Lap of Luxury: Steinway Hall

August 12, 2016

NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - For this edition of the Lap of Luxury, Fox 5 visited Steinway Hall in Midtown Manhattan, the global flagship of Steinway & Sons.

We begin in the recital area with Ron Losby, President of Steinway & Sons for the Americas. Complete with 74 fixed seats, it's a state-of-the-art facility where Steinway can host performances, informational seminars, and musical gatherings. It's also equipped with state-of-the-art electronics that enable them to record and stream performances across the world, or receive performances right there.

That includes performances by Steinway artist and director of technology Sergio Salvatore, who played for us.

Last April, Steinway & Sons moved into this new facility, designed by Annabelle Selldorf, only the third Steinway Hall in the Company's 163-year history.

Losby describes Steinway as a very New York Company. He says that in the 1840s, Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg moved with his sons to New York as a cabinet maker by trade. He went to work for other piano companies here and in 1853 he felt he had enough knowledge and experience in the New World to open up Steinway & Sons.

The piano, the very shape of it, was designed and patented by Steinway. According to Losby, it's not a stretch to say that the modern grand piano of any brand was really something Steinway designed.

Today, every single Steinway piano in North America is handcrafted at Steinway's factory in Astoria, Queens, a process that gives each piano its own unique personality and takes nearly a year.

Losby says the remarkable thing about a Steinway is that it takes roughly 300 different individuals to work on each one, to bring it to the level that people are expecting and the musical quality of a Steinway piano.

Steinway has several different models all on display on the street-level retail space of Steinway Hall. From the 5-foot One Model S, which starts at $63,100, to the Model D Concert Grand starting at $160,900. 

There are even Limited Edition pianos, all of which the public is welcome to come in and play. One Limited Edition has artwork designed by John Lennon, the other was designed in collaboration with Lalique, the luxury French crystal brand.

But the new crown jewel in the Steinway Collection is Spirio, a high-resolution re-performance system that with the help of an iPad, plays back actual performances.

Losby says they're able to recreate the performances of some of the greatest artists who ever lived: George Gershwin, Thelonious Monk, Arthur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz.

They can actually take videos made in years past and through the magic of digital transformation, are able to play back their performance in your living room, while you watch them play.

The Spirio System is built into each Model B and Model M Steinway piano during manufacturing for an additional $15,000. Someday they hope it will change the way live music is streamed around the world. That is just another reason why New York-based Steinway & Sons is the ultimate in musical luxury.

David Arnold, senior vice president of publishing at Robb Report, calls Steinway the best of the best and says there really is no competition, but what they've done to marry technology with a traditional instrument is remarkable.



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