The most thoroughly handcrafted instruments in the world, Steinway pianos are as unique and full of personality as the world-class musicians who play them. However, in this age of mass production, their makers are a dying breed: skilled cabinet-makers, gifted tuners, thorough hand-crafters.
Independently produced by award-winning filmaker, Ben Niles, Note by Note follows the creation of a Steinway concert grand, #L1037, from forest floor to concert hall.
12 months, 12,000 parts, countless hours of fine-tuned labor
Each pianos journey is complex, spanning 12 months, 12,000 parts, and countless hours of fine-tuned labor. Filmed in key Steinway locations the factory, Steinway's reserved Bank, and the rooms of private auditions Note by Note is a loving celebration not just of craftsmanship, but of a dying breed of person who is deeply connected to working by hand. In the end, this is an ode to the most unexpected of unsung heroes. It reminds us how extraordinary the dialogue can be between an artist and an instrument crafted out of human hands but borne of the materials of nature.
Featuring famed pianists such as Harry Connick, Jr., and Lang Lang, Note by Note follows the year-long, hand-crafted creation of a Steinway concert grand piano from the forest floor to the concert hall.
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2009, 1hr 20min
About Filmmaker Ben Niles
Ben Niles is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His film, “Note By Note (The Making of Steinway L1037),” won top honors at the Sarasota Film Festival, was nominated for an IDA award, selected to the prestigious American Film Showcase and has screened in over 30 countries. It has now been translated into 5 languages and has aired nationally on PBS since 2009. His sophomore effort, “Some Kind of Spark” was also selected to the American Film Showcase and aired on PBS. His latest film, “The 5 Browns: Digging Through the Darkness,” has won multiple awards (Impact Doc Award; Audience Award Best Documentary: Naples Film Festival) and premiered at the IFC Theatre in 2019. Learn More
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