News & Events

Steinway artist Alan Feinberg explores different compositional conceptions of the fugue through two generations of composers from the High Baroque era – Froberger, Buxtehude, and Alessandro Scarlatti, matched with J.S. Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, and Handel – whose connectivity or cross-pollination is rarely presented in the piano world.

ClassicsToday.com called pianist Alan Feinberg’s 2013 release Basically Bull, “a revelation,” and The New York Times wrote, “It is a mark of Mr. Feinberg's skill that playfulness, along with grace and exuberance, characterize his performances of these 400-year-old miniatures even though their technical demands are of a sort rarely encountered until the 20th century."

The Steinway & Sons label releases Feinberg’s newest disc, Fugue State, on July 10, 2015. This latest recording from one of today’s most inventive and daring pianists evolved from his love of the form – often chosen by composers for making intensely personal statements – and a sense of each composers’ heartfelt involvement with it. Feinberg views the selected fugues as “character pieces,” each with its own personality, scope, level of complexity, and effect. The shape and character of the theme help determine the shape and character of the piece as a whole.

On Fugue State, two generations of composers from the High Baroque era: Johann Jacob Froberger, Dietrich Buxtehude, and Alessandro Scarlatti, are matched with J.S. Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, and George Friedrich Handel. Each has a unique compositional conception of what a fugue is, but their works share a number of compelling musical ideas and elements. “There are many musical connections for the listener to perceive, especially with more familiarity. Fugues are not constructed to surrender their secrets upon superficial acquaintance. Even when the musical content is similar, each composer has a unique style that is intriguingly personal,” said Feinberg.

“Performing works of the Baroque period on a modern Steinway enables the use of an especially rich tool for contrapuntal expression,” continued Feinberg. “In the end, I think that the performer’s task is to strive to harness the same spiritual, personal, intellectual, and technical concerns that the composer has mustered in order to re-create or re-imagine these past works for the present.”

This essential new recording will be released on July 10, 2015.

Alan Feinberg is a unique and versatile pianist, as comfortable with Brahms as with Cage. He has given over 200 premieres, including Mel Powell's Pulitzer Prize-winning work Duplicates, and numerous works by such composers as John Adams, Milton Babbitt, John Harbison, Steve Reich, and Charles Wuorinen. In 1985, he gave the first performance of Milton Babbitt's Piano Concerto, a work that was written for Feinberg. In 1991, he gave a critically acclaimed appearance of Shulamit Ran's concert piece with the Cleveland Orchestra. He has also championed a piano concerto by Charles Ives based on fragments of his Emerson Overture, and reconstructed by Ives scholar David G. Porter. Feinberg premiered this work in 1998 in Cleveland under the baton of Christoph von Dohnányi and they later performed it on tour in Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid. Other unusual works in his repertoire include concertos by Amy Beach, John Cage, Leo Ornstein, Oscar Levant and Andrew Imbrie; George Gershwin's Rhapsody No. 2; and Messiaen's Oiseaux exotiques. Feinberg has performed throughout the United States and Canada. His innovative recital series Discover America was sponsored by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Eisenhower Hall Theater at West Point, New York City's Town Hall, the University of Rhode Island, and the State University of New York at Stonybrook. Feinberg also performs regularly in Europe. In addition to frequent collaborations with the London Philharmonia and the BBC Scottish Symphony, he has been featured at major international festivals, such as the BBC Musica Nova Festival, and the festivals of Edinburgh, Bath, Cambridge, Geneva, Berlin, Brescia, Bergamo, and Budapest.

An extensive discography attests to Feinberg's continuing investigations into previously unexplored repertoire for the piano. His most ambitious project is a series of recordings on Decca/Argo entitled Discover America, where classical and popular works by both famous and lesser-known composers are arranged in a program to demonstrate the diversity of American musical history. Composers featured in the series include Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Henry Cowell, Conlon Nancarrow, Jelly Roll Morton, James B. Johnson, Percy Grainger, Fats Waller, Artis Wodehouse, Scott Joplin, Charles Ives, Charles Wuorinen, Willie "The Lion" Smith, Duke Ellington, and others. He has also recorded Babbitt's Piano Concerto (New World Records); Morton Feldman's Piano and Orchestra (Decca/Argo); Beach's Piano Concerto (Decca/Argo); Ligeti's Horn Trio (Bridge Records); works by Steve Reich and John Adams (EMI/Angel and Nonesuch); and Paul Bowles' Piano Concerto (Catalyst). In 1997, he won his third Grammy Award nomination for his recording of Morton Feldman's Palais de Marie and Charles Wuorinen's Capriccio, Bagatelle, and Sonata No. 3. Feinberg is associate professor of piano at the Eastman School of Music and visiting professor at the Juilliard School in New York City.

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.

News & Events

Position/Title: Retail Sales Associate & Asian Market Specialist

Department: Retail Sales

Date: 6/23/2015

Reports to: John Weis 

Position Summary: 

Steinway & Sons is currently seeking an experienced Sales Associate with a passion for luxury and a love of the arts for its company-owned showroom in New Jersey.

The right candidate has a proven track record in successfully generating sales within luxury retail or project type environments. The candidate must have an outgoing and engaging personality who can engage with clients on many different levels. While the ability to play piano is not a requirement for the job, musical and tonal understanding is highly beneficial as our clients often seek guidance and recommendations during instrument selections. Experience with business development and lead generating activities are preferred to ensure a continued pro-active approach to sales. In addition to focusing on showroom sales, a large part of this job will involve outreach and business development with the Asian community in New Jersey. 

Main Responsibilities: 

  • Achieve personal sales goals and support store in achieving goals
  • Develop and cultivate customer leads and relationships
  • Implement a sales referral outreach program for key influencers (i.e. piano technicians, real estate agents, designers, piano teachers…)
  • Coordinate all piano technical needs after sale follow up (tuning, etc) and in store as needed
  • Use the CRM system to manage and follow up with leads
  • Support all in store and regional promotional events (generating and cultivating sales)
  • Resolve customer issues in a timely manner
  • Build and develop strong relationships with Asian music community

Qualifications:

  • Outstanding sales and sales management skills
  • Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree and experience in business, customer service, sales or the arts
  • Superior communication, planning, and organizational skills
  • Basic knowledge of MS Word, Outlook and Excel
  • Highly motivated, results-oriented self-starter with excellent problem solving skills and the ability to work independently and drive new business
  • Piano or music experience /background preferred
  • Min. 2 year experience within luxury / professional sales in a commission based environment
  • Must be able to speak Korean and/or Mandarin
  • Note: This position requires local travel, and candidate must have access to a car. Candidates must be able to lift 20-50 lbs. and be able to stand and/or walk for extended periods of time.

News & Events

Title: Business Development / Asian Market Specialist

Effective Date: 6/30/2014

Reports to: Dan Miceli

Location: New York/Steinway Hall

Position Summary:

Steinway & Sons is currently seeking an experienced Business Development Specialist for the NY Asian Market, with a passion for luxury and a love of the arts.

The right candidate has a proven track record in a proactive approach to sales, with past experience in business development, lead generating activities and generating sales prospects. The candidate must have an outgoing and engaging personality who can engage and build relationships with clients on many different levels. While the ability to play piano is not a requirement for the job, musical and tonal understanding is highly beneficial as our clients often seek guidance and recommendations during instrument selections. In addition to focusing on showroom sales, a large part of this job will involve outreach and business development with the Asian community in New York.

Main Responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement a sales strategy designed to engage with the Asian music community
  • Develop and cultivate customer leads and relationships 
  • Attend and develop off-site promotional and prospecting events in high traffic areas such as mall placements, local shopping centers, home shows, trade shows, designer conventions, etc
  • Implement a sales referral outreach program for key influencers (i.e. piano technicians, real estate agents, designers, piano teachers…)
  • Prepare and submit paperwork in accordance with current Company policies
  • Prepare weekly call reports that detail the sales activity for the week. At the Company’s request, submit reports pertaining to sales forecasts, specific sales plans, and market analysis  

POSITION QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Outstanding business development and sales management skills
  • Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree and experience in business, customer service, sales or the arts
  • Superior communication, planning, and organizational skills
  • Basic knowledge of MS Word, Outlook and Excel
  • Highly motivated, results-oriented self-starter with excellent problem solving skills and the ability to work independently and drive new business
  • Piano or music experience /background preferred
  • Min. 2 year experience within luxury / professional sales in a commission based environment
  • Must be able to speak Korean and/or Mandarin
  • Note: This position requires some local travel, and candidate must have access to a car. Candidates must be able to lift 20-50 lbs. and be able to stand and/or walk for extended periods of time. 

News & Events

Renowned Piano Manufacturer Celebrates Dmitry Masleev’s Victory on a Steinway & Sons Model D Piano

Steinway & Sons, manufacturer of the world’s finest pianos, was selected by Dmitry Masleev of Russia, winner of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition for piano, as the instrument of choice for the final round of judging. Held every four years in Moscow, the International Tchaikovsky Competition is considered to be amongst the most prestigious competitions in the music world and a launch pad for the careers of its young winners. Masleev secured his victory on a Steinway & Sons Model D piano following a performance of Tchaikovsky‘s concerto no.1 in b-flat minor and Prokofiev‘s 3rd piano concerto, accompanied by the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia.

In a remarkable endorsement of the uncompromised quality and craftsmanship of Steinway & Sons pianos, all six finalists chose to perform on Steinway & Sons pianos for the final round of the contest, including two pianists who had previously switched from other piano brands used in earlier stages of the competition.

“Steinway & Sons congratulates Dmitry Masleev on his extraordinary win at the International Tchaikovsky Competition and we are honored to have played a part in this tremendous accomplishment,” states Michael T. Sweeney, Chief Executive Officer of Steinway & Sons. Adding, “With more than 98% of the world’s piano soloists currently performing on Steinway & Sons pianos, we are deeply committed to supporting the artistic community through a wide array of initiatives. One essential part of this mission is helping the next generation of pianists realize their career potential through events like the International Tchaikovsky Competition.”

The remaining finalists who also performed on Steinway & Sons pianos include, Lucas Debargue (France), Lukas Geniušas (Russia/Lithuania), Daniel Kharitonov (Russia), George Li (USA), and Sergey Redkin (Russia).

Artists participating in the International Tchaikovsky Festival range in age from 16 to 30 years-old, with each vying for global acclaim and cash prizes ranging from $30,000-$2,000 in addition to the $100,000 Grand Prix prize. Previous winners of the International Tchaikovsky Competition include Van Cliburn, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mikhail Pletnev and Grigory Sokolov.

Additional information about the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition can be found at http://tchaikovskycompetition.com/en/.

A biography of Dmitry Masleev can also be found at http://tch15.medici.tv/en/artist/dmitry-masleev.

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Your Steinway can be the perfect expression of you. Whether that means a more subtle change such as the all silver hardware of the Sterling Steinway, or a more eye-catching statement such as a Red Pops Steinway, we invite you to find a Special Collections Steinway piano that best suits your home and your style.

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Renowned Designer Frank Pollaro Creates "The Fibonacci," A Masterpiece That Celebrates The Art of Handcraftsmanship

Steinway & Sons, manufacturer of the world’s finest pianos, today unveiled the company’s 600,000th piano, stunningly designed by master artisan, Frank Pollaro. Handcrafted using natural Macassar ebony, the end result is a feat of artistry, engineering and precision that celebrates this milestone for Steinway & Sons and demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to uncompromising craftsmanship.

Named "The Fibonacci," the piano’s veneer features the iconic Fibonacci spiral made entirely from six individual logs of Macassar Ebony, creating a fluid design that represents the geometric harmony found in nature. The lines of The Fibonacci spiral on the top of the piano’s lid are projected down to its unique curved base. Synthetic ivory inlay adds a breathtaking effect to the design, which also features unique patinated bronze details. In the end, over 6,000 hours of work over a four-year period were devoted to the creation of The Fibonacci, from design to finish. The superior craftsmanship of the piano’s exterior is matched only by the unparalleled craftsmanship that is at the very core of all Steinway & Sons pianos.

According to Frank Pollaro, "Designing Steinway & Sons’ 600,000th piano was an honor and a challenge. To me, knowing that this piano would become part of history meant that it had to be more than just a beautiful design, but also needed to visually convey a deeper message." Pollaro added, "As I considered the number 600,000, the Fibonacci spiral came to mind. The way in which it continues to grow but stay true to its form is very much like Steinway & Sons over these many years. Combining the universal languages of music and mathematics suddenly made perfect sense."

"Steinway & Sons has a long tradition of world-class craftsmanship, so as we began planning the 600,000th piano, it quickly became apparent that Frank Pollaro was the artist we needed for creative design and perfect execution. His ability to create unforgettable images through woodwork demonstrates artistry at the highest level, something that spoke to the very core of what this company is all about," stated Darren Marshall, Chief Marketing Officer of Steinway & Sons. Adding, "The Fibonacci spiral is a representation of perfect proportions and natural beauty. Without a doubt, Frank captured those qualities in this piano, creating a work of art for the eyes and the ears."

The Fibonacci is destined to become an important piece of cultural history, taking its place of honor amongst previous milestone models that the company has created. The 100,000th was originally given to the United States White House and is now part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., while the 300,000 piano currently resides in the East Room of the White House.

In April The Fibonacci was previewed during a special VIP reception at Steinway & Sons’ new showroom in Beverly Hills, where the internationally celebrated Steinway Artist, Lang Lang, had the honor of being the first artist to perform on the piano. This June The Fibonacci will travel to the United Kingdom, where it will be showcased at the 2015 Masterpiece London art fair.

The Fibonacci is a Steinway & Sons Model D piano, nine foot concert grand, priced at $2.4 million. In addition to the original 600,000th version, Steinway & Sons will create up to six exclusive, limited edition Model B pianos (6’10.5") inspired by the same design.

For more information about The Fibonacci, please contact Laura Seele at +1 (646)356-3960

About Frank Pollaro
As a young man, Frank Pollaro became interested in the master works of furniture designer Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann. He fell in love with the way Ruhlmann used ivory as an embellishment against rich, dark wood backgrounds. Fascinated by the natural colors and textures of exotic woods, he began to collect solid wood and veneer from all corners of the world, a passion that he has continued for more than 30 years. His collection currently contains over 80 species and the largest collection of rare woods in private hands.

Twenty-seven years after founding Pollaro Custom Furniture, Frank’s work continues to win critical acclaim from leading collectors, designers and architects, who consider a Pollaro piece to be the crown jewel of their interiors. Additionally, his furniture has won numerous awards for both design and craftsmanship. Today, Frank and his team are considered the finest furniture makers in the world. Capable of replicating skills of a century ago, they are also masters of cutting edge materials and techniques.

In addition to the pursuit of challenging commissions, Frank also actively preserves his craft through teaching at leading furniture making programs throughout the country. For more information, visit www.pollaro.com.

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Position Summary:

Steinway & Sons, the internationally renowned manufacturer of the world’s finest pianos, is currently seeking a Manager of Accounting for its Americas’ division headquartered in Queens, New York. Reporting directly to the Vice President- Controller, this Manager will lead a team of accounting professionals in the compilation and preparation of monthly financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP along with accompanying analysis and commentary to be used by senior operating management. The ideal candidate will possess a strong technical accounting background as well as a proven track record of managing and developing subordinates. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, the ability to work collaboratively with both peers and senior management and the drive to continuously improve performance are also attributes required to succeed in this position. 


Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Coordinate the month-end financial closing process including the preparation and posting of journal entries, month end accruals, and general ledger account reconciliations, including intercompany and bank reconciliations.
  • Prepare quarterly and annual financial reporting and tax packages for submission to Corporate headquarters.
  • Support financial planning and analysis by providing input related to the Americas division for strategic planning, budgeting, and forecasting purposes.
  • Act as primary liaison to the auditors including providing audit documentation and preparation of flux analyses.
  • Supervise and mentor accounting staff.
  • Prepare monthly financial statements and associate analytical commentary.
  • Insure transactions are recorded in compliance with GAAP, documenting where appropriate the analysis of the proper accounting treatment for complex transactions.
  • Prepare and review year end supporting Tax schedules.
  • Maintain the Company’s compliance with established internal controls.
  • Work closely with the VP-Controller and other senior management to provide key financial performance indicators.
  • Prepare banking reports as needed.
  • Review sales tax returns and insure timely filings.
  • Approve wire transfers and payments.

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree with a major in accounting or finance
  • 8 + years of relevant accounting experience
  • Knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and financial accounting concepts
  • Big 4 experience and CPA preferred, but not required
  • Strong computer skills -excel, word and accounting software packages (Navision a plus)
  • Prior experience in software implementation
  • Manufacturing experience a plus

News & Events

Locations: Chicago

Steinway & Sons is currently seeking an experienced Sales Associate with a passion for luxury and a love of the arts for its company-owned showroom in Chicago.

The right candidate has a proven track record in successfully generating sales within luxury retail or project type environments. The candidate must have an outgoing and engaging personality who can engage with clients on many different levels. While the ability to play piano is not a requirement for the job, musical and tonal understanding is highly beneficial as our clients often seek guidance and recommendations during instrument selections. Experience with business development and lead generating activities are preferred to ensure a continued pro-active approach to sales.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Achieve personal sales goals and support store in achieving goals
  • Develop and cultivate customer leads and relationships
  • Implement a sales referral outreach program for key influencers (i.e. piano technicians, real estate agents, designers, piano teachers...)
  • Coordinate all piano technical needs after sale follow up (tuning, etc) and in store as needed
  • Use the CRM system to manage and follow up with leads
  • Support all in store and regional promotional events (generating and cultivating sales)
  • Facilitate and provide best-in-class after-sales service to our customers

Qualifications:

  • Outstanding sales skills
  • Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree and experience in customer service or sales
  • Superior communication, planning, and organizational skills
  • Basic knowledge of MS Word, Outlook and Excel
  • Highly motivated, results-oriented self-starter with excellent problem solving skills and the ability to work independently and drive new business
  • Min. 2 year experience within luxury / professional sales in a commission based environment
  • Note: This position requires local travel, and candidate must have access to a car. Candidates must be able to lift 20-50 lbs. and be able to stand and/or walk for extended periods of time.

News & Events

Locations: Chicago

Steinway & Sons is currently seeking an experienced Sales Manager with a passion for luxury and a love of the arts for its company-owned showrooms in Chicago.

The primary focus of the Sales Manager is to build and ensure the continued success of the showroom through a pro-active approach to staff development and coaching, local marketing and networking as well as managing personal and store sales.

The right candidate has a proven track record in successfully generating sales through small to medium size sales teams, and has demonstrated excellent skills in administration, operations and management within luxury retail or project type sales. The candidate must have an outgoing and engaging personality and be a natural leader, who can engage with clients on many different levels. While the ability to play piano is not a requirement for the job, musical and tonal understanding is highly beneficial as our clients often seek guidance and recommendations during instrument selections. Experience with business development and lead generating activities are preferred to ensure a continued pro-active approach to sales.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Achieve personal and store sales goals
  • Set sales goals for store associates and manage performance against goals
  • Analyze store performance and implement programs to enhance performance
  • Engage in and oversee business development
    -Develop and cultivate customer leads and relationships
    -Oversee and manage leads for showroom
  • Manage the day to day prospect follow up with Reps
  • Develop a sales referral outreach program for key influencers (i.e. piano technicians, real estate agents, designers, piano teachers…)
  • Coordinate all piano technical needs in store and after sale follow up. (tuning, etc)
  • Oversee and train staff on CRM
  • Communicate, implement and manage all in store promotional events (generating and cultivating sales)
  • Maintain and enhance performance of Sales Rep(s) through ongoing coaching and performance feedback
  • Resolve customer issues in a timely manner

Qualifications:

  • Outstanding sales and sales management skills
  • Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree and experience in customer service or sales
  • Superior communication, planning, and organizational skills
  • Basic knowledge of MS Word, Outlook and Excel
  • Highly motivated, results-oriented self-starter with excellent problem solving skills and the ability to work independently and drive new business
  • Min. 2 year experience within luxury / professional sales in a commission based environment
  • Note: This position requires local travel, and candidate must have access to a car. Candidates must be able to lift 20-50 lbs. and be able to stand and/or walk for extended periods of time.

News & Events

Moran’s Installation, STAGED, Explores Two Pivotal Periods in American Jazz

STAGED: Savoy Ballroom 1, 2015
Jason Moran
Mixed media, sound
120 x 216 x 120 inches
(304.8 x 548.6 x 304.8 cm)
Photo: Farzad Owrang

Steinway & Sons announced today that acclaimed jazz pianist, MacArthur Fellow and Steinway Artist, Jason Moran, will perform on the new Steinway Spirio player piano at La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale) on May 6 at the contemporary art exhibition’s Arsenale venue. The performance will showcase the Steinway Spirio’s remarkable playback capabilities, as well as Moran’s world-renowned artistry as a performer, composer, and multidisciplinary artist.

As part of his participation at the 56th International Art Exhibition at the Biennale, which is entitled "All the World’s Futures", Moran has created STAGED, a three-dimensional, free-standing sculptural installation that reconstructs architectural elements of the Savoy Ballroom and the Three Deuces, two legendary New York City jazz venues that were home to some of the greatest jazz performances of their day. During the run of the Biennale (May 10 through November 22), a limited number of live performances by Moran and his band, The Bandwagon, are scheduled.

In STAGED, the dynamic tension created by the positioning of the two stages is critical. The Savoy wall confronting the Three Deuces stage embodies the face-off of two different eras of American jazz: the 1930s swing era with the 1950s bebop period. Visitors will walk between these two separate but related musical spaces, while a series of old and new songs play from both, underscoring the labor of the musicians who enlivened these original contexts and situations. The high-resolution Steinway Spirio will play a central role in the installation, providing audiences with an acoustic musical experience that brings the work to life even when Moran is not present.

Detail of STAGED: Savoy Ballroom 1, 2015
Photo: Farzad Owrang

According to Michael T. Sweeney, CEO of Steinway & Sons, "While Steinway & Sons created Spirio to provide a concert-quality, in-home experience for consumers, we have been gratified to see that Artists like Jason Moran are so confident in Spirio's reproducing exactitude that they are incorporating Spirio on stage. The Venice Biennale marks the public debut of the Steinway Spirio, and no one should be surprised that Jason Moran is the pioneer bringing this instrument to life." Adding, "Through Steinway Spirio, audiences will feel the full range of emotion and soulfulness that Jason intended."

Steinway Spirio, the world’s finest high-resolution player piano, was officially introduced in April 2015, and is available exclusively on select Steinway grand pianos, in select markets. A masterpiece of engineering, Steinway Spirio provides the unrivaled musical experience that Steinway’s customers expect, producing the most accurate reproduction of live performances ever achieved on a Steinway & Sons piano. Delicate pedaling, subtle phrasing, soft trills, and thundering fortissimos present no difficulty for Steinway Spirio. Damper and keyshift pedaling are replicated with unparalleled accuracy, following the pianist’s depressions and releases smoothly and precisely.

News & Events

As seen in the Winter 2015 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

One seemingly endless winter day with students away on break, a small army of movers and technicians converged on California State University, Dominguez Hills. More than 20 shining new pianos later, CSUDH became the first All-Steinway School among 23 campuses that comprise the largest four-year public university system in the United States.

What culminated in 24 frenetic hours began years earlier when former music department Chair Dr. Richard Kravchak met Tim Stephenson, Western Institutional Sales Manager of Steinway & Sons in West Hollywood. Current Chair Dr. Sally Etcheto heartily embraced the challenge once Dr. Kravchak made a career move to the east coast.

"Tim made me feel special and listened to my concerns with empathy and understanding. With his marvelously creative ideas and support, we updated our plan and presented it to all the appropriate parties. What a miraculous day when I received an email confirming the purchase," she recalled.

A host of enthusiastic learners had a noticeable spring in their step when they returned for the new semester.

"The excitement level was unbelievable! Almost immediately, our students became aware of the TLC required of these instruments and proved to be self-policing regarding liquids, music stands and back packs. They were staying on campus and practicing longer. One of our seniors chose to use the Steinway logo on his recital program instead of his picture," Dr. Etcheto said. "I am proud to say that one classroom was completely refurbished this past summer and others are now on the list – all because Steinway is in the house."

In May, Steinway Artist Elizabeth Roe performed at the inaugural dinner for President Willie Hagan, the first in a new series of recitals. "The All-Steinway designation is yet another mark of CSU Dominguez Hills’ commitment to excellence by providing our students with the very best instruments with which to pursue their dreams," Dr. Hagan said. "We hope the concert series will attract a whole new audience to our campus, benefitting not only our music program, but all aspects of fundraising," added Pam Hillman, Coordinator of Special Projects.

School officials toured the Steinway factory after attending the 2014 Keys to Finding Funds seminar in New York. "We were treated like royalty, yet made to feel like family," Dr. Etcheto said. "To see such American excellence up close and personal was positively invigorating. It was a fabulous experience – one I shall never forget."

With funding secured for piano maintenance over the next three years, CSUDH is poised for future growth. Tentative plans call for making additional physical improvements, attracting more international students and increasing degree offerings.

"Our association with Steinway has given us courage to forge ahead," said Dr. Etcheto. "We serve a diverse student population, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Thanks to Steinway we know we are serving them with excellence."

News & Events

The legs of a Steinway & Sons Louis XV grand piano are nothing short of miraculous: those gently curved lines, impossibly smooth, reaching up to join the intricately-carved floral motifs that make up the crowns. The impeccable carving and fitting of the wood give the illusion that the legs and the piano case are one piece, a masterpiece of both design and engineering. Due in large part to these legs, the piano appears almost organic—almost alive with the spirit of the eighteenth century French king from whom it takes its name. It's quite a magical instrument. So it's understandable that the responsibility for finishing these gorgeous legs and the case to which they are fitted is a serious duty indeed.

Enter Santé Auriti, Steinway & Sons master craftsman and casemaker. Together with a team of highly-skilled craftspeople, woodworkers, engineers, and artists, Santé is tasked with finishing the legs and cases of not just the Louis XV grands, but also the sleek English-inspired Chippendale grands, all Steinway Limited Edition pianos, and the entire production line of Steinway & Sons ebony grand pianos. Basically, if a grand piano has come out of the factory within the last thirty-six years, there's a good chance it's been touched by the magic hands of Santé Auriti.

His prowess in wood is legendary, and in fact Santé is no stranger to publicity concerning his long and illustrious career with Steinway & Sons. He's been profiled in print and on film in the United States and his native Italy, as well as in Sweden and South Korea. Plus, he's taken the show on the road, so to speak, several times—demonstrating his craft with on-site expositions and showcases of the casemaking process. But each time Santé tells the story of his career with Steinway, his eyes light a bit and his voice takes on a hint of reverence, a hint of incredulity that he's even telling the story at all.

"Strong and Gentle"

Abruzzi, Santé's home region, is a striking area in east-central Italy known for its lush greenscapes and national parks. The diplomat Primo Levi once described Abruzzi as "forte e gentile," (strong and gentle), which has become the motto of the region. And it's a motto Santé must have somehow deeply assimilated before he left Italy in the late 1970s. Here in the United States, his job as Steinway & Sons master craftsman calls upon those historic qualities in equal measure, and Santé delivers: his strength upholds the iron-clad integrity of Steinway manufacturing, and his gentleness preserves the exquisite artistry for which the legendary company is known.

When he first left Italy as a young man, Santé worked in Germany in the textile industry. He came to the United States in 1979, and, on the urging of relatives, looked up a man from his home town who was working as a foreman in the rim department at the Steinway & Sons factory. "I talked to him, I put in my application, and there it was," he says. "I started working with Steinway on May 14, 1979." He remembers the date proudly, almost reverently. It's the day, he says, that his life in pianos began.

It didn't take long for Santé's skills and adaptability to be recognized by factory foremen. A ten-year journey through the factory ensued, with Santé being moved from department to department—first rim-bending, then veneers, then soundboards—to apply his skills, with each move teaching him more about the year-long process of building one Steinway & Sons piano. He savored the experiences and accepted each new position willingly. "Every time they needed somebody new on the floor, they asked me, 'Santé, can you do this? Can you do that?' Whatever anybody asked me to do, I did it. And I tried to do it really well," he says.

Indeed he did. He remembers the day of his last promotion, which occurred more than two decades ago, very clearly. "My supervisor Andy came to me and said, 'Santé, I want to talk to you,'" he remembers. "Andy said, 'You know we have one guy up there in the case department who works on the most special pianos, the Louis XV and Chippendales, right?' I told him I did. And next he said, 'Do you want to go up there and work with him, learn from him?' And of course I said yes to that." The die was cast. Santé moved up to the casemaking department and set about learning his craft. And after just a little over a decade with the company, Santé worked himself up to become one of the most revered and rare of piano-builders: a Steinway & Sons master casemaker.

The "Other" Piano Man

Santé's Facebook page is labeled "The Piano Man." And while it's a moniker some might associate with a certain other Piano Man, Santé has absolutely earned the title as well. He's built his professional life around the Steinway company, and in the process has become an integral part of an iconic American brand. The pianos Santé lovingly crafts will outlive all of us, he points out. The cover image on his Facebook page of a Steinway & Sons staff t-shirt reveals Santé's pride: "I build the world's best piano," it says simply.

Santé's passion is so infectious, in fact, that he's been sent out on "tour" more than once to demonstrate to the world the careful process he uses when finishing the piano cases. He's built pianos in the window of Steinway Hall on 57th Street, in Steinway Piano Gallery Chicago, during the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) annual conference in midtown Manhattan, and even at a shopping mall in Long Island. "Customers would come in and ask me questions, and I'd explain to them how I do the case, how I do the legs," he says. "I think it's very interesting for them to see the process first-hand. They learn something about the craft, and I'm very happy to be able to show them."

When he's not working on pianos, Santé's cooking, hanging out with friends and family, or heading out for long walks in New York's parks. "That's what I love to do," he says. "Walk the parks. I go upstate, I go to Long Island, sometimes to bike, or sometimes just to walk, walk, walk. Sometimes I go up to Caumsett State Park and it's amazing, because there won't be anybody there. You walk for such a long time and you see nobody, see nothing. That's what I love the best."

Santé figures he's still got years ahead of him in the piano-making business. He admits it's hard to imagine a life without the daily feel of piano parts in his hands, the smells of sawdust and the sounds of careful hammering, cutting, sanding. The Steinway & Sons factory is a mere two blocks from his house, and it's fast-approaching forty years since he first walked into the factory yard. "They have my history," he says about the company. And indeed, Santé has a part of theirs, as well.

CAN'T MISS: See Santé Auriti explain the casemaking process to Steinway Artist Robert Glasper: https://youtu.be/n26J6yRkuXM?t=2m19s

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April Wu focuses on a Steinway concert grand piano during her recital at Collin College. Image by Nick Young.

As seen in the Winter 2015 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

With the addition of 21 Steinway-designed pianos, Collin College holds a singular distinction for its outgoing president. "Achieving status as an All-Steinway School is a goal that I have been pursuing for more than five years," Dr. Cary Israel disclosed to The Steinway Chronicle. "Sometimes, you have to wait for great things!"

The only public college in Collin County with a network of campuses north of Dallas, Collin College affordably serves about 52,000 credit and continuing education students with 100 degree and certificate programs. Becoming an All-Steinway School reinforces Collin's commitment to excellence across a broad spectrum of disciplines, according to Mac Hendricks, the chair of the Board of Trustees.

Both agree the designation places Collin College in a leadership position for music education.

"It is important to our Board of Trustees that we offer quality academic programs and resources for our students," said Dr. Israel. "If we provide highly sophisticated technology for our award-winning healthcare program, we likewise must have top quality instruments for fine arts."

The Steinway affiliation marks an epilogue of sorts to a remarkable career for Dr. Israel, who steps down after more than 15 years as the longest-standing president in Collin's history. The school opened its doors in 1985 as Collin County Community College. Under his highly energetic tutelage, Collin received more than $30 million in grants while adding nearly one million square feet of learning space to its campus facilities. Enrollment increased by more than 22,000 since 1999 and Collin claims an awe-inspiring seven Carnegie Professors of the Year on its staff. Dr. Israel assures there is a sequel in the works. After spending some time with family, he plans on finding a new challenge to match his incredible passion and zest for life.

Benefitting from the expertise of Steinway Piano Gallery Dallas, Collin equipped its practice rooms, music studios, classrooms and performance venues with a mix of instruments including two Steinway Model D and three Model B grand pianos. Dr. Brian Allison, Professor of Music, senses a change in dynamics as the program enters an exciting new phase of development. "Faculty, administrators, and members of the community take great pride in this honor of being an All-Steinway School. However, the greatest benefit can be found in the excited faces of the students who can practice and perform on these instruments. Motivation to excel has risen to unprecedented levels as we continue to develop musical excellence and pursue enrichment in the lives of those who choose to study music at Collin College," he said.

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News & Events

Steinway Spirio to Feature All-New Music Catalog of High-Resolution Performances by Steinway Artists

Steinway & Sons, manufacturer of the world’s finest pianos, today announced the company’s most significant product innovation in over 70 years: Steinway Spirio, the world's finest player piano system, available exclusively on select Steinway grand pianos. A masterpiece of engineering, Steinway Spirio provides the unrivaled musical experience that Steinway’s customers expect, producing the most accurate reproduction of live performances ever achieved on a Steinway & Sons piano. Delicate pedaling, subtle phrasing, soft trills, and thundering fortissimos present no difficulty for Steinway Spirio. Damper and keyshift pedaling are replicated with unparalleled accuracy, following the pianist’s depressions and releases smoothly and precisely over the entire range of motion.

Steinway Spirio is the product of Steinway & Sons’ partnership with Wayne Stahnke, building upon his decades of work as the world’s foremost innovator in the field of modern player pianos. The system’s superior playback results from the combination of numerous patented developments, including closed-loop proportional pedaling, immunity to varying line voltage, sophisticated thermal compensation, and proprietary high-resolution drive techniques.

To take full advantage of Steinway Spirio’s unique capabilities, Steinway & Sons is recording an entirely new catalog of music for the system, featuring the roster of over 1,700 Steinway Artists performing a wide range of genres, from classical to jazz, standards to contemporary. All pieces in the catalog are recorded, edited and released in high-resolution, using a proprietary data format that captures the finest details from each artist’s performance. Steinway’s entire catalog of performances will be provided to Steinway Spirio owners at no additional charge – a first for the player piano industry.

According to Michael Sweeney, CEO of Steinway & Sons, "Since the founding of Steinway & Sons over 160 years ago, innovation and craftsmanship have served as the core tenets of the company. In today’s marketplace, brands like ours must continue to innovate in order to remain relevant to the world around us, but that doesn't mean that quality and craftsmanship can suffer." Sweeney added, "After years of exploration, Steinway & Sons has created in the Steinway Spirio, a high-resolution player piano that is rich with emotion and depth. Even the Steinway Artists that have recorded on the instrument agree that the Steinway Spirio captures the true essence, nuance, and soulfulness of a live performance, allowing us to bring artists and their audiences closer than ever before."

The Steinway Spirio player system is integrated with the piano at Steinway’s New York and Hamburg factories during manufacturing. Completely hidden from view, its components do not affect the touch, sound or outward appearance of the piano in any way. Steinway Spirio’s modular design isolates the core player system from rapidly-changing user interface technologies, ensuring many decades of enjoyment. With routine maintenance and occasional updates, the Steinway Spirio player piano system is expected to last the full lifetime of the piano.

To control the system today, Steinway & Sons will provide a complimentary iPad to wirelessly connect with each Steinway Spirio. The attractive and easy-to-use Steinway Spirio app puts the company’s growing library of world-class performances at the owner’s fingertips, all recorded live on Steinway & Sons’ master recording pianos.

As new music files become available, they are automatically added to the in-app listings, ready to enjoy. Playlists, themes and genres curated by Steinway & Sons draw upon the company’s renowned musical expertise to create the perfect mood for any occasion. An integrated volume control permits fine adjustment of the piano's playback intensity from brilliant, concert-level dynamics to subdued, background-level playing, taking advantage of Steinway Spirio's whisper-soft playback capabilities.

"Steinway Spirio connects the listener and the artist as only the world’s finest piano can," said Darren Marshall, Chief Marketing Officer for Steinway & Sons. "Steinway Spirio technology has been engineered to meet our highest standards while creating a truly unique listening experience for all music enthusiasts, regardless of their own piano playing skills."

Steinway & Sons will offer the Steinway Spirio system in three existing piano models: Model B (Music Room Grand, available worldwide), Model M (Medium Grand, available in select U.S. and Canadian markets), and Model O (Living Room Grand, available in select European and Asian markets). Pricing is available upon request through local Steinway & Sons dealers and Steinway & Sons retail locations.

Further details and video demonstrations will be available at www.steinwayspirio.com starting April 1, 2015. Steinway Spirio will be introduced in select markets globally beginning in March of 2015 and widely available in 2016.

Watch Steinway Artists Anderson & Roe and Jenny Lin talk about Steinway Spirio

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A household with seven children is going to be a household filled with love, laughter, and—well—ear-splitting noise. Just ask Michelina Tyrie. When the Spokane, Washington resident was raising her brood of six daughters and one son, she learned to accept and even appreciate the noise level, especially as her children grew and joined their mother—an accomplished pianist, teacher, and accompanist, in the passionate pursuit of music and performance.

But there’s another sound in the score of Michelina’s life, and it’s a sound that has remained constant for more than fifty years: the music of the Steinway & Sons grand piano she purchased in 1961, when she was just twenty-one years old. It’s quite an instrument: a 1923 Mahogany Louis XV Model A grand with a tone she describes simply as "brilliant."

Michelina has made her living with this piano. She taught on it, performed on it, composed on it, and loved it. She even used it as a tool to soothe her children when they were small; oldest daughter Sheila remembers falling asleep with her head on her mother’s foot as it smoothly, rhythmically rocked up and down on the Steinway’s sustain pedal. The story of Michelina and her Steinway grand piano is a story of love, endurance, memory, and the two ties that have proven more binding than any others: family and music.

"A Piano Made of Gold"

Though barely out of her teens, Michelina was building quite a reputation as a talented pianist when she first met the instrument that was to be her closest companion for the next five decades. At nineteen, as a student at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, she competed in a contest and won the opportunity to perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall. Two years later, finding herself with more and more opportunities to perform, teach, and accompany, she decided it was time to purchase "a proper piano."

It happened fast. Michelina went with her father to a piano store in downtown Chicago. When she performed for the shop owner, a man she affectionately recalls as "Mr. Panini," his response was stunned admiration. "A pianist like this," he proclaimed to Michelina’s father, "needs a piano made of gold." As luck would have it, something even better was in the shop that day: the Louis XV Model A. Michelina bought it on the spot—at age twenty-one—and since that time she’s cherished it as the cornerstone of a long career in music and as one of her family’s most treasured heirlooms.

Michelina graduated from the Conservatory in 1963. She and her first husband, fellow Conservatory alumnus Edward McCarthy, soon opened the Court School of Music, teaching piano and voice in Wisconsin. Between 1964 and 1975, the couple had seven children: Brian, Sheila, Colleen, Candace, Dawn, Bridget, and Leslie. Three became professional musicians: Brian McCarthy (pianist), Sheila Bosco (percussionist/experimental artist), and Dawn McCarthy (singer and songwriter). In 1981, Michelina earned a Master’s Degree in Music at Eastern Washington University. Six years later, she married Rich Tyrie, and the couple now lives in Spokane, Washington.

For more than five decades, Michelina has risen every morning to practice at her Steinway piano, and the talent and skill she developed through the years has kept her busy indeed: she has continually worked as a freelance musician teaching piano, performing, and accompanying a diverse range of musical groups. Today, Michelina is a church organist/pianist as well as the accompanist for the German Concordia Choir of Spokane. She takes special pleasure in performing at retirement homes, marveling at the power music has to awaken long-dormant memories and associations in the seniors who listen to her play. She also enjoys performing in an annual Christmas show at Spokane’s historic Paulsen Building on a Steinway grand piano provided by Steinway Piano Gallery of Spokane.

Teach Your Children Well

One of the things Michelina is most proud of, regarding her Steinway piano, is the impact it had on her seven children. She taught all of her kids to play piano, even continuing the tradition today with daughter Sheila via long-distance Skype lessons. Another daughter, Dawn McCarthy, is now a well-known folk musician and creator of the band Faun Fables, whose 2004 album features a song called "A Mother and Her Piano."

"It’s about Mom and her Steinway, and the power, strength, and autonomy it gave her," Dawn said. And indeed, the lyrics tell the story most powerfully: "Within the songs, she planned our flight / I’ll never forget that she rode us on her back / to a new life / Mother and a piano."

All of Michelina’s children, in fact, have memories of "Mom and her Steinway." Daughter Bridget remembers playing under the piano as a small child while her mother practiced. "We would pretend the piano was a space ship, taking us on adventures. Sometimes as part of our game, my mother would play very dramatic or scary music. It was like having your own soundtrack!"

Brian McCarthy, Michelina’s first born and only son, said his mother’s ability to shape her children’s lives with her Steinway started even before her first baby was born. "My mother always said that she wasn’t surprised I like Beethoven, because she was practicing Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto while she was pregnant with me." He smiles at the memory. "So, I’ve been listening to my mom play her piano since before I was born—and you know what? I still enjoy hearing her play to this day."

For her own part, Michelina remains as passionate about her Steinway piano as she was the day she first saw it in that Chicago music store. "It’s brilliant," she says. And she repeats it for good measure. "It’s absolutely brilliant—in terms of tone, sound, appearance, everything. That’s the best way I can describe it. Every time I play on another piano at a venue or performance hall, I have to stop myself from saying to everyone, ‘Well, this is nice, but really you should see my piano.’" She laughs. "I spoiled myself by buying my Steinway so young and keeping it so long. Now nothing else will do."

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Mark A. Chapman 1943-2014
Kansas State University Photography Services

As seen in the Winter 2015 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Throughout the impressive infrastructure of Kansas State University, Mark A. Chapman’s generosity abounds. There is an art gallery, a center for rural studies, a plaza in the College of Veterinary Medicine, a basketball training room and new stained glass windows in Hale Library that proudly bear his legacy.

So who better to lead the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance in its quest to become an All-Steinway institution?

While Mr. Chapman initially felt the project did not align with his philanthropic goals, he told Sheila Walker, Director of Development for the College of Arts and Sciences, to revisit him about the possibility. A Kansas State undergraduate with a law degree from the University of Texas; he was a savvy investor in the oil and gas industries. However, his artistic passions centered on poetry and painting, and he self-deprecatingly confessed to being unable to find Middle C after five years of piano lessons.

A breakthrough occurred when Mr. Chapman watched a Steinway video with interviews of people describing what the Steinway brand meant to them on a personal and professional level. After seeing some of the older pianos in the music department, he was introduced to Amanda Arrington, a collaborative pianist.

Dr. Gary Mortenson, School of Music Director said, "When Amanda sat down and played for him, in that very instant he realized the potential impact of his gift. It was one of the most satisfying moments of my entire experience as a music administrator." He continued, "Mark A. Chapman understood quality and he trusted his instincts. At the end, his ability to assimilate what the Steinway name means allowed him to decide that this was a real investment."

Regrettably, Mr. Chapman passed away in April, just days before most of the 40 new Steinway-designed pianos arrived through the efforts of Tom Wennblom, regional sales manager of Schmitt Music Co. in Kansas City.

What has transpired since then would have delighted the longtime donor.

"In a recent Kansas Music Teachers Association Competition our students placed well in a number of categories and had their best showing in many years," Dr. Mortenson said. "They love these pianos and treat them with respect. We want that reverence to continue as these fantastic instruments pass from one generation to the next."

He reports there are plenty of smiles in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance’s two main recital venues: All Faiths Chapel, where a Steinway D and Kirmser Hall where a Steinway B reside respectively. "These pianos respond with great consistency at all dynamic levels and in all ranges. I love hearing how they support our best musicians who are inspired to dig deeper and play with more passion. What can be better than a superb blend of quality and talent coming together to make new ideas possible?"

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As seen in the Winter 2015 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Drs. David Keith, John Dickson and R. Kirby Godsey, Orion Weiss, Joan S. Godsey; Chris Syllaba and Ike Van Meter of Steinway Piano Galleries Atlanta; Sally Coveleskie and Tommy Edds of Steinway & Sons.

They crossed paths at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary more than half a century ago, beginning a strong and enduring relationship along a storybook tour of colleges and houses of worship across the South.

Born in Hattiesburg, Miss., Joan Stockstill started piano at age 7, a skill that would serve her well in lifelong ministry to the church. Receiving a bachelor’s degree in Music from Mississippi College, she moved to New Orleans to pursue master degrees in Church Music and Religious Education, eventually becoming a teacher in the School of Music. Meanwhile, R. Kirby Godsey just left Samford University with a bachelor’s degree in History and Religion, attending the Seminary to complete his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Theology degrees.

The couple married in 1959 and then in 1962 moved to Marion, Ala. During the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Godsey served as a professor at Judson College and Joan helped launch a Head Start program to serve underprivileged children.

Having three children and one yet to be born, they would return to New Orleans. Dr. Godsey continued his studies at Tulane University, receiving a Ph.D. in Philosophy while Joan played the organ at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church. After another stop at Averett College in Danville, Va., the road ultimately led to Macon.

In 1979, Dr. Godsey became the 17th President of Mercer University. Under his unprecedented 27-year tenure, the institution grew with the addition of seven colleges and schools, including the Townsend School of Music. Joan became organist-choir master at Northminster Presbyterian Church and later at First Baptist Church, where she was ordained as a deacon. In 2005, Joan was honored as Distinguished Churchwoman of the Year by the Baptist Women in Ministry of Georgia.

Becoming Chancellor in 2006, Dr. Godsey looked for the best way to express his respect and devotion to Joan, who, for him was an extraordinary woman. So quietly, he gifted $1.5 million to purchase nearly 40 new Steinway pianos, establish an endowment for future maintenance and create the Joan S. Godsey Center for Keyboard Studies at All-Steinway Mercer University.

The news came as a complete surprise to Joan, admittedly astounded when Mercer President William Underwood made the announcement during a board meeting.

"When Dr. Godsey announced his intention to fund this project. I was extremely grateful, appreciative and humbled," said Dean C. David Keith of the Townsend School. "He exhibits confidence in our commitment to excellence and desires us to have the best instruments available for our students and faculty. As an All-Steinway School, we now have the finest keyboards to complement our outstanding music facilities."

An anonymous donor provided the initial All-Steinway gift in 2011, when then-Dean John Dickson and Distinguished Soloist Elizabeth Pridgen went to New York to select the instrument that is now Mercer’s primary concert piano. Dr. Dickson first approached Dr. Godsey with the idea of recognizing Mrs. Godsey through the gift of music. After accepting another position at a school in Louisiana, he passed the torch to Dr. Keith.

Dr. Keith worked closely with Ike Van Meter of Steinway Piano Galleries of Alpharetta-Atlanta, who provided an inventory analysis and refined a list of models to best fit Mercer’s needs. With the belief that pianos are the backbone of all performing arts, Dr. Keith said, "In the classrooms, rehearsal spaces and practice rooms, the keyboard aids the student in developing a deeper understanding of music. It is the foundation in every musical discipline." Dr. Keith said.

Dr. Godsey said, "We are pleased to see the progress within The Townsend School of Music. This gift enabled us both to undergird and enhance the future of the School and to honor Joan, an outstanding musician who was my partner in the leadership of the University."

In September, the Joan S. Godsey Center for Keyboard Studies hosted the first in a planned series of concerts with a beautiful and deeply moving performance by Steinway Artist Orion Weiss.

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News & Events

As seen in the Winter 2015 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Professor Timothy Hester has performed at celebrated venues throughout North America, Europe and East Asia. But staring up at the Friday night lights of TDECU Stadium, the Director of Keyboard Collaborative Arts at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music knew he was in for something extraordinary.

A graduate of The Juilliard School, he fused a red and black Steinway grand piano with the Spirit of Houston Marching Band for a rousing halftime rendition of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Rising to the occasion, the Houston Cougars went on to win the Oct. 17th game against the Temple Owls.

The Moores School of Music is closing in on its goal of becoming an All-Steinway School, with an anonymous donor pledging $5 million for 170 new Steinway pianos. The school is looking to raise another $1 million for a maintenance endowment to complete the partnership with Steinway & Sons.

Professor Hester was kind enough to go behind the scenes with The Steinway Chronicle after this electrifying show.

Q: Did you face any unusual challenges inside the stadium?

A: "Playing an outdoor arena was particularly challenging in terms of ensemble. Our wonderful conductor, Marc Martin, not only had to keep track of me, but also had to lead with great strength while the band was moving all over the field! All of them were playing by memory and with such great skill, though, that it came together quite well. The Cougar Red Steinway was outstanding and responded perfectly to my touch, and the tone came across with all the nuanced colors that I could imagine. Despite a tremendously hot afternoon rehearsal, the piano stayed remarkably well in tune and responded beautifully to the evening change in temperature."

Q: Did Steinway Artist George Gershwin find a new audience in the stands that night?

A: "Yes, the response was incredible! In addition to listening to this piece live, along with invigorating drumline parts enhancing the music, they were able to hear the piano sounding alone as well as with the band. I was positively thrilled by their reaction."

Q: What did you take away from this performance?

A: "This truly surreal experience will stay with me forever. Our wonderful band director, David Bertman, had this great idea and with the help of Bryan Elmore and Steinway Piano Gallery Houston, made it come to life. The students succeeded with this tremendous challenge, and I realized how excellent our school is to be able to create something so special and pull it off in such a spectacular way."

Q: From your perspective in the classroom, what impact will the All-Steinway designation have on students?

A: "It will enable our students to prepare their music with the best instruments on earth. All of our vocalists and instrumentalists will be supported by accompaniments that can soar across the sonic spectrum of colors with endless possibilities. Our chamber groups will be able to rehearse and trust that when they go in for coaching or perform on our stages, the integrity of their work will come through as they had hoped. And most importantly, the music will be served at the highest possible level. Our young artists will be perched to embark on great careers, groomed by their positive experiences on Steinway pianos."

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Steinway & Sons, maker of the world’s finest pianos, announced today that two-time GRAMMY Award winner Robert Glasper has officially been added to the roster of Steinway Artists. The designation recognizes a select group of world-class pianists who have chosen to perform exclusively on The Family of Steinway-Designed pianos. The acclaimed jazz pianist/producer joins an illustrious roster that includes some of the most dynamic names in piano, including Billy Joel, Lang Lang, Diana Krall, Jason Moran, and Harry Connick, Jr., as well as immortal legends such as Vladimir Horowitz and Irving Berlin.

Darren Marshall, Chief Marketing Officer of Steinway & Sons, said of the appointment, "Robert Glasper is not only a brilliant musician and a GRAMMY winner, he is truly an innovator that blends the worlds of R&B, jazz and hip-hop in a way that hasn’t been heard since Miles Davis."  Marshall added, "We are proud to welcome Robert to our family of Steinway Artists and honored that he has chosen us to help bring his music to audiences throughout the world."

"Steinway means individuality, perfection, personality, swag, diligence and excellence," said Robert Glasper. "I am proud to join that family."

Ten years after making his Blue Note debut, and following two GRAMMY-winning volumes of his critically and commercially successful R&B-oriented Black Radio albums, Glasper has announced a return to his acclaimed acoustic jazz trio for his new album, Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio recorded live at Capitol Studios), which will be released June 16 on Blue Note Records.

Glasper recently also won his 2nd GRAMMY Award when Robert Glasper Experiment’s Stevie Wonder cover "Jesus Children Of America" from Black Radio 2 won the award for Best Traditional R&B Performance. http://www.robertglasper.com/

About Robert Glasper
Houston native Robert Glasper had a strong musical influence in his mother who played piano and sang gospel music in church as well as in jazz and blues clubs. After moving to New York City to study at New School University, Glasper began performing with Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett, Terence Blanchard, and Roy Hargrove. After releasing his debut album Mood in 2003, Glasper signed to Blue Note Records.

Two acclaimed acoustic albums followed—Canvas (2005) and In My Element (2007) before he perfectly captured his unique duality with 2009’s Double-Booked which juxtaposed his acoustic Trio and hip hop-infused Experiment band. RGX’s 2012 breakout Black Radio featured numerous notable vocalists and laid out a new paradigm for creative music reaching beyond entrenched genre boundaries to create a singular vision that drew from all reaches of contemporary black music, and won Best R&B Album at the 2013 GRAMMY Awards. RGX upped the ante with Black Radio 2 (2013), another genre-defying effort that took the Black Radio blueprint and built to even greater heights, winning Glasper a 2nd GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance.

For media inquiries:
Aliza Rabinoff
DKC
212-981-5157
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Alyssa Winters
DKC
212-981-5220
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About Steinway Artists
The designation of Steinway Artist is bestowed to select pianists, who prefer to perform on only Steinway & Sons pianos and who have successfully completed a rigorous selection process; it is never a paid endorsement. All Steinway Artists are also proud personal owners of Steinway & Sons pianos.

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On January 13, about one month shy of his one-hundredth birthday, Steinway Artist Frank Glazer passed away in Brunswick, Maine. He was a longtime friend of the House of Steinway and a passionate champion of Steinway & Sons pianos. He will be greatly missed.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Glazer studied music in Milwaukee public schools until after high school, when he traveled to Germany to study with Austrian classical pianist Artur Schnabel. Glazer made his New York debut in 1936, followed by a debut with the Boston Symphony in 1939. Then, throughout a remarkable career spanning eight decades, Glazer became known as a consummate pianist, an astute researcher of technique, and a dedicated teacher.

After Army service in World War II as an interpreter, Glazer studied anatomy and became invested in finding a relaxed, ergonomic method of playing that—he believed—would preserve his body’s strength and agility and thus lengthen his career. For the next seventy years, Glazer indeed performed with a speed and precision that stunned his contemporaries, even as he aged into his eighties and nineties.

Glazer taught piano at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, for fifteen years. Upon his retirement, he and his wife Ruth moved to Kezar Falls, Maine. Since 1980, Glazer was an Artist in Residence at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where he frequently gave recitals and often played concerti with the student orchestra, even into his later years. As recently as one memorable evening last fall, he played five full Beethoven Sonatas in one performance. In 2011, he received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Bates College.

In addition to his significant contributions to the piano world, Glazer also had strong ties to the Steinway family through his friendship with the company’s fifth president, Henry Ziegler Steinway.

"He was a personal friend and contemporary of my uncle, Henry Z. Steinway, and would have lunch with Hank any time he came through New York," said Edward Zinsser Walworth, the son of Henry’s sister-in-law Nancy Zinsser. (Nancy’s older sister Polly was Henry’s wife.) Walworth was a community member of the Bates College orchestra, and as such he played and performed with Glazer frequently over the last thirty years.

"Frank was ever the gentleman and was more than approachable by students and strangers alike," Walworth said. "He was a great raconteur and would entertain friends for hours with stories, some dating back to vaudeville theaters in Milwaukee and to his lessons with Artur Schnabel in Berlin. Fifty years after his debut concert at Town Hall in New York, he repeated the same program here at Bates."

"Into his hundredth year, Frank was always searching for the truth of any piece of music he played, and he knew it was his business to find it," said Dr. James Parakilas, Bates College Professor of Music. "He never took a vacation from practicing, and because he was so comfortable with his own mission, he could be endlessly generous to others."

Glazer had planned to celebrate his birthday with a series of concerts, including performances at Bates College and one in his native Wisconsin on what would have been his 100th birthday, February 19.

"Frank’s fingers and mind never aged, and it is obvious that music and the piano—need I say a Steinway—kept him going. How unfortunate that his heart gave out just short of his centennial," said Walworth.

"We mortals, too, are not insensitive to the best," Frank Glazer wrote on a signed photograph presented to Steinway & Sons in 2006. The House of Steinway mourns the loss of a great performer, artist, teacher, and friend. Glazer was a man passionately attached to the Steinway legacy; his loyalty and support will long be remembered.

Frank Glazer’s life and work are the subject of a comprehensive biography, The Fountain of Youth: the Artistry of Frank Glazer, written by internationally-renowned pianist Duncan J. Cumming, one of Glazer’s most dedicated students and a professor of piano at the University of Albany. Later this spring, there will be a commemorative concert at Bates College to honor the legacy of Frank Glazer.

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Steinway & Sons is proud to extend congratulations to Steinway Artist Arturo O’Farrill, recipient of a 2015 Grammy Award, as well as the five other Steinway Artists who earned Grammy nominations this year: Kenny Barron, Leon Fleisher, Fred Hersch, Brad Mehldau, and Jason Moran. Since 1958, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ Grammy Awards have recognized outstanding achievement in the music industry. Steinway & Sons is proud to have a long tradition of Grammy representation in a wide range of musical categories.

Arturo O’Farrill received the Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album this year for The Offense of The Drum featuring The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. The album engages more than 30 types of percussion to explore new territories for Afro Latin jazz, including big band influences and the sounds of Afro-Caribbean rhythms. This is O’Farrill’s second Grammy award and his fourth Grammy nomination

In addition, five other Steinway Artists earned nominations for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, which were held this year on February 8.

  • Kenny Barron, Best Improvised Jazz Solo for his performance of Herbie Hancock’s The Eye of the Hurricane on the album Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio. The trio consists of Barron on piano, Gerry Gibbs on drums, and Ron Carter on bass. This is Barron’s ninth Grammy nomination.
  • Leon Fleisher, Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his performance in All the Things You Are. Fleisher’s first solo album in nearly a decade, All the Things You Are is composed of works by George Perle, Leon Kirchner, Dina Koston, Federico Mompou, George Gershwin, and Jerome Kern. This recording features largely works for the left hand, including Bach’s Chaconne, arranged for left hand by Brahms.
  • Fred Hersch, Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Floating, and a second nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for the same work. The album showcases Hersch’s original compositions and features his primary ensemble featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson. It contains seven new compositions by Hersch and music by Deitz & Schwartz, Lerner & Loewe, and Thelonious Monk.
  • Brad Mehldau, Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for "Sleeping Giant," performed with drummer Mark Guiliana on the album Mehliana: Taming the Dragon. Five-time Grammy nominee Mehldau executed this boundary-pushing synthesizer performance at the Largo cabaret in Los Angeles.
  • Jason Moran, Best Jazz Instrumental Album for All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller. Moran’s latest album, a collaboration with bassist and vocalist Meshell Ndegeocello, features a modern yet reverent recast of music by the legendary stride piano innovator and entertainer Fats Waller.

"Once again, Steinway Artists made us very proud at the Grammy Awards," said Ron Losby, President of Steinway & Sons Americas. "The nominations our Artists received honor work that crosses boundaries, explores new directions, and uphold musical traditions. It’s a very diverse group of musicians, and the nominations are richly deserved."

For a full listing of 2015 Grammy Award nominees, visit www.grammy.com/nominees.

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As seen in the Winter 2015 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Yushi Lin, a music student at Syracuse University, performs Hungarian Rhapsody No. 11 by Franz Liszt.

Late afternoon sunlight poured through stained glass windows at historic Crouse College on the campus of Syracuse University, guiding listeners through a celestial melodic journey of Liszt, Gershwin and Rachmaninoff, among others.

Students and faculty at the Setnor School of Music took turns performing on two magnificent Steinway concert grands inside the wooden Romanesque auditorium, packed with alumni visiting for October’s Homecoming Weekend.

Dr. Patrick M. Jones

"It was a treat, and it made me proud to hear so many fine pianists bring our new high polished Steinways to life," said Dr. Patrick M. Jones, Setnor School of Music Director. "It made me realize that these remarkable instruments will be enjoyed by a generation of performers and audience members alike."

The All-Steinway campaign marks another chapter in Setnor’s rich history as the school seeks to acquire more than 60 new pianos. In 1877, Syracuse became the first university in the United States to grant a degree in music and require four years of study in both music and theory.

Members of the Setnor School of Music keyboard faculty, from left, Ida Tili-Trebicka, Kathleen Haddock, Fred Karpoff, Steven Heyman and Amy Giller Heyman.

In attendance were Syracuse Professor Emeritus Harold Jones and his wife, Barbara, who graciously donated one of the Model D’s as part of the $2.5 million initiative. Campaign chair Jennie Berkson and her husband, trustee David Edelstein, contributed the other on stage Model D as a lead gift. Donor Marylyn Ginsburg-Klaus provided a Model B, also selected from the Steinway factory.

With the Model D’s back to back, faculty members Steven Heyman and Ida Tili-Tre- bicka jumped into "Down the Field" – SU’s fight song – as cameras rolled for ESPN. Nearly two million people watching the Orange battle top-ranked Florida State at the Carrier Dome saw Steinway close-ups during the game. Syracuse came up a bit short on the football field, but if the concert is any indication, it is resolutely destined to become the first All-Steinway School in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Images by SU Photo and Imaging Center

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The Boston Chronicle

The 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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As seen in the Winter 2015 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

The Curtis Institute of Music 1924-2014
Moskow photo

On October 13, 1924, Mary Louise Bok opened the wrought-iron doors of the Curtis Institute and offered talented young musicians the fulfillment of a dream, to prepare for careers as performing artists at the highest professional level. She would dedicate this brand new conservatory on Philadelphia’s prestigious Rittenhouse Square to her father, Cyrus H.K. Curtis, whose vast publishing empire included The Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal. Her friends, Leopold Stokowski, conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra and legendary pianist Josef Hofmann helped Mrs. Bok attract a highly celebrated artist faculty. Inspired by expectations, Maestro Stokowski predicted that Curtis would become "the most important musical institution in the country, perhaps in the world," according to the Curtis Archives.

Lenfest Hall opened in September 2011, doubling the size of the school’s campus.
Tom Crane photo

Curtis’s rare tuition-free policy was established in 1928 and to this day provides merit-based full-tuition scholarships for all Curtis students, undergraduate and graduate alike. Students continue to be accepted for study at Curtis solely on the basis of their artistic talent and potential.

The Curtis Promise, celebrating the partnership with Steinway & Sons, was born to accompany this vision of excellence. The Promise assures that Curtis students will have a Steinway grand piano for use throughout their studies to help them reach their fullest artistic potential. An All-Steinway School, Curtis owns 95 Steinway grand pianos.

The 90th anniversary between Curtis and Steinway & Sons is being recognized through the celebration of its shared history. When illustrious Steinway Hall at 109 West 57th Street in New York City held its grand opening gala on October 27, 1925, Josef Hofmann was among the notable artists who performed that evening. The distinguished high society audience members included Cyrus H.K.Curtis and his managing editor, Edward Bok who joined others such as Mrs. Andrew Carnegie, George Eastman, S.R. Guggenheim, Frederick Juilliard, Mr. & Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Mr. & Mrs. Archibald Roosevelt and Mr. & Mrs. Carl Stoeckel, along with hosts Mr. & Mrs. Frederick Steinway, Theodore E. and William R. Steinway.

Some 70 years later, Steinway Hall set the stage again for another momentous performance when future Curtis alum Lang Lang would make his American debut at age 14 with the encouragement of Gary Graffman, then-president of the Curtis Institute. As alumni or faculty, more than fifty pianists associated with the Curtis Institute hold the distinction of being called Steinway Artists.

Gary Graffman and Lang Lang perform together in Beijing’s Center for the Performing Arts in November 2014 celebrating the 10th anniversary of Steinway & Sons in China.

Jacobs Music Company, owned by the Rinaldi family, is Steinway’s authorized dealer in Philadelphia and has supported the Curtis Institute for more than 25 years. Gabrielle Kazze Rinaldi, Jacobs’ Executive Vice-President, serves as Secretary to the Curtis Board of Overseers and is a member of the Student Life Committee. Steinway & Sons and Jacobs Music look forward to continuing this extraordinary partnership with our lifelong friends at the Curtis Institute.

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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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New York, NY (February 2, 2015) – Ukraine-born pianist Stanislav Khristenko has officially been added to the roster of Steinway Artists. The designation recognizes a select group of pianists who have chosen to perform exclusively on The Family of Steinway-Designed pianos.

Khristenko has been closely associated with Steinway & Sons since his debut album, Fantasies, was released on the Steinway & Sons recording label in 2014. The album was heralded by critics, including Gramophone’s Jed Distler, who remarked that the collection represents fantasies "ranging from tiny jewel to epic canvas" and All Music Guide’s James Manheim, who wrote that the album "lives up to the high standards that have been set by the Steinway & Sons label. Highly recommended."
 "I am very excited about becoming a Steinway Artist. I’ve been playing on Steinway pianos since early childhood, and it is a big honor to be recognized by the company among top pianists from all over the world. It is an event of a lifetime for me," said Khristenko. "Steinway & Sons has a great future in the 21st century, and I am looking forward to joining forces with the company to build a better future for classical music as a member of the Steinway family."

A "poet of piano," and "an architect of grand style" (Le Soir), Khristenko has appeared as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Belgium, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, the Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, and the Moscow Conservatory Orchestra. His career includes solo recitals at Carnegie Hall and performances with orchestras in Berlin’s Grosser Hall, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Moscow Conservatory Great Hall, and Hong Kong City Hall. He is a graduate of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

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LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (December 22, 2014) – On November 29, the “Connected in Music—Steinway China 10th Anniversary Gala Concert” was staged at the National Center for the performing Arts in Beijing to an audience of more than 1,600 guests. The concert was the final episode of Steinway’s year-long celebration of its 10th anniversary in the China market. Performers included Lang Lang, Gary Graffman, the Philharmonia String Quartet, the Central Conservatory of Music CHINA Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the award-winning young conductor Yu Lu.

Steinway & Sons in China - 10th Anniversary Gala
Gary Graffman, Lang Lang and other musicians onstage at the
Steinway China 10th Anniversary Gala Concert

The evening also marked the launch of ten “Steinway China 10th Anniversary” Special Edition pianos, the most representative of which is the “China First,” a handmade piano that took two years to create and that was inspired by the first Steinway piano brought to China in 1880. The other nine pianos are crafted with finishes of seven of the world’s rarest species of wood: Special Macassar, Grenadillo Pearl, Pyramid Mahogany, Ziricote, Padouk, Elm Burl, and Rose Oak.

The gala commemorated a decade of tremendous development for Steinway in China. As of 2014, Steinway’s Chinese business has risen to 10% of its global sales. “In Steinway’s global business, China plays a very important role,” said Werner Husmann, President of Steinway Pianos Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. “Over the past decade, with its successful marketing model, Steinway has laid a solid foundation in logistics, warehousing, and technical services, creating a good platform for Steinway’s growth both in China and the Asia-Pacific region.”

Steinway & Sons CEO, Michael Sweeney
Michael Sweeney, CEO, Steinway & Sons

“We are deeply encouraged by our Chinese friends, by how much they love music and how highly they value quality,” said Michael Sweeney, President and CEO of Steinway & Sons Worldwide. “In order to deepen and expand our partnerships, we are committed to ongoing and significant investment in China.”

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Sonia Andikelian is good with multitasking, always has been. Two decades ago, back in her native Armenia, the mother of three and grandmother of seven was head nurse in a surgery unit at one of the capital Yereva’s busiest hospitals. Prior to that, she had a career in a hematology institute, and in both of those roles she honed that uncanny ability—often a hallmark of healthcare professionals—to juggle dozens of disparate tasks, often under tight time constraints and with inviolate procedural precision.

That’s a good thing for Steinway & Sons, where Sonia has applied her organizational magic for nearly twenty years. As lead woman in the Steinway factory’s legendary action department, Sonia is responsible for a team of more than a dozen people, all of whom engross themselves daily in the task of creating and piecing together the intricate action assembly that drives each note emitted from a Steinway & Sons piano.

It’s no small feat. But Sonia’s no small talent. She brings an infectious passion and a love of the instrument to her job. She also brings a detail-minded precision and an insistence on perfection. It’s in her blood, after all. Taking care of Steinway pianos, just like taking care of people, is a labor of love.

In the Neighborhood

Sonia’s day begins early. She’s out of the house before seven-thirty each workday—rain, snow, or shine—to walk the ten minutes from her home on 21st Avenue down the sloping streets of Astoria to the Steinway factory abutting Luyster Creek off the East River. She’s lived in the same home for twenty years, and in fact she found her position at Steinway through a neighbor—long since retired—who sang the praises of working at the old factory just blocks away from their homes. "I’m lucky," Sonia admits, appreciating her proximity when compared to the long commutes of some of her co-workers. "It’s easy."

Once at the factory, she clocks in and makes her way up to the second floor, where the action department, an expansive workroom filled with an intricate network of saws, vacuums, worktables, and precision fitting instruments, will soon be buzzing with activity. The not-unpleasing scents of sawdust and wood glue compete for supremacy here, and the department is kept brightly lit to assist the workers with the close tasks of action assembly.

The day unfolds quickly: soon the workroom is a hive of wood, felt, pins, and hands. When completed, each action assembly functions like a delicate wooden spider to deliver a decisive hammer blow to its waiting string and thus create the legendary sound of a Steinway piano. The process of creating the action assembly is long, complex, and intricate. Through each stage, Sonia is there—leaning in to lend an extra set of hands or standing back to look for opportunities to help.

"I think the fact that she was a head nurse in Armenia helps her bring a great deal of leadership to her role here," said Milind Chavre, Foreman of the Action Department. "She has a great deal on her plate, a great deal of responsibility. She takes it in stride. She’s naturally gifted at working with people. It’s very impressive."

A Piece of the Action

Steinway & Sons is the only American piano builder to manufacture its own action assemblies, and each intricate unit is created on the second floor of the Steinway factory under Sonia’s and Milind’s watchful eyes. The action mechanism consists of 58 parts, and each piano contains a full set of 88 different mechanisms to correspond to the keys. The felt and metal components come from hand-picked suppliers, but every wooden part is cut, carved, and finished in-house.

Steinway & Sons is well known as the architect of a number of patents that changed the course of piano manufacturing, and the metal action frame that Sonia works with today is one example. C.F. Theodore Steinway, son of the company’s founder Henry E. Steinway, invented and patented a unique tubular metal frame for the action in 1868. This frame contributes to the unparalleled durability and strength of the Steinway action.

In Sonia’s department, bespectacled workers take this legendary metal frame and use it as the foundation for dozens of wooden, metal, and textile pieces, some no bigger than a raisin. They fabricate spindly wooden pieces out of knot-free maple and fashion hammer heads out of virgin wool felt. It’s a time-honored process that has continued unchanged since the mid-1800s. And Sonia is proud to be a steward of the tradition.

"I feel good," Sonia says, when asked about her role with Steinway & Sons. "I’m happy here. I have great friends who work together well and respect each other. It’s like a family. And not just that—it’s a family proud of its legacy. That’s a good feeling."

When the end-of-shift whistle sounds in the late afternoon, with only a ten-minute walk before her, Sonia is most likely the first Steinway & Sons factory worker to arrive home. It’s a good life, she says. She pauses a moment, thinking, taking stock of it all: her family, the home-life, the two decades building the legacy of Steinway & Sons pianos. "I’m rich," she says simply.

CAN’T MISS: Take a close look at the intricate mechanism of the Steinway & Sons action assembly in this independently-produced video:

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Isabel Leonard, Kristine Opolais, Andris Nelsons, Choir Competition in Riga, Opera in China, Kung Fu in Vienna and a return to Twin Peaks

The winter 2014 issue of Listen: Life with Music & Culture offers a cold-weather cocktail equal parts down-home comfort and exotic escapism with a twist of history.

On the cover is rising Metropolitan Opera star Isabel Leonard who talks with Listen Editor-in-Chief Ben Finane about raising the bar on acting in the opera world, finding a way in to contemporary music, Frozen vs. La bohème, and her love of Mozart recitative.

In a candid conversation with Robert Levine, her fellow singer Kristine Opolais disagrees on that final point, admitting that she has "no passion" for Mozart (although she does love Tina Turner). This unpretentious egalitarianism and discerning musicality is also a major component of her husband Andris Nelsons’ new role as music director of the Boston Symphony, according to Rebecca Schmid’s profile of the maestro. Nelsons and Opolais are the international ambassadors of their home country of Latvia, a country that, according to Marcia Adair’s report from the 2014 World Choir Games in Riga, is in the midst of a musical and cultural renaissance.

Across the world, Western classical music is taking China by storm. Ken Smith stops short of calling the influx of Western operas a "boom" but there’s no denying that the 50 new opera houses and performing arts centers across the country demand programming that goes beyond Turandot. Shanghai’s new hall has been cheerfully nicknamed "the wonton wrapper," and Ben Finane reports on a recent visit by New York Philharmonic principal players to the city to share secrets of good ensemble playing with young Chinese. Meanwhile at Vienna’s Shaolin Kung Fu Center, Jens F. Laurson survived to tell about a mind-opening practice session with pianist Andreas Haefliger.

Back stateside, Thomas May reports on a new opera company that has miraculously sprouted in San Antonio and that has, of all things, a composer as its artistic director, and Amanda MacBlane talks to 32-year-old conductor Ward Stare about becoming music director of his hometown orchestra in Rochester, New York. Mark Mobley asks why the return of the cult American television series Twin Peaks should "matter to any non-nerd" and looks for an answer in the show’s intrinsically musical DNA.

Plus: A survey of high design in music hall construction covering England, Spain, South Korea, Azerbaijan, China and Norway delivers enticing eye candy à la Dwell; Ben Finane visits with Kent Nagano in Montréal; Violinist Arnold Steinhardt wrestles with his conscience over taking his therapeutic annual break from practicing; Atlanta-native Mark Mobley reminisces of Robert Shaw’s legendary tenure at the helm of the now dishearteningly beleaguered Atlanta Symphony; Brian Wise traces violinist Stefan Jackiw’s atypical trajectory from Korean classical boy band to sought-after recitalist via Harvard; Jed Distler and Damian Fowler dig into monstrous new biographies of critic and composer Virgil Thomson and playwright Tennessee Williams, respectively; Up-and-coming pianist Christian Sands talks jazz with Ben Finane; and Jens F. Laurson pays tribute to Loren Maazel.

Our critics listen their way through 15 new recordings including Benjamin Grosvenor’s danceable sophomore release from Decca, soprano Joyce Di Donato’s enchanting new bel canto collection, early Schubert that "goes for the jugular" from the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, a surround sound edition of John Luther Adams’ Pulitzer-winning Become Ocean, and Anna Netrebko burning it up in Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arca.

Plus, much, much more in the winter 2014 issue of Listen: Life with Music & Culture.

About Listen Magazine
A multi-award-winning print quarterly hailed by Library Journal as one of the best new magazines of 2009, Listen Magazine is the voice of music and culture, delivering interviews with the world’s top musicians, feature articles, think pieces, festival coverage, insight into the masterworks and unsung works, as well as recommendations for the best in music on record, on screen, in print and online. No one covers the breadth and depth of music and culture with greater elegance and enthusiasm than Listen.

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

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New York, NY (September 24, 2014) – Steinway & Sons, makers of the finest pianos in the world, is proud to announce the unveiling of a one-of-a-kind instrument: a miniature replica of the historic 1903 Steinway White House grand piano. Created by master artist Paul Gentile, the miniature piano represents more than sixteen years of meticulous design, production, and finishing. It is a fully-functional 1:7 scale grand piano, the first non-company instrument ever to earn the designation of Steinway & Sons piano. The piano is offered for sale at a seven-figure price point.

The original 1903 Steinway White House piano served through the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Roosevelt; it was then donated to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Paul Gentile’s 1:7 miniature of this legendary instrument stays true to every single aspect of the piano’s mechanical construction and artistic finishing. Working by hand and often with the aid of a jeweler’s loupe, Gentile replicated the thousands of parts required to build an actionable Steinway piano. For many of these parts, he had to first build miniature tooling, including a scale replica of the venerable rim press devised and patented by the Steinway family in the 1870s.

Gentile finished the art case of the piano with a meticulously-crafted replica of the original instrument, complete with its exquisite Impressionistic top mural, intricate carvings, expansive gilding, and ornate legs. The final piece is an homage to an iconic piece of musical tradition and American history.


Download hi-res print version

“Everybody in the world wants to be like Steinway,” Gentile said, “and the reason why Steinway is successful, why they’ve been around this long and are still going strong, is because they’ve done it right. They’ve created something that works and works well. This level of integrity is acquired through many, many years of experience. Knowing that, and having the opportunity to work with people who think the same way I do as far as maintaining standards of the highest level—that was something that I related to.”

“There are more than 12,000 parts in a Steinway grand piano, and Paul replicated each one of those 12,000 parts by hand to make a working model of a Steinway concert grand piano,” said Ron Losby, President, Steinway & Sons – Americas. “It’s very hard to put a monetary value on this item, since there is literally nothing else like it in the world.”

Steinway & Sons has recognized the Paul Gentile miniature piano as an official Steinway & Sons piano. “All these years the company has been so patient, and as an end result they’ve come to the conclusion that I did it, that I actually captured the essence of Steinway,” Gentile said. “I didn’t know I could actually do that. It’s like going beyond the sound barrier.”


Download hi-res print version

To view a short documentary on the Paul Gentile Steinway White House Piano in Miniature, visit www.youtube.com/SteinwayOfficial. and for more information on the piano, visit http://mini.steinway.com. The piano was unveiled for the first time to the public at an event last night at Steinway Hall in New York City. 

About Paul Gentile
Canadian artist Paul Gentile was born in Quebec and currently lives near Toronto. His work in miniatures has won the acclaim of fine artists and mechanical craftsmen for its incredible attention to detail and integrity of construction. His renowned “Gentile Collection” of famous historic classical instruments included remarkably detailed, historically accurate miniatures of the 1679 Heller Stradivarius Violin; the Selmer Mark VI alto saxophone; the 1688 Antonio Stradivari Guitar; the 1701 Antonio Stradivari “Servais” Cello; the 1785 Vincenzo Panormo Double Bass; and the 1931 Eugene Sartori Double Bass Bow. Two of each piece were created; one set has been sold, and the other is available for acquisition. 

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Renowned for her essential recordings and performances of exceptional yet overlooked repertoire by women composers, pianist Joanne Polk celebrates the great French Romantic composer Cécile Chaminade on this new disc from the Steinway & Sons label that transports us to the glittering salons of fin de siècle Paris – available September 9, 2014.

As a recording artist and recitalist, Joanne Polk has made a name for herself as a persuasive advocate for the music of women composers from the 19th and 20th centuries. In the late 1990s her INDIE-award winning three-disc set of the complete piano works of Amy Beach, was praised by critics across the world and represented a watershed moment for the music of the American composer. She has since applied her formidable talents to illuminating the music of Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn, among others. On her latest recording, The Flatterer, her first on the Steinway & Sons label, Polk uncovers the expansive, virtuosic sound world of a major turn-of-the-century French Romantic, Cécile Chaminade.

September 19th Update: After release, this recording hit #1 on Billboard's Traditional Classical Chart.

Raised in Paris on a steady diet of Berlioz, Meyerbeer, Gounod, Bizet and Franck, Chaminade developed a distinctive personal voice, which shines on this selection of salon pieces hand-picked by Polk. Filled with technical glitz to rival Liszt, Chaminade’s works for solo piano possess an undeniably Parisian soul—spritely arpeggios float over rumbling tremolos in the bass, laissez-faire rubato gives way to dancing rhythms that evoke boozy soirées, and the enticing melodies vibrate between deep yearning and existential wonder.

Polk’s performance captures the technical splendor and passion of Chaminade’s music, embracing the velvety waves that role through the title track La Lisonjera (The Flatterer), the showmanship and sparkling effects of numerous finger jumbling études, and the erudite sensitivity needed for the epic Sonata in C minor, Op. 21, a true masterwork for the instrument. After this impressive journey, we are left to wonder why it took so long for Chaminade to enter the great pantheon of French music.

Pianist Joanne Polk was catapulted into the public eye with her recordings of the complete piano works of American composer Amy Beach (1867–1944). Ms. Polk celebrated the centennial of Beach’s Piano Concerto by giving the work its London premiere with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Barbican Center under the baton of Paul Goodwin. A few days later, she performed the Piano Concerto with the Women’s Philharmonic in San Francisco with conductor Apo Hsu in a performance the San Francisco Chronicle described as "brilliant."

The first recording in the Beach series, By the Still Waters, received the 1998 INDIE award for best solo recording. Empress of Night, the fifth volume of Ms. Polk’s survey of Beach’s piano works, includes the Piano Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra, Paul Goodwin conducting. The sixth volume, Morning Glories, joins Ms. Polk with the Lark Quartet in three chamber music works. Her all-Beach performances with the Lark Quartet at Merkin Concert Hall were applauded by the New York Times as "polished and assured." The American Record Guide reported, "Polk and the Larks played their hearts out. We in the audience shouted ourselves hoarse with gratitude."

Ms. Polk’s CD Completely Clara: Lieder by Clara Wieck Schumann, featuring Metropolitan Opera soprano Korliss Uecker, was selected as one of the "Best of the Year" by the Seattle Times and featured on NPR’s Performance Today. Ms. Polk’s CD Callisto (Albany Records) features the solo piano music of Judith Lang Zaimont. Her 2007 CD Songs of Amy Beach, recorded with baritone Patrick Mason for Bridge Records, was nominated for a 2007 Grammy Award. In 2010, Ms. Polk’s two-CD set of solo piano music by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Songs for Pianoforte, was released on the Newport Classic label. Ms. Polk’s most recent solo piano CD, Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, was released in June 2012 on the Bridge Records label.

Ms. Polk has performed in solo recitals, with chamber ensembles, and as a soloist with orchestras in Europe, the U.S., and Australia. With composer Judith Lang Zaimont, she co-founded American Accent, a contemporary music group specializing in coveted, repeat performances of new works.

Ms. Polk received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music. In August 2012, Ms. Polk was one of four directors who launched Manhattan in the Mountains, a two-week summer music festival in the Catskill Mountains, devoted to chamber music, solo performing, and community engagement.
Ms. Polk has been a member of the Manhattan School of Music piano faculty since 2010 and of the Precollege faculty since 2006. She is an exclusive 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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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:

News & Events

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

News & Events

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.

News & Events

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!”

News & Events

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.  

News & Events

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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News & Events

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

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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News & Events

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.

News & Events

News & Events

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.

News & Events

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.

News & Events

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.

News & Events

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.

News & Events

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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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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News & Events

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.”

News & Events

“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. 

News & Events

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. 

News & Events

News & Events

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. 

News & Events

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. 

News & Events

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.” 

News & Events

News & Events

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.  

News & Events

"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.

News & Events

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.”

News & Events

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.

News & Events

News & Events

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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

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