray Street, Houston, Texas 77019. For more information, call (713) 520-1853 or visit www.steinwaypianos.com/houston

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The University of Tennessee School of Music Completes All-Steinway School Initiative

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Steinway’s New Suite of Digital Tools for the 21st Century

Steinway App Suite

Etude, Augmented Reality, Metronome

Steinway Etude App

Steinway Etude
Available for the iPad
Etude is Steinway & Sons breakthrough app for learning, reading, and buying sheet music on the Apple iPad. Etude represents a leap forward in digital sheet music, offering an interactive experience that makes musical notes come alive on screen, helping users learn and play the music they love. The app offers seamless in-app purchasing and downloading of sheet music and affords the user a variety of options to hear how the music should sound and how it is played. All of these features are included in a powerful package that sits elegantly atop the user’s piano or keyboard.

View Steinway Apps in the Apple Store
Steinway Augmented Reality App

Steinway Augmented Reality
Available for the iPad and iPhone
S, M or even better a D?
Find your perfect piano with the Steinway & Sons Augmented Reality App. For many piano lovers, a Steinway is the instrument of their dreams. Those toying with the idea of fulfilling this dream, but are not quite sure which grand or upright piano would fit best in their home, now have the opportunity to find out in an innovative and effective way.

The app is quite easy to use. After downloading the free Steinway Augmented Reality App from the App Store, direct the camera of your iPad or iPhone to the desired place and select a grand or upright piano from the on-screen menu. You will be able to see, model by model, which instrument is most visually and spatially suitable. The 3D visualization allows you to rotate and move the piano, viewing it from various perspectives, until the perfect position is found. With the screenshot function, you can easily save your favorite piano positions in your photo archive and share these images with your family and friends. In addition, the authorized Steinway dealer in your area can get a first impression of your home, and your desired instrument, and give you personalized advice from the very beginning.

View Steinway Apps in the Apple Store
Steinway Metronome App

Steinway Metronome
Available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch
Whether you’re a performing artist, music teacher, or music student, the Steinway & Sons Metronome ensures that you have a fully functional metronome wherever you go.

With Steinway's Metronome, you can dial in the tempo of the piece you're practicing, or just tap along to let the app find it. Customize the time signature, visual indicator, and sound options to your own preferences. You can even change the app's interface based on your personal taste – or to match the wood finish of your instrument.

View Steinway Apps in the Apple Store

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Surgeon Plays a Classical Interlude and Lowers Vital Signs in the Operating Room

Jorge Camara Steinway PianoScience and Art are united when Hawaiian eye surgeon, Dr. Jorge Camara, combines his passion for classical music with his love of medicine.

As seen in the Spring 2013 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Eight years ago, a Honolulu eye doctor surprised the surgical staff at St. Francis Medical Center when he brought a piano into the operating room. But Dr. Jorge G. Camara was combining his passion for music with steadfast purpose.

As his hands graced over the keys playing Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1, Chopin’s Etude in E Major, and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, researchers were quietly monitoring a select group of patients. They discovered what Dr. Camara suspected: 115 showed a statistically significant decrease in their blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate after listening to his chosen repertoire compared to 88 whose vital signs increased prior to surgery when they were not exposed to the music.

The end result was “Live from the Operating Room,” which he believes is the first piano CD scientifically proven to lower vital signs of patients undergoing surgery. According to Dr. Camara, music has the potential to decrease stress hormones released during surgery, lessen pain and relieve anxiety. It also reduces the need for painkillers and sedatives.

Laurie McKeon shared her unique experience in vivid detail:

“In the operating room, Dr. Camara greeted me with a smile and then sat down to play. Right there in the room while others poured blurry thick drops into my eyes, I could feel his energy at the keyboard. It felt like he too was relaxing and focusing, preparing for the delicate operation that he would soon be performing. The music soared above me, swirled around me. It penetrated through my pores, beyond my ears, past my mind and somehow, into my heart. I felt at peace. I felt safe. I felt like everything was going to be just fine. And it was.”

Jorge Camara Steinway Medicine

Born in Ann Arbor, Mi., Dr. Camara grew up in Manila and studied medicine at the University of the Philippines. He moved to Houston and completed his training in ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine Cullen Eye Institute and a post-residency fellowship in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, also at Baylor.

On top of groundbreaking efforts to marry music with medicine, Dr. Camara is widely recognized for his work with the Aloha Medical Mission, now in its 30th year of providing free health care throughout Hawaii and Southeast Asia. To date, the mission has treated more than 250,000 people. “It’s gratifying to be able to provide the gift of eyesight to someone who otherwise would have no access to medical care, let alone specialized surgical care,” he said.

For self-therapy and a respite from his busy practice, Dr. Camara spends at least two hours a day playing at home on his Steinway Model B. “It has been tuned to my standard of perfection and in my living room, surrounded by bamboo wood flooring and a high wood ceiling, it sounds magnificent. I can hear and feel the nuances of every note, every measure, and every phrase of the various composers whose music I play but with a marked preference for the works of J.S. Bach, Chopin, Debussy and Beethoven.”

Touching the lives of so many people as a surgeon, pianist and humanitarian, Dr. Camara expects his Steinway will be a constant musical voice along what continues to be an amazing journey through life.

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Steinway & Sons Releases “Box Score” Results for Last Concert Season

There are approximately two dozen piano manufacturers that make a concert grand piano. Yet last concert season (2011-12), 97% of piano soloists performing with major symphonies did so on a Steinway & Sons piano. Because of the consistent quality of Steinway pianos, the world's finest pianists have come to expect the world's finest piano when they take the stage.

Steinway & Sons reaches out to the major symphonies of the world at the conclusion of each concert season in order to gauge how we are doing and to ensure that we can continue to make our claim that "9 out of 10 concert pianists" perform on Steinway pianos. Over the past decade, year in, year out, Steinway pianos have never accounted for less than 95% of the performances reported to us in any given year. As with our pianos, however, we never take anything for granted and always look to continuously improve and do even better next year.

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A Steinway to Invigorate Imaginations at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute

Joyce J Cammilleri HallJoyce J. Cammilleri Hall, the performance space at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, is another hallmark creation of Yasuhisa Toyota, chief acoustician for more than 50 international projects including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City.
Photography: John Livzey

As seen in the Spring 2013 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Antonio and Hanna DamasioDrs. Antonio and Hanna Damasio – who together have challenged dominant 20th century views about brain function and demonstrated how emotions play a critical role in high-level cognition – are co-founders of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California.

The Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California has selected a Steinway Model B to assist with trailblazing research in a new 20,000 square foot facility on the USC campus. Located in the Dornsife Neuroscience Pavilion, the BCI complex features a classical auditorium designed by Dr. Yasuhisa Toyota, one of the foremost acoustical engineers of the 21st century. Dr. Toyota has collaborated with iconic architect Frank Gehry and others on some of the world’s most distinguished venues, including Disney Hall, home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Founded by Drs. Antonio and Hanna Damasio in 2006, the BCI is at the forefront of exciting technology that offers intriguing perspectives into the human brain and its vast array of amazing functions. Performance space is located alongside neuroimaging machines and science labs, where researchers strive to generate new knowledge aimed at enriching the physical, mental and spiritual view of human nature.

“Understanding the neurological basis of mental phenomena is indispensable for medical and social progress in a globalized society defined by rapid changes and plagued by conflict,” the Institute says in its mission statement.

Frank Gehry Brain and Creativity InstituteThe new BCI complex was designed by Frank Gehry, whose monumental works including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, are often cited among the world’s most important structures in contemporary architecture.
Photography: John Livzey

The BCI is currently engaged in a five-year research project with the LA Philharmonic and Heart of Los Angeles to investigate the emotional, social and cognitive effects of musical training on childhood brain development. Neuroscientists are using psychological assessments and advanced brain imaging techniques to track how children respond at the very onset of being exposed to an intensive music education, as opposed to previous approaches where studies were conducted later in life.

The Model B piano was delivered to the Brain and Creativity Institute along with two Model D pianos for USC’s Thornton School of Music as part of the All-Steinway School initiative.

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Alan Feinberg explores 16th Century keyboard on Basically Bull: Keyboard Works of John Bull & Others

Feinberg unearths the strange genius of Renaissance renegade John Bull for the first time, on the modern Steinway Grand

Basically-Bull-Alan-Feinberg

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (June 25, 2013) – Steinway & Sons Record Label releases pianist Alan Feinberg’s new disc Basically Bull: Keyboard Works of John Bull & Others [digital available June 4th, CD available June 25th]. Alan Feinberg performs some of the most avant-garde works for the “virginal” – a prototype of sorts of the piano—from John Bull, William Byrd, and Orlando Gibbons, among others. These works are recorded for the first time on a modern piano.

Full of complex contrapuntal lines that tie fingers in knots, this experimental and dynamic pianism of early England balked in the face of conventional music at the time. Bull’s works were not born of genteel or pithy dance tunes, nor were they meant to express the flowering charms of the gentlewoman of society. Described as a “vexatious” human being, Bull fled England in 1613 in fear of being persecuted for “his incontinence, fornication, adultery and other grievous crimes” (according to Bull himself.)

He was a compositional renegade who pushed the boundaries in every sense of the word. With a penchant for writing near-impossible melodic spiraling lines that demanded dexterity and diligence, Bull provided, with a cohort of compelling keyboard composers, a folio of incredible and unearthed works.

The works included on Feinberg’s disc feature music from Orlando Gibbons, John Bull, Thomas Tomkins, John Redford, William Byrd and John Blitheman. These short pieces all embody the bold counterpoint, odd harmonies and embellished melodies that cast them aside from traditional repertoire. Bull’s Pavan in the Second Tone embodies the strange harmonic progression Bull was known for and his tune Galliard defies the average speed of fingers. Gibbons’ Fantasia is a lovely, tune that builds in a slow, meandering fugue-like way. Feinberg understands these works and their inherent irreverence.

He has blown the dust off of the manuscripts and unearthed them to breathe new life into these works, originally composed for the virginal. According to Feinberg, “Fashioning a group of these works to function in concert and translating them to the different timbre of the modern piano has been an exciting venture into the 16th/17th century avant-garde.” None of these works have ever been recorded on a modern piano.

Alan Feinberg is an experienced performer of both classical and contemporary music and is well known for recitals that pair old and new music. Basically Bull showcases his fascination and foray into the classic to unearth the contemporary.

Mr. Feinberg has received four Grammy® nominations and has recorded a wide range of American repertoire: four solo discs for Decca that survey American music and piano concertos by Milton Babbitt, Mel Powell, Andrew Imbrie, Kamran Ince, Morton Feldman, Paul Bowles, Amy Beach, Charles Ives, Leo Ornstein, Samuel Adler, Don Gilles, and Robert Helps. He received his fourth Grammy nomination for his recording of the Amy Beach Piano Concerto with the Nashville Symphony.

Mr. Feinberg has performed as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonia, Montreal Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and many others.

Mr. Feinberg frequently performs in Europe. Appearances include The Proms, Wigmore Hall, festivals in Edinburgh, Brescia Bergamo, Geneva, Budapest, and others. In 2013 he programmed and performed in a series of concerts showcasing American music in Russia: in June, for the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and in September, in Moscow.

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Health Care Provider Uses Steinway to Help Unlock Healing Power in Music

As seen in the Spring 2013 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

What’s in the music that makes us feel good? Scientists and musicians travel different paths, but they ultimately reach common ground when it comes to the countless ways it can improve the quality of our lives.

Simply put, our brains are pattern seekers and pattern generators. “We like rhythm and organization, and the inherent structure of music has these characteristics,” explains Dr. Kamal Chèmali, a neurologist with Sentara Health Care Center and founder of the Sentara Music and Medicine Center in Norfolk, Va. “When the patterns in music are familiar, or when they change unexpectedly, we have physiological and psychological reactions. These changes contribute to our well-being while listening to music.”

Anecdotal evidence has been around since the days of Hippocrates, but modern technology captures the healing power of music in no uncertain terms. With the addition of tools such as neuroimaging and complex blood testing, more institutions are realizing the importance of music in the therapeutic process.

Kamal-Chemali-Prisca-BenoitDr. Kamal Chèmali with Ms. Prisca Benoit, international artist-in-residence at the Sentara Music and Medicine Center, play a duet on the new Steinway Model B. Sentara’s philosophy calls for bringing music to patients at the highest possible artistic level.

Dr. Chèmali says functional MRIs reveal changes in the brain after patients are exposed to music, reflecting activation of different structures which seem to mediate musical perception. “The interest of these findings is that this activation can occur in damaged areas of the brain and contribute to the reactivation of non-functional neurons or the creation of new neuronal connections. This, in turn, can explain the regain in function (such as gait or language rehabilitation) observed with musical therapeutic interventions.”

This technologically-driven phenomenon has significant implications from an institutional perspective. Music is making a difference in hospitals, mental health centers, correctional facilities, schools, special education classrooms, long term care and senior centers. On top of reducing pain and anxiety, board-certified therapists look to music to evoke positive changes in mood and respiration, improve social skills, promote long term memory and solve problems, among other things.

Dr. Chèmali observes that Art and Science have always walked hand in hand, but eventually grew apart because of increasing complexity and demands, resulting in a loss of humanization of science and decreased awareness of the scientific merits of the arts. The Music and Medicine movement brings both fields closer again, requiring greater collaboration between physician-scientists and professional musicians.
Research is booming, which has led, in part, to the creation of the Sentara Music and Medicine Center – one of a select group of prestigious medical institutions employing music to treat patients. Sentara established an international artist-in-residence program to aid in the effort.

“The leaders of our organization have perceived very well the importance of bringing music to our patients at the highest possible artistic level, in order to improve treatment outcome and increase patient satisfaction,” says Dr. Chèmali, who also serves as Medical Director for the Sentara Center for Music and Medicine and previously co-founded the Cleveland Clinic Arts and Medicine Institute. “Our search for high artistic quality necessitated that we acquire the best available musical instruments, hence our choice of Steinway Model D and B pianos.”

The Steinways appear in different Sentara venues, being enjoyed at concerts for hospital patients and the general public, as well as dual purpose lectures/performances for the medical and musical communities.

It’s just what the doctor ordered.

News & Events

Boris Giltburg Wins Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition

Boris GiltburgCopyright: Chris Gloag

Boris Giltburg emerged as the highly acclaimed winner of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition 2013 in Brussels on June 1, 2013. At the end of an excellent final round, in which many outstanding performances by the twelve finalists were heard, he eventually received the Prix de la Reine Fabiola.

The other prize winners were Rémi Geniet (2nd), Mateusz Borowiak (3rd), Stanislav Khristenko (4th), Zhang Zuo (5th) and Andrew Tyson (6th). The six unranked laureates are Tatiana Chernichka, David Fung, Roope Gröndahl, Sean Kennard, Sangyoung Kim and  Yuntian Liu.
 
Steinway & Sons congratulates all finalists. To watch the recorded performances, visit www.cmireb.be.

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​Steinway Artist Feature: National Treasures. Judy Collins and the Steinways She Has Loved

View all Steinway Artist Features »

Judy Collins, one of the most beloved musical artists of the 20th century, is sitting at the piano in her Upper West Side apartment in New York City, where she has lived for more than 43 years.

The piano is a Steinway, an ebony Model M grand, and she’s owned it since 1964. “I’ve written nearly every song I’ve ever recorded on this piano,” she says. “I play it every day. I played it this morning. And it still sounds good, doesn’t it? Listen.” She tickles her fingers across the keys, and, like a bolt of lightning, the extraordinary energy of two legendary American icons—Judy Collins and Steinway & Sons—comes together.

Yes, Ms. Collins. It sounds good.

Steinway Artist Judy Collins Wildflower

The Classical Connection

Though Judy Collins is best known for her enormous contribution to the American folk genre, she began her musical career as a student of classical piano, studying under the famed conductor Antonia Brico, the first woman to conduct a symphony orchestra. At age 13, Collins debuted in Denver as part of a duet performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 10, and it was not until years later—to the chagrin of Brico—that Collins added the guitar to her quiver and began her notable career as a lyricist and folk artist.

“When I was a kid I practiced classical piano all the time,” she remembers. “The practicing kept me out of the chaos that was sometimes around me. I practiced every day then, and I still do today. In fact, if I don’t practice every day, I don’t feel right. It’s like something chemical is off.” She laughs, remembering a funny moment: “I asked my mother once if she ever had to force me to practice piano, and she said no. But she said she did have to force me to wash my hands.”

Collins has always revered Steinway & Sons pianos. As a young girl in Denver, she practiced in a nearby Steinway showroom and in Brico’s studio, a wondrous place filled with Steinway pianos and art depicting great classical artists. The love Collins has for Steinway runs deep, and she remembers that the first thing she did after moving to New York City in the early 1960s was buy her own Steinway, the same Model M she still has today.

The piano has had its own storied life. It, like all Steinway & Sons pianos, was made at the original factory in Queens, but soon departed for a stint at a private residence in Boston before coming back to its native city and finding a permanent home with Collins. She tells a harrowing story of the time she left her apartment for a weekend performance. When a housekeeper entered on Monday, she discovered a massive water leak in the apartment. “There was steam all through the house,” Collins says. “There was water everywhere. It was running down the lid of the piano. It was a horrible thing to see.”

She examined the Steinway’s ruined paint and waterlogged rim. The famed tuner and tone regulator William Hupfer, who toured with Rachmaninoff for 13 years, came to inspect. “It’s wrecked,” Collins told him, heartbroken. “Take it away.”

“It’s not wrecked,” Hupfer said. He had the Steinway transported to the factory in Astoria, where it was painstakingly restored, down to the last drop of paint. Today, Collins says, you’d never know it had been damaged.

She has owned and loved three Steinway pianos in her lifetime, though now she’s down to two: her favored “axe” the Model M, and a vintage 1928 grand that has also been meticulously restored. “I don’t play that one as much,” she admits. “But it’s such a presence here.” At one time she had three Steinways in the apartment. “Hard to believe,” she says, laughing. “But yes, I suppose I did.”

Steinway Artist Judy Collins

From Both Sides Now

Many times, journalists have written that Collins “turned away from classical” to begin her folk career, an assertion she refutes. “I never turned away,” she says. “Classical music has always been the foundation of my career.” Her cat, a blue Persian named Rachmaninoff, may be one testament to this. “I suppose if anything I’ve combined both types of music,” she says, adding that the daily classical piano practice always provided her with the rigor and discipline she needed to commit to an energetic songwriting career.

“It’s not true that I turned from piano to pick up guitar. I played—and I still play—folk songs on the piano.” (Watch this 1987 performance of “Both Sides Now” as just one example.)

Judy Collins might come at her craft from the proverbial both sides—folk and classical—but she has a simple, singular reverence in her heart for her first love: the grand piano.

“I go all over the world, meet many people, see different places, play different songs,” she says. “But I’m always, always near a piano.”

Can’t Miss:  Watch Judy Collins perform “In the Twilight,” a tribute to her late mother, on WNYC Radio’s Spinning On Air program earlier this year.

Steinway Artist Judy Collins Bohemian

About Judy Collins
Judy Collins musical career has spanned more than 50 years. At 13, she made her public debut performing Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos, but it was the music of such artists as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, as well as the traditional songs of the folk revival, that sparked Judy’s love of lyrics, and she soon moved toward folk music. Her rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” on her 1967 album Wildflowers has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Judy’s version of “Send in the Clowns,” a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical “A Little Night Music,” won Song of the Year at the 1975 Grammy Awards. In addition to her own large catalog of recordings, Collins has been instrumental in bringing other singer-songwriters to a wider audience including poet/musician Leonard Cohen and musicians Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman. She is an author, film director, music producer, and social activist. Now in her seventies, she is still writing, performing, and nurturing fresh talent. She plays 80 to100 dates a year around the country. www.judycollins.com

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Steinway Owners’ Magazine: The Van Cliburn at 50

As seen in the Issue One 2013 edition of the Steinway Owners' Magazine.

Van CliburnPhotography: Van Cliburn Foundation, Inc

After Van Cliburn defied the odds and made history at the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958, the founding of a new contest in his native Texas seemed an obvious way to keep the legacy of that moment alive. In 1962 the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was held for the first time, in Fort Worth. Over the years its top prize has been scooped by such artists as Radu Lupu, Steven De Groote, Alexei Sultanov and Olga Kern.

The Cliburn’s half-century anniversary competition begins on 24 May 2013, with prizes to be announced on 9 June. And these days the event is much more than a piano contest. High-profile competitions such as this can become focal points for the entire community within which they take place. Fort Worth is blessed with some superb facilities, but lacks the cultural advantages of New York or San Francisco – so the Cliburn has become a hub of activity at every level. It is a source of local pride, a draw for those eager to offer sponsorship and hospitality and, above all, a feast of great music making for its audience.

Nobuyuki Tsujii Steinway Van CliburnPhotography: Van Cliburn Foundation, Inc

The competition has grown to encompasses an extensive education project, offering after-school piano lessons to local children and a programme entitled Musical Awakenings to introduce classical music to young audiences, presenting live piano recitals for second, third and fourth grade pupils. It has also introduced an Amateur Piano Competition, established in 1999, aiming to show the joys of music as part of everyday life, as well as to uncover some amazing talent in the more unlikely echelons of non-musical professions.

The Cliburn uses Steinway pianos exclusively and has had a special relationship with the firm for some years. Jenn Gordon, Manager of Concert and Artist Activities at Steinway & Sons in New York, explains how it works. “We try to ensure that all of the competition’s piano needs are met, so the competitors who come for this prestigious event are sure to have wonderful, concert prepped instruments ready for them to play,” she says. “We want to see that every competitor can do their job with the right equipment and the greatest ease – it’s hard enough to take part in a competition without having to worry about the piano!

Haochen Zhang Steinway Van CliburnAltre Media

“Steinway provides all technical services: we have technicians on staff who are tuning the pianos regularly, voicing them and working with the competitors on a daily basis to ensure that the piano is just right for them when they’re performing.”

The pianos experience a good deal of wear and tear during such an intense competition. “Having a technician there at all times is essential, to make sure that the instruments are constantly ready to be performed on and to handle the load they go through,” says Gordon. “We send instruments from our Concert and Artist inventory in New York and we have a local dealer in Dallas that’s providing Steinways direct as well. So we’re serving all their needs.”

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The Steinway Chronicle: Institutional News from Steinway & Sons

The Steinway ChronicleThe Steinway Chronicle presents Institutional news from Steinway & Sons. This publication includes in-depth articles with compelling photographs covering Steinway's Institutional customers. If you haven't read the hard copy of the newsletter, read the online version available at the link below.

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Steinway Owners’ Magazine: Tradition Meets Innovation

As seen in the Issue One 2013 edition of the Steinway Owners' Magazine.

Steinway Piano at Imperial HotelNostalgia at 1911 Brasserie in the Imperial Hotel, New Delhi, with its latest addition, a Steinway Model S-155

Steinway dealers around the world are expert at communicating the unique attributes of a Steinway piano, whether it’s to an opulent establishment looking to maintain its traditional grandeur or a forward-thinking school seeking to engage a new group of young musicians. Francesca Twinn talks to two dealers who’ve recently covered both ends of the spectrum

Christmas at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi has always been celebrated with gusto, but last Christmas there was something extra special under the tree: a beautiful mahogany Hamburg Steinway Model S-155 baby grand piano.

The piano was bought through Steinway dealer BX Furtado & Sons of Mumbai, whose manager, Oliver Peters, oversaw the sale. “The Imperial is one of the heritage hotels in the heart of India’s capital,” says Peters. “This hotel also boasts one of only two wooden-floored ballrooms in Delhi, the other being the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s house). Since years gone by they have always had a grand piano in the lobby. This was the first hotel with an artist playing live music every evening.”

1930s Steinway Model SThe Steinway Model S, dating from the 1930s, is the perfect fit for the period feel of Nostalgia at 1911 Brasserie

The Model S was bought for the hotel’s brasserie Nostalgia at 1911, which, according to General Manager Vijay Wanchoo, “promises classic evenings for couples, with live music and European cuisine flambéed at the table”.

The sale of this piano began a year-and-a-half back, when the Imperial’s purchase director Sanjay Verghese was asked to buy a grand piano by the hotel’s owners. But it wasn’t plain sailing. “He had a tough time in selecting a good piano with a limited budget,” recalls Peters. “He asked for quotations from Steinway and two other brands and after going through the quotations he realised the price of a Steinway far exceeded his budget.”

Peters spoke to Verghese and explained to him the Steinway philosophy. “After the discussion he understood what Steinway is about: build the best piano possible, simply the best. The high level of traditional craftsmanship, painstaking attention to detail and premium grade materials used to build every piano in Hamburg impressed him.”

Verghese went back to the owners and explained the Steinway philosophy to them, after which they quickly agreed to increase the budget. “The very next day,” says Peters, “Sanjay Verghese confirmed the order with us.”

The Imperial is the first Indian hotel in recent years to buy a brand new Steinway. The baby grand, at 155cm long, was first introduced in the ’30s, and that alone makes it the perfect choice for the Imperial, which was built in 1931. Upon delivery, the owners’ decision to extend the budget was seen to be a wise one. “It’s purely a masterpiece,” says Wanchoo, “which has been acquired for an extraordinary and international live music experience for enthusiasts. The whole idea is to engage the audience with soulful music while they enjoy a romantic evening at Nostalgia.

“Dealing with Furtados has been wonderful and we at the Imperial take pride in what they have contributed to music in this country. They have been extremely professional but with a personal touch; they believe in handholding the client till the last mile.”

Celebrations have also been taking place at Daynes Music of Midvale, Utah, following the marking of its 150th anniversary in 2012. Fourth generation owner Skip Daynes recounts some of the facts and achievements of his family’s business.

Steinway Dealer Skip DaynesThe forward-thinking Skip Daynes, current owner of Daynes Music, which has been in business for 150 years and started selling Steinway pianos 140 years ago

“Our store started in 1862. My great-grandfather was the founder and his son was appointed the first Tabernacle organist at age 14 and helped install the organ. He was the organist for thirty-three years.”

It was less than a decade later that the longstanding relationship with Steinway & Sons began. “We were appointed a Steinway dealer in 1873. [Co-author of The Official Guide to Steinway Pianos] David Kirkland’s research states that we are the oldest Steinway dealer west of New York State.”

Daynes Music’s longevity can be put down to a forward-thinking attitude that has passed down the generations. “Our company slogan for many years was ‘Everything in Music’. We pioneered radio, TV, stereo, and shipped music all around the world. Nowadays our industry is very specialised,” continues Daynes, who is enthusiastic about the firm evolving as the “new old-school” – embracing technology being key to its continued success.

Daynes has found great success with PNOScan, a method of turning a piano into a digital keyboard. “We have taken this product to the highest level. Daynes is working with international piano competitions, music authors, teachers and cool kids to promote the ability to plug your computer into an acoustic piano and use new programmes that promote Steinway piano sales.

“We have added PNOScan to almost every piano we have sold in the last two years. The word is getting out! Now young teens are bringing in their iPads to plug them into a Steinway.” Daynes gives praise to his Vice President, Kerwin Ipsen, for pioneering this exciting development.

PNOScan Demonstration with Steinway PianoNew computer software PNOScan, demonstrated by 150-year-old Steinway dealership Daynes Music of Utah

It’s not just youngsters who are being won over by the new technology. Daynes tells the story about a couple, Ian and Anette, who came in looking for a used Steinway. “We had a very nice B in the warehouse, with carved legs and sides, made in the 1940s. It had one small crack in the soundboard, with the dark mahogany needing refinishing, action parts and strings. Anette called it a ‘funky’ piano.

“Money was no object but Ian said she couldn’t have it! Too big, needed work etc. The next day I talked him into seeing PNOScan. We pulled up ‘Home Concert Extreme’ and a keyboard appeared on the bottom of the laptop screen showing him in red where to put his finger. The orchestra played until he found the next red marked key. ‘We need this on our Steinway,” he said. Anette looked confused. ‘You know,’ he went on, ‘the one in the warehouse... the funky one.’

A SOUND INVESTMENT

A Steinway & Sons piano isn’t just a beautiful instrument, it is also a shrewd investment. Steinways normally sell on for 85 per cent of the price of a new piano. And because they can last for over 100 years if properly cared for, you could find yourself making your money back in time. That’s why it made sense for the Imperial Hotel, New Delhi, to find the extra budget to buy its new Steinway Model S.
It helps to have a bank that understands the value of art and beauty, such as Swiss private bank Lombard Odier, which manages investments for private and institutional clients and pays particular interest to their long- term ambitions and hopes, from owning an outstanding musical instrument to sponsoring music at the highest level.
With the right planning and advice, that new Steinway need not be a pipe dream.

“We refinished, rebuilt and delivered it to them in their beautiful home. It is a treasure for Ian and a centerpiece for Anette.”

Daynes, who helped launch the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition in 1976 by donating a Steinway piano worth over $50,000 to the winner, is proof that longevity comes from embracing the new, and he is passionate about nurturing young pianists. His latest venture is UPlay, a collaboration with the University of Utah and music software developer ePiano, which takes the form of an online piano lab for elementary schoolchildren. UPlay offers kids who would not normally have the privilege of access to a piano a chance to learn the instrument online.

“Our store is now 150 years old and I am 74. If we do not join our world, we will be left behind,” he says. And then with characteristic determination he proclaims, “We will not be left behind!”

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Steinway & Sons Record Label releases “A Grand Romance”

The latest Steinway & Sons release evokes a golden era of the piano virtuoso—a sonic splendor with impeccable musicianship from Steinway Artist Jeffrey Biegel

Grand Romance Jeffrey Biegel

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (May 7, 2013) – Steinway & Sons Record Label releases pianist Jeffrey Biegel’s new album A Grand Romance on May 7, 2013. This recording celebrates the intimacy of the relationship between pianist and public, from the early romantic blush of the 1830s through the 20th century, with a sampling of miniatures proper to recital hall, salon or parlor: diminutive études and atmospheric morceaux caractéristiques, novelty items and technical dazzlers.

A Grand Romance features musical miniatures penned by accomplished keyboardists and composers such as Moszkowski, Schütt, Bortkiewicz, Paderewski, and Rubinstein, among many others. These works wooed Western audiences into a new era of fiery emotive expression and Jeffrey Biegel takes on these transformative works with seemingly effortless bravura.
 
Moritz Moszkowski’s Caprice espagnol, Étincelles, and La Jongleuse are presented here, in all of their pictorial glory. Étincelles, or “Sparks,” is a work of perpetual motion, an unbroken swirl of combustibility that nods to its own title. Henselt’s “Si oiseau j’étais, à toi je volerais” revels in a breezy flutter, and his Petit Valse No. 1, written 15 years later is a paradigm of simply elegant salon music. Schulz-Evler’s intricate embellishments on Johann Strauss’s By the Beautiful Danube offer players a chance to dazzle and delight in the luxuriant melodies and luscious sounds.

This album paints across the 19th and early 20th centuries and Biegel provides a Josef Lhévinne style salon performance. He plucks these works carefully and offers them as gifts, perfectly wrapped for our enjoyment.

Jeffrey Biegel’s recent recordings include the 2011 bestselling A Steinway Christmas Album as well as the debut Steinway & Sons label release, Bach On A Steinway. He has also recorded Leroy Anderson’s Concerto in C, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Millennium Fantasy and Peanuts Gallery, and a solo Vivaldi disc for Naxos. His recording of the complete piano sonatas of Mozart was released by E1. In 2010, he performed world premieres of Richard Danielpour’s Mirrors for Piano and Orchestra, and William Bolcom’s Prometheus for Piano, Orchestra and Chorus. He has premiered new works and arrangements with the Boston Pops, New York Pops, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, as well as the symphony orchestras of Minnesota, Indianapolis, and Harrisburg, among others. Mr. Biegel is currently on the piano faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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The Steinway Action: A Record of its History and Lesson on Design

Steinway Piano Action

One Day in 1932 Josef Hofmann, who had already spoken of the Steinway piano's 'extraordinary perfection of action,' came to Steinway Hall and said, 'It isn't quick enough: can't you make it still more sensitive, still more responsive? – “Commentary on the New Steinway Accelerated Action.” Presto-Times, Nov. – Dec. 1934

Steinway Action Commentary 1934Commentary on the New Steinway Accelerated Action. Preso-Times Nov.-Dec.1934 Read the Full Article (1 MB)

Hofmann's challenge was the impetus to Steinway becoming the most responsive and sensitive of any piano made. Frederick Vietor, grandnephew to C. F. Theodore Steinway, fulfilled Hofmann’s request by creating the Steinway Accelerated Action®; enhancing the Steinway action to respond to the touch instead of being forced into action. Today, the Accelerated Action is found on all American-made Steinway pianos.

Laboratory tests have proven that the keys on a Steinway piano can repeat 13% more quickly than any other piano. The same features that allow for this faster repeat also provide a much more sensitive, responsive keyboard, an aspect that can be appreciated even by beginning pianists.

The Design Elements of the Accelerated Action

Steinway Balanced Rail Bearing Illustration"Original illustration from the patent of Oct. 13, 1931. Figure 2 represents a detail view of the balance rail bearing." Read the Full Article (5.6 MB)

1) Balanced Rail Bearing

The balance rail bearing, as you can see in the illustration taken from the 1931 patent, is a rounded felt-covered piece of maple, which serves as the fulcrum on which the key pivots. Only Steinway incorporates a rounded surface; other brands have flat rail bearings.

Why is a Rounded Surface Important?
Scenario 1: Imagine a long plank balanced on a flat piano bench. It's easy to place the plank so that it balances. The plank can be moved slightly one way or the other without either end touching the ground.

If you place your hand on one end and press very lightly, the plank might bend a little but the other end will not move. As you gradually press harder, the other end of the plank will eventually move, but only after you have applied considerable pressure.

Scenario 2: Now imagine the same situation but with a round surface on top of the flat bench. In this case the plank moves easily (friction free), and it is somewhat difficult to balance; once balanced, pressure on either end will cause the opposite end to move.

This principle underlies every Steinway action. The benefit is that the Steinway keys move friction free on the rounded balance rails making for the most responsive action possible.

Steinway Patent Illustration 1931"Original illustration from the patent of Oct. 13, 1931." Read the Full Article (5.6 MB)

 2) Weighted Keys

The second distinguishing factor in the touch is the weighting of the keys: Larger weights are placed closer to the balance rail bearing, causing the keys to return faster.

So why doesn't every piano manufacturer incorporate these features? In one word: Time. Every key found on Steinway pianos is individually weighed off - a remarkably time consuming process.

Because the Steinway action has a much more sensitive fulcrum than actions of other pianos, all other action-related regulation is also more sensitive. The sensitive fulcrum of a Steinway action increases the complexity of all parts of the action.

Steinway, of course, is happy to put in the extra work, especially when the result is the most responsive piano action in the world. As the founding credo states "Build the best piano possible."

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Steinway Owners’ Magazine: Troubled Waters

As seen in the Issue One 2013 edition of the Steinway Owners' Magazine.

Pianos and water don’t mix. Or they shouldn’t. When they do come together, the effects can be disastrous. Inge Kjemtrup assesses the damage and finds out how you can protect your piano from the demon damp

Last October, Hurricane Sandy left a huge swath of devastation across the Caribbean and on America’s Eastern Seaboard. Houses were torn apart, trees ripped from their roots, streets flooded and parts of the New York subway were submerged in water. One memorable image of Manhattan showed almost all of the lower part of the island in darkness due to electrical outage. The loss of lives and property (the initial estimate for the US alone was $65.6 billion) from this storm is still being evaluated.

Split legs can be replaced

Bill Youse, Director, Technical Services and Special Projects for Steinway & Sons New York, witnessed some of the effects that a sudden influx of water has on pianos. “We have repaired several Steinways that were damaged by Sandy,” he says. “Most received minor damage and we replaced legs, pedals and pedal lyres. They had been in just a few inches of water and were removed very quickly so the damage was minimal. Two or three will need complete restoration and one was beyond repair.”

The circumstance that made that particular piano irreparable was pretty extreme. “The customer explained that the piano had been ‘hit by a boat that had crashed into and floated through his living room,’” says Youse.

David R Kirkland, Customer Service Administrator for Steinway & Sons New York, cites natural disasters such as Sandy, plumbing mishaps, leaking roofs and fire sprinkler systems as the leading causes of water damage. “Water damage can also occur when water is used by fire-fighters to extinguish a fire,” he adds. “There is also humidity damage, which can occur when a piano is exposed to tropical levels of humidity in excess of 75 per cent RH [relative humidity].”

Corrosion of the strings may be cosmetic and easily removed but if it’s severe there is a danger that the strings could break

Whether a piano can be restored after water damage depends on a number of factors, as Youse explains. “How much water, what type of water (fresh or salt) and where the water came from (above, below, steam or high humidity) can be sometimes just as important has long exposure to water.”

Stabilization is the name of the game. “The effects can take a while to manifest,” says David Widdicombe, Technical Services Manager, Steinway & Sons London. “We generally want the piano to dry naturally and be stabilized, and then we take a decision about what to do. It’s important for pianos to dry out slowly.” Kirkland suggests a drying period of three to six months before an assessment can be made.

Once water gets into the piano it can compromise many components, including metal parts, felt bushings and, most serious of all, the soundboard

“We have to preserve our reputation for quality, so we can’t take shortcuts,” says Widdicombe of the Steinway repairs process. This means that even a piano with a few damaged hammers might have to have all its hammers replaced. Happily, with a fine piano like a Steinway, even a seemingly expensive repair may balance out against replacement value.

Once stabilized, a piano must be closely inspected, ideally at the piano workshop rather than in situ, and it will be scrutinized from top to bottom. “The way the keyboard fits to the keybed has to be fairly precise,” Widdicombe says, “and the keybed needs to be flat and not warped.” A compromised keyboard can be replaced, but keybed damage can contribute to a piano being beyond repair.

A warped keybed or soundboard can lead to a piano being beyond repair

“Mould and mildew can affect all of the wooden parts and can attack the felt on the hammers, changing their texture and thus the tonal qualities of the piano,” says Youse. “It could change the feel by attacking felt bushings throughout the action and pedal assemblies. Some of the chemicals to treat mould and mildew can cause damage of their own, so the best treatment is usually replacement of the affected parts.”

Minor rust is a cosmetic issue and can often be removed but, says Widdicombe, “bad corrosion can cause breaking strings. If strings are rusty as the result of water dripping, we advise replacement. The condition of the soundboard in this respect is also important.”

Severe corrosion to strings and other metal parts

Pianos with modern polyester finishes are generally more water resistant, which is helpful against smaller-scale damage like drips from ceilings. But on grand pianos, the finish is almost irrelevant, as the hinge that opens the music stand is not watertight. “We have a piano where that happened – enough water on top of the piano got through and damaged the action,” says Widdicombe. “Funnily enough, the finish was not damaged. It was satin and could be fixed.”

HUMIDITY AND YOUR PIANO
Recommendations from Steinway & Sons

1. Buy a hygrometer for the room where your piano is located. You can buy a decent hygrometer for $30 to $40 at wine shops, hardware stores and technical equipment stores. This will give you an indication of the amount of moisture in the air.
2. Monitor the hygrometer to determine the highs and lows of humidity for your particular piano environment. According to established, institutional guidelines for piano maintenance, a humidity fluctuation range in excess of 30 points on the relative humidity (RH) scale is excessive for the piano. The result would be tuning instability, possible cracking of the soundboard, eventually loose tuning pins and sluggish or loose pivot points in the keys or action of the piano. Forty-five to 50 per cent RH is the optimum range for Steinway pianos.
3. Steinway & Sons recommends the use of climate control measures or a room humidifier as necessary during dry seasons. Whatever measures are used, the essential principle is to maintain as narrow a range of humidity fluctuation as possible and to safeguard the piano from sudden or drastic extremes of humidity fluctuation.
4. Treatment of mould or mildew requires professional attention, possibly restoration or replacement of parts, and relocation of the piano to a more suitable environment.

Steinway piano owners can only do so much to protect against extreme environmental events like Hurricane Sandy, but they can safeguard against humidity fluctuations through the regular use of a hygrometer to monitor relative humidity (see box). If needed, a humidifier or a dehumidifier or air conditioner can be added to control the overall environment in the piano room.

Widdicombe advises buying a room humidifier that has an outlet that goes to the outside rather than a built-in reservoir. He cites the case of a client whose dehumidifier was working just fine to keep the room stable – until he went away on holiday and the reservoir filled up and the dehumidifier stopped working.

Youse has a final warning for any rock stars contemplating pushing their piano into the pool. “We restore pianos from all over the world, so I see many different types of damage from many different types of environmental situations and I have seen many pianos that were beyond recovery,” he says. “Many people may not know this, but when a piano is submerged to the point where it floats (yes, pianos do float, albeit for a very short period of time) they flip over on their tops. Once you see that, the piano is pretty much unsalvageable.”

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American Pianists Association Names Sean Chen Winner of Its 2013 Classical Fellowship

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Steinway Featured in Live Webcast of American Pianists Association Competition


LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (April 17, 2013) – This weekend, Steinway & Sons is proud to join music lovers around the world in watching live webcasts of The Gala Finals of the American Pianists Association (APA)’s yearlong competition, the 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards.

The gripping final two “Discovery Week” concerts will be held on April 19 and 20 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at the Hilbert Circle Theater in downtown Indianapolis, IN, and webcast live at www.americanpianists.org/media/live.

After concerto performances on Steinway & Sons grand pianos by the five finalists (Sean Chen, Sara Daneshpour, Claire Huangci, Andrew Staupe, and Eric Zuber) with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Gerard Schwarz, the APA will name the 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow, which is one of the piano world’s most substantial prizes, valued at more than $100,000. As part of the Fellowship award, the winner will issue a solo recording on the Steinway & Sons record label for distribution by ArkivMusic. Former U.S. Secretary of State and noted amateur pianist Condoleezza Rice is the Honorary Chair of the APA’s Classical Fellowship Awards, and she will welcome the Finalists and the audience via video each evening.

The schedule for streaming webcasts of the American Pianists Association’s Gala Finals is as follows:

Friday, April 19, 2013, 8pm EDT

  • Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra/Gerard Schwarz
  • Sara Daneshpour – Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor
  • Claire Huangci – Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major
  • Eric Zuber – Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor


Saturday, April 20, 2013, 8pm EDT

  • Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra/Gerard Schwarz
  • Sean Chen – Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major
  • Andrew Staupe – Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor
  • Naming of winner: 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow of the American Pianists Association

All performances will be broadcast live at www.americanpianists.org/media/live. They will also be available for on-demand viewing for a limited period following the competition.

“This is absolutely a can’t-miss event for any classical music lover and any admirer of Steinway & Sons pianos,” said Ron Losby, President, Steinway & Sons – Americas. “With the live webcast, we have the opportunity to see and hear live performances of some of the greatest young classical pianists in the world as they compete for one of music’s most revered fellowships. The competition will be fierce. It promises to be very exciting.”

About the American Pianists Association Fellowship
Recognized by the New York Times for offering “profound early-career assistance” to world-class American classical and jazz pianists, the American Pianists Association has been showcasing the five Finalists for its Classical Fellowship Awards throughout the 2012-13 season. The APA’s Fellowship offers one of the piano world’s most substantial prizes, valued at more than $100,000 – including a $50,000 cash award and two years of career assistance and performances. Performance opportunities during the Fellowship period involve solo recitals, as well as appearances with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and Tucson. Previous winners have been presented at the Kennedy Center, Phillips Collection, Dame Myra Hess Series, and Chopin Foundation of America, as well as various recital series nationwide and on tours overseas. For more information, visit www.americanpianists.org or watch www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcbd-a0Auck&feature=youtu.be

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Steinway Owners’ Magazine: Hidden Britten

As seen in the Issue One 2013 edition of the Steinway Owners' Magazine.

As the world marks the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, some well deserved light will fall on his piano works. Though largely overlooked beside his orchestral and operatic compositions, there are some gems among this relatively tiny aspect of his output, as Jessica Duchen reveals

Left: Benjamin Britten in 1948, the year he launched the Aldeburgh Festival
Below: Britten in 1962 with his partner, the tenor Peter Pears

Photography: Getty Images

Benjamin Britten’s prowess as a pianist has long been overshadowed by his repute as a composer. He is in good company, of course. Over the centuries, many of the finest composers have been equally adept at the keyboard, among them Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Where Britten differs, though, is that despite his outstanding playing, he wrote remarkably little for the instrument. It’s a typically Brittenesque paradox, perhaps; one that reflects his own inner conflicts; yet it also tells us much about his taste for discovering different musical colors.

Britten’s piano output is tiny: just a handful of solo works composed between 1923 and 1940, two pieces for two pianos, one early Piano Concerto, Diversions, for piano left hand and orchestra, the brief but stirring ‘fanfare’ Young Apollo for piano and orchestra and the short solo Night Piece, commissioned by the first Leeds International Piano Competition in 1963. Otherwise, he usually relegates the instrument, when he uses it at all, to a strangely self-effacing role.

Britten himself was a natural pianist – even if he didn’t always think so. Faced with an unsympathetic teacher at Gresham, the boarding school he attended, he was told that his hopes of becoming a musician were unfounded; fortunately, he took no notice, and was happy to hurry off to the great Harold Samuel for occasional lessons instead. Ultimately the school praised his pianistic gifts, but the Royal College of Music, where his piano teacher was Arthur Benjamin, did not. The institution failed to encourage him towards a pianistic career, beyond wondering how he was going to earn a living. “Lor’, I’m bad at the piano,” the student reflected.

Britten and Pears with their friend and collaborator Imogen Holst in the garden at Aldeburgh in 1955. Holst, the daughter of Gustav Holst, worked at Aldeburgh for twelve years
Photography: Getty Images

His sense of frustration over his own playing persisted into his early professional life as a jobbing musician, composing scores for film and radio broadcasts. Perhaps he was being too severe on himself. When he met his lifelong partner, the tenor Peter Pears, in 1937 and began to accompany him, the singer was struck by “an extraordinary connection between his brain and his heart and the tips of his fingers. You could watch Ben holding his hands over the piano preparatory to playing a slow movement, a soft, soft chord, and you could see his fingers alert, alive, really sometimes even quivering with the intensity of what was going to occur.”

Exceptional sensitivity shines out of Britten’s recordings as accompanist to Pears, especially in the music of Schubert. “He used to accompany songs by Schubert,” wrote Imogen Holst, “with such intimate concern that the music sounded as if it were his own.”

Perhaps the key to Britten’s attitude towards the piano was its role as foil to the human voice. In recordings of his playing you can hear the vocal quality of his phrasing, a rounded, expressive touch and an unerring instinct for the right balance of interaction with his musical collaborators; this can be no coincidence. After he met Pears, the instrument seems to have settled into its natural place in his mind and his creativity.

Barry Douglas, one of all too few pianists who have championed Britten’s Piano Concerto, regards him as “a born pianist, as well as a born composer, conductor, collaborator and educator”. Douglas’ teacher, the late Maria Curcio, knew Britten and Pears well and, he recounts, used to stay often at their house in Aldeburgh. “She told me that she was lucky enough to see the interactions between Britten and people like Sviatoslav Richter, as well as watching Britten and Pears rehearsing,” he says, “and she thought he had a completely natural gift for the piano. He was able to have a musical thought and it happened perfectly every time at the instrument – he didn’t have to work at it. His playing sounds beautiful, natural, right, wholesome and sincere. There’s not a drop of egotism in it. It’s all about the music – and that’s rare.”

Britten listens to a point being made by his friend and fan Sviatoslav Richter in 1968
Photography: Brian See
Rehearsing his Cello Sonata with Mstislav Rostropovich at Aldeburgh in 1961
Photography: Lebrecht Music & Arts

That sincerity would have been appreciated by many of his collaborators, not least Sir Clifford Curzon, with whom Britten sometimes gave performances of his (and others’) works for two pianos. But nerves, unfortunately, are often the downside of sensitivity. Though reasonably confident as a performer at first, Britten seems to have suffered appallingly from nerves later on; something that the harpsichordist and conductor George Malcolm judged might have been the result of him being “an instinctive rather than a scientific pianist”.

It is interesting that later, especially at the Aldeburgh Festival, Britten would appear at the piano as chamber musician or as soloist in a Mozart piano concerto, but rarely alone; his first preference was to join forces with other musicians. And it was in these situations he met his greatest triumphs as a performer – for instance, with the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich at Aldeburgh in the 1960s.

Britten shows his delicate touch during rehearsal of his opera The Rape Of Lucretia at Glyndebourne in 1946
Photography: Getty Images

The Piano Concerto, the most substantial and prominent of his works for the instrument, dates from 1938, when Britten was all of 25, and was finished just in time for its first rehearsal at the Proms. The composer was himself the soloist (“The piano part wasn’t as impossible to play as I feared,” he told his publisher). It is much of its era, at times echoing the insouciant brilliance of Ravel, Poulenc or Prokofiev. It opens with a dizzying toccata and proceeds through a waltz, an intermezzo – a late addition in 1945, replacing a recitative and aria – and, to close, a march that sometimes seems a cousin to Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges. Britten described the piece as “simple and direct in form” and he hoped that it would be popular as “a bravura Concerto with orchestral accompaniment”.

Perhaps he was underselling his own gifts. Some of Britten’s friends felt that he had concentrated on brilliance at the expense of originality. And even today the work is not performed nearly as much as it deserves. The intermezzo – a passacaglia – is its most recognizably Brittenesque movement: here, the acidic harmonies and shadowy coloration are clearly from the same world as Peter Grimes, with which this section is contemporaneous.

“The whole piece is halfway between a concerto and a divertissement of four character movements,” suggests the Scottish pianist Steven Osborne, who has performed and recorded the work and will play it a number of times in a variety of countries during this year’s Britten centenary celebrations. “In particular, the nature of the last movement is very difficult to define – I had to work very hard to get a really convincing character into it.”

Reflecting on why the concerto is not programmed more frequently, Douglas suggests, “It has all the elements necessary for a popular piece, but maybe it needs more of the bigger themes, something into which newcomers can get their teeth. Maybe it’s too ironical; because he’s so over-the-top bombastic, especially at the end, somehow people are wondering if this is the real Britten. He’s poking fun all the time: you might wonder if we can take it seriously.” But he adds that the somberness of the passacaglia “underpins the work”, a valuable counterbalance to the irony.

Britten the composer, hard at work at the Old Mill, Snape, in 1946
Photography: Getty Images
Peter Pears in the role of Peter Grimes, Britten’s great opera set on the coast of his native Suffolk, which debuted at Sadler’s Wells in 1945
Photography: Getty Images

“It’s really fun to play and it’s obviously fun for the audience. People respond very well to it,” says Osborne. “In terms of writing for the piano, though, I’m guessing that perhaps Britten was a little inhibited by his own facility. You can enjoy the physical aspects of the virtuosity, but perhaps it almost made it difficult for him to think musically. I think maybe his imagination was freer when he wasn’t writing for an instrument with which he had such a strong personal connection.

“He didn’t write much dark music for piano, which is interesting: I wonder if there’s something about the piano for him that lay in a particular emotional realm, relatively light and brilliant.”

Britten followed the Concerto with Young Apollo, a ‘fanfare’ for piano and orchestra commissioned by CBC and first performed in Toronto, not long after he and Pears headed to North America in 1938. During their American years he also wrote Scottish Ballad for two pianos and orchestra, a medley of traditional tunes and, in 1940, Diversions, for piano left hand and orchestra. This latter work was for Paul Wittgenstein, the pianist who, having lost his right arm in World War I, also commissioned left hand works from such luminaries as Prokofiev, Ravel, Strauss, Hindemith and Korngold. “Not deep,” Britten said of the work, “but quite pretty.”

But why so little solo piano music, even though his friend Richter would have loved him to write some more? The explanation could derive from Britten’s own complex relationship with the instrument as a player; or it could be the fact that, despite his facility, he simply preferred other timbres. Interviewed in 1962, he explained, “I like the piano very much as a background instrument, but I don’t feel inclined to treat it as a melodic instrument. I find that it’s limited in color. I don’t really like the sound of a modern piano.”

Britten the conductor in 1965, the same year he was awarded the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II

Still, Benjamin Grosvenor, who performed the Britten Concerto at the Proms in 2011 when he was just 19 and has also played it this year at the Barbican, casts intriguing perspective on Britten’s canny use of pianistic color. “He understood the piano and what could be achieved with it – e.g., in the first movement cadenza,” he says, “but also, importantly, how it would sound in context. The full effect of the keyboard writing is only realized when you hear it with the orchestra, and hear the textures that result.”

One last image of Britten at the piano lingers. At the end of World War II he accompanied Yehudi Menuhin on a visit to Bergen-Belsen after the concentration camp’s liberation. The cellist Anita Lasker, a survivor of its horrors, was present at the performance, though did not know at the time who the pianist was. “Somehow one never noticed that there was any accompanying going on at all,” she wrote, “and yet I had to stare at this man like one transfixed as he sat seemingly suspended between chair and keyboard, playing so beautifully.”

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MyLITV: Get an In-Depth Look at What it Takes to Make a Steinway Piano

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MyLITV: Learn the Grand History of Steinway & Sons

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Artist Features

Steinway Pianos and the Artists that Love Them

Steinway Artist Feature articles are regularly published stories about Steinway Artists from all genres of music who have one very important thing in common – a love of Steinway pianos. These articles feature original content that you will only find on the Steinway & Sons website.

The love of our pianos and their musical craft comes through in these intimate profiles of great pianists who put their music and their craft above all else.

Check back regularly for the newest Steinway Artist Feature article or follow us on Facebook or Twitter, where new stories are regularly posted.

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When sibling sensations The 5 Browns perform, the physical spectacle is already arresting. Picture it: five Steinway concert grand pianos, five strikingly charismatic performers, five distinct... More »
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Steinway & Sons Releases Augmented Reality App for iPad and iPhone

S, M or even better a D?
Find your perfect piano with the new Steinway app.

For many piano lovers, a Steinway is the instrument of their dreams. Those toying with the idea of fulfilling this dream, but are not quite sure which grand or upright piano would fit best in their home, now have the opportunity to find out in an innovative and effective way.

With the new Steinway Augmented Reality App, you can now display the entire range of Steinway & Sons models in their actual size — seven grand pianos, from a Model S baby grand through a Model D concert grand, and two upright piano models, V-125 and K-132 (K-52 in Americas) — and see which instrument will be the best choice for your home.

Steinway Augmented Reality App

The app is quite easy to use. After downloading the free Steinway Augmented Reality App from the App Store, direct the camera of your iPad or iPhone to the desired place and select a grand or upright piano from the on-screen menu. You will be able to see, model by model, which instrument is most visually and spatially suitable. The 3D visualization allows you to rotate and move the piano, viewing it from various perspectives, until the perfect position is found. With the screenshot function, you can easily save your favorite piano positions in your photo archive and share these images with your family and friends. In addition, the authorized Steinway dealer in your area can get a first impression of your home, and your desired instrument, and give you personalized advice from the very beginning.

The new Steinway Augmented Reality App for iPad and iPhone is now available for free in the App Store.

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Steinway Owners’ Magazine: The Competitive Edge

As seen in the Issue One 2013 edition of the Steinway Owners' Magazine.

As 2013 throws the spotlight once again on some of the world’s most prestigious international piano competitions, Jessica Duchen examines the benefits of these contests for aspiring pianists, and records the testimony of three notable prize winners

Van Cliburn and the Competitive EdgeVan Cliburn bridges the gap between east and west in 1958, winning the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow against the backdrop of the Cold War
Photography: Alamy

Winning a prize in an international competition is a milestone virtually expected of most emerging concert pianists. Throughout the past century, competition triumphs have provided stepping stones to fame, with some passing into the realms of legend: Murray Perahia at the 1972 Leeds International Piano Competition, Martha Argerich at the Chopin International Competition in Warsaw, 1965, and Krystian Zimerman, also at Warsaw, ten years later, to name but three. The greatest drama of all took place at the height of the Cold War, when Van Cliburn, a young American pianist, won the 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow against all political odds. The US welcomed him home as a national hero.

In the past twenty years, though, the role of competitions has undergone a sideways shift. There are now so many that the sheer number of winners is often thought to have ‘devalued the currency’ to some degree. Meanwhile, coverage of classical music in the mainstream media has reduced to such an extent that public awareness of competitions has inevitably lessened too. Yet there’s no doubt that when a buzz spreads about an exciting winner, it can still change that musician’s life. Nor are the benefits limited to the person who takes first prize: from the chance to be heard and noticed to the personal boost of confidence that a prize can bestow, taking part is a potentially invaluable process for any young performer.

Behzod AbduraimovBehzod Abduraimov has enjoyed numerous benefits since winning the London International Piano Competition in 2009, including signing a record deal with Decca (below)
Photography: Ben Ealovega

Behzod Abduraimov from Uzbekistan was the winner in 2009 of the London International Piano Competition (LIPC). The event kickstarted his career and he has continued to build on the momentum it generated. His recent recital at London’s Southbank Centre sent the audience into ecstasies, the Sunday Times hailing his performance as “pure genius”.

“The atmosphere at the competition was quite intense, with four rounds consisting of solo and concerto works,” remembers Adburaimov, who is now 22. “I think competitions like this always present an opportunity to be heard, and winning one could lead to a successful career.

“I started to take part in international competitions at the age of nine, but LIPC was my first major international competition. It was definitely exciting to play in London and to have a chance to perform with the London Philharmonic in the final round. Obviously I was very happy to be a winner of the LIPC, since it was my first experience participating in such an important event, but I also realise that I was quite lucky to achieve this as well.

Behzod Abduraimov and Decca Photography: Decca

“Following the competition, I was heard by different management agencies and I had the opportunity to sign with Harrison Parrott and subsequently got an exclusive recording contract with Decca. Since then I’ve collaborated with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Charles Dutoit and Pinchas Zuckerman. I also released my first disc for Decca. Now I’m looking forward to a number of debuts and recording my second CD.”

Often the crucial matter is not the prize itself, but the platform on which to be noticed. In 1974, Janina Fialkowska, a Canadian pianist and Steinway Artist of Polish background, took third prize in the inaugural Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv. It changed her life for an extraordinary reason. “My friend Emanuel Ax got first prize,” she says, “but I got Rubinstein.”

Janina Fialkowska and RubinsteinAbove: Janina Fialkowska enjoys the support of Arthur Rubinstein in taking third prize in 1974
Right: Steinway Artist Fialkowska puts her successful career down to the kickstart Rubinstein gave her as a result of taking part in his piano competition

Photography: Julien Faugère / ATMA
Steinway Artist Janina Fialkowska

Rubinstein himself was then in his late eighties, but still performing and a hugely influential figure. “I wanted to be a musician but I had no backing from home and I had enrolled in law school,” Fialkowska relates. “I only entered the competition because Canadian Radio – the French branch of the CBC – believed in me and sent me there.” After the second round, Rubinstein came up to her and told her how much he had enjoyed her playing. “He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to make sure you have a career.’”

He was true to his word. The following season, he stipulated that whichever concert engagement he received, she would also be given. “My whole career since then has been based on those concerts,” she says. “It was a real case of deus ex machina, and it could only have happened at a competition.” Fialkowska adds that she now takes pains to help young musicians whose playing she likes when she is a juror herself.

William Kappell Competition WinnersAnthony HewittTop: Anthony Hewitt (on the left) with fellow prizewinners and juror Seymour Lipkin at the 1992 William Kappell Competition
Above: Hewitt sees his prize as a “great calling card” and a “huge morale boost”, but warns against competition overkill

The British pianist Anthony Hewitt was joint winner of the top prize in the William Kapell Competition in 1992. His view of such events is pragmatic, personal and down-to-earth. “Most competitions provide exposure and a prize is a great calling card,” he says. “This prize, first of all, gave me a considerable amount of money, which was good for my independence and confidence, and it gave me some concerts as well – I was able play in some amazing places, like the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. It was a huge morale boost for me because the competition’s standard was as high as you’d find anywhere in the world and I’d never expected to get anywhere in it. I enjoyed the earlier rounds and the adrenalin, but for the finals there’s an additional pressure from having done well. It’s like tennis, when you’re serving the last game to win Wimbledon!”

What is his advice to today’s young pianists approaching these events? “I think it can be a mistake to do too many competitions because it can become like a career in itself,” he points out. “There should be an aim beyond. I know from having sat on juries myself that it’s much more important to have something to say and to have conviction in your musical ideas – not just to play with the jury in mind, being ‘correct’ technically and musically. Above all, don’t put too much importance on it. Competitions are good for learning repertoire and it’s a platform for you to perform, but it shouldn’t be an end in itself. If you’ve practised enough and you feel confident, just get on stage and play your heart out.”

The piano on which contestants compete can make a world of difference. “A great piano takes away a huge level of stress, particularly if you have a choice of instrument,” Fialkowska says. Hewitt agrees. “It makes a huge difference, a new piano with reliable action, and Steinways are known for that. You usually do have a choice of pianos at competitions and I’ve generally chosen a Steinway. There’s a quality of luxury in the sound of a Steinway – its resonance and beauty is a living, breathing thing and the sustained tone seems to go on forever.”

2013 Competition Calendar

Hilton Head International Young Artists Piano Competition
4-9 March, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Virginia Waring International Piano Competition
24 March-1 April, Palm Desert, California

Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition
6 May-1 June, Brussels

Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
24 May-9 June, Fort worth, Texas

Top of the World
16-21 June, Tromsø

Cleveland International Piano Competition
30 July-11 August, Cleveland, Ohio

Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition
21-30 August (TBC), Bolzano

ARD International Music Competition
2-20 September, Munich (for piano trio)

What next, though, for the world of piano competitions and their winners? Inventing or harnessing new ways of disseminating information and performances to a wider audience – especially streaming on the Internet – will prove crucial to most competitions’ repute in the future, and here the potential for exciting development remains unlimited. It is already beginning to make a major difference not only to the number of music lovers the contests reach, but also to the way they can be entered and judged.

In the end, though, each musician has to carve out his or her individual niche in the musical world. A competition win can provide advantages of many different types, from morale to experience, from prize money to record contracts – but for the pianists themselves, that is just the beginning. Hewitt, who studied in the US with Leon Fleisher, returned to Britain after his competition win and today divides his time between solo performance, chamber music, teaching and running his own music festival at Ulverston in the Lake District. Fialkowska enjoyed international celebrity and made numerous acclaimed recordings before being stricken with cancer in her shoulder ten years ago; since then she has reinvented her musical approach and rebuilt her career. Today Abduraimov is well on the way towards international stardom and, with luck, he will enjoy a brilliant future.

Pianists take note: a prize can kickstart a career, but after that, it is up to you.

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Owners’ Magazine

Steinway Owners' Magazine

Steinway & Sons is a company constantly striving for perfection when it comes to its customers. With an audience that has a unique love for music and the Steinway brand, the Steinway Owners’ Magazine was launched to provide insightful and enjoyable reading to our valued owners. Now the magazine, in digital format, is available to everyone so that we can share the in-depth profiles of Steinway celebrity owners, exclusive interviews with Steinway Artists, and insightful features about many music- and piano-related topics and personalities with a wider audience, including those that wish to one day join the Steinway Family. The magazine is published twice per year (Issue One in winter, Issue Two in summer) and is still available in beautiful, glossy printed layout to Steinway Owners. If you don’t currently receive the magazine as a hard copy and would like to, please contact your area’s exclusive Steinway Dealer.

The Steinway Owners’ Magazine is published by Faircount Media Group.

Steinway & Sons Owners' Magazine Issue Two 2012

Winter 2013/14

Highlights from this Issue:
Steinway at 160 - The story of Steinway
My First Steinway - Four leading pianists recall those special moments - encountering their first significant Steinways
Design as Choreography - The making of a new limited edition, the Arabesque
Steinway Artists - Rufus Wainwright, Carter Burwell, Cy Coleman, Mitsuko Uchida, and David Greilsammer come under the spotlight
Read This Issue »

Steinway & Sons Owners' Magazine Issue One 2013

Issue One 2013

Highlights from this Issue:
Steinway news - New Steinway Artists, Lin records Broadway classics, Steinway employee celebrates 50 years, Lang Lang at 30
Hidden Britten - Turning the spotlight on Benjamin Britten as pianist and his sparse and largely overlooked piano compositions
Competitive edge - Prize winners from different generations recall their competition experiences and the effect they had on their careers as professional pianists
Troubled waters - Hurricane damage, leaking pipes or just too much humidity – what can you do when moisture gets a grip on your prized piano?
Read This Issue »

Steinway & Sons Owners' Magazine Issue Two 2012

Issue Two 2012

Highlights from this Issue:
Steinway news - Astanova makes Carnegie Hall debut, two firsts for Steinway Hall and Gyorgy kicks off Euro 2012
States expectations - A bicentenary tale of Charles Dickens, his American tours and the Steinway & Sons connection
Leeds by example - How a teacher from Yorkshire put her home town on the international piano competition map
Holiest of holeys - A centenary tribute to composer Conlon Nancarrow, pioneer of the Pianola and revolutionary in every sense
Read This Issue »

Steinway & Sons Owners' Magazine Issue One 2012

Issue One 2012

Highlights from this Issue:
Steinway news - Anderson & Roe release on Steinway label, honours for Fleisher and Barenboim and Hautzig’s 90th birthday
Foreword movements - Two composers with very different reputations but a shared passion for innovation are celebrated in 2012
The sounds of silence - How John Cage’s 4’33” and other controversial pieces forced the music world to rethink its rules
The legend of Arthur - Arthur Rubinstein’s life and career is an inspirational story
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Carnegie Hall Congratulates Steinway & Sons on 160th Anniversary

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Steinway to Mark 160th Anniversary with Events, Celebrations

Steinway 160th Anniversary

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (March 5, 2013) – Steinway & Sons today celebrates the 160th Anniversary of its founding in 1853. To commemorate this milestone, the company will hold celebrations during the month of March at dealer locations throughout the United States as well as other special events over the course of the year. The dealer events will include performances by Steinway Artists, cocktail receptions, screenings of the award-winning Steinway documentary Note by Note and special “Secrets of Steinway” presentations, where guests will learn about the incredible craftsmanship and artistry that has made Steinway & Sons well known as the maker of the world’s finest pianos for 160 years.

One of the major highlights planned as part of the 2013 celebration is the opportunity to take part in events at the only Steinway & Sons factories in the world—in Astoria, New York and in Hamburg, Germany. A unique Steinway New York factory open house with in-depth, interactive tours by the foremen and craftsmen that build the world’s best piano will take place on Saturday, June 22 at the famed Astoria factory. Separate V.I.P. tours will be offered for both the press and the general public. A special Steinway Hamburg factory open house tour will take place in the late summer.

Steinway & Sons will also commemorate this milestone with the launch of a very special Limited Edition piano series. A grand piano with the melodic name “Arabesque” has been designed by renowned furniture designer Dakota Jackson, who previously designed a Limited Edition for Steinway & Sons in 2000 to commemorate the 300th birthday of the piano. Dakota Jackson is known for his simple yet inventive approach to design. Piano and art lovers alike can look forward to this elegant, exclusive piano, which will be available in two finishes beginning in fall 2013. 

The history of Steinway & Sons is a history of innovation and vision. Founded in Manhattan by German immigrant Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg (later Anglicized to Henry E. Steinway) in 1853, Steinway & Sons developed the modern piano with revolutionary designs and created 127 patented inventions to perfect the piano-making process. By the turn of the century, the company was crafting thousands of pianos in its Astoria and Hamburg factories, each one created with the finest quality materials and the attention to detail for which the company quickly became known. Today, Steinway & Sons crafts approximately 2,500 pianos a year and is the choice of 97% of piano soloists performing at major venues. In an age where many piano makers have outsourced manufacturing to regions with cheaper labor, Steinway & Sons continues to handcraft its pianos only at its Astoria (Long Island City) and Hamburg factories using many of the same techniques developed by the Steinway family more than a century ago.

“Year after year, the Steinway & Sons brand continues to represent superior quality and craftsmanship,” said Ron Losby, President of Steinway & Sons-Americas. “The 160th Anniversary is an opportunity for us to celebrate a milestone and to reflect on our history. We look forward to sharing the Steinway story at special events around the world.”

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