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Julliard’s Practice rooms continue a Steinway grand tradition!

NEW YORK, NY – At the House of Juilliard in the heart of historic Lincoln Center resides one of the world’s largest inventories of Steinway & Sons pianos: Steinways on concert stages, in practice rooms, faculty studios, classrooms and dance studios.

Chief Piano Technician Mario Igrec said the school owns approximately 260 pianos – 248 are Steinways and 231 of those are Steinway grands. That grand collection includes 10 Model D’s, 63 Model B’s, 5 Model A’s, 98 Model L’s, 42 Model O’s, 12 Model M’s and one Model S.

The New York piano maker’s relationship goes back to 1924 and the founding of the Juilliard Graduate School. According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, the school fulfilled last wishes of Augustus D. Juilliard, a wealthy textile merchant who left about $20 million for deserving music students to further their education. Two years later, the Graduate School merged with the Institute of Musical Art to become the Juilliard School of Music. The Institute opened its doors in 1905 under Frank Damrosch, godson of Franz Liszt and head of music education for New York City.

“The partnership between Juilliard and Steinway has been mutually beneficial since both institutions are synonymous with quality,” said Dr. Yoheved (Veda) Kaplinsky, who chairs the piano department and serves as artistic director for Juilliard’s prestigious pre-college piano program. “We both share the ideals of bringing the utmost artistry to the stage, which always requires a collaboration of performer and instrument. Having an instrument with unlimited potential always inspires artists to achieve more.”

“We both share the ideals of bringing the utmost artistry to the stage, which always requires a collaboration of performer and instrument.”

Steinway Artist Murray Perahia gave a master class at Juilliard on October 12, 2017.
Juilliard faculty member, Pre-College piano alumnus and Steinway Artist Emanuel Ax performs at Juilliard’s Pre-College Centennial Gala.
Ingenuity, innovation and imagination come to life on the keys of Steinway pianos behind the many windows of Juilliard. Photo by Chris Cooper

“We both share the ideals of bringing the utmost artistry to the stage, which always requires a collaboration of performer and instrument.”

When Dr. Kaplinsky was growing up in Israel in the 1960s, Juilliard was the symbol of excellence in music education and Steinway was the symbol of excellence in pianos. “My personal relationship with Steinway resulted in my owning two Steinway pianos,” she said. “At its’ best, Steinway is an incomparable product with an incredibly rich sound and great possibilities for nuance. They still remain a favorite among most performers and students.”

 

“Steinway & Sons and The Juilliard School have grown together as cultural mainstays in New York and around the world for more than 90 years,” said Steinway CEO Ron Losby. “From my time studying there, I developed a great passion for music and complete respect for their tradition of excellence in the performing arts. I hold the Juilliard experience close to my heart each and every day.”

Working with Karen Beluso, Steinway’s institutional sales manager of Greater New York, Juilliard has systematically added 14 New York Steinway Model O grands to its practice rooms, where pianos are played incessantly.

“New Steinway pianos in the practice rooms represent a significant development for any young pianist,” said Dr. Beluso, who studied exclusively at Juilliard and holds a doctorate in musical arts. She made her orchestral debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the age of 12 and debuted at Carnegie Hall performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto Number 2 with the New York Youth Symphony.

Karen Beluso, Institutional Sales Manager, Greater New York.

“Having an excellent piano in the practice room is inspiring. Inferior pianos lead to frustration which limits their growth.”

“The quality of the pianos the students use to practice is of paramount importance for their ability to develop technical control and a sound esthetic that will eventually define their artistic personality,” observes Dr. Kaplinsky. “Having an excellent piano in the practice room is inspiring. Inferior pianos lead to frustration which limits their growth.”

To get the most from each practice session, she advises students to listen and focus. “Mechanical practicing is the enemy of artistry and imagination. Befriend the piano and create conversations where every word an note is meaningful. The students’ attitude about practicing is largely determined by their relationship to the instrument. It is rare today that we hear excuses at lessons that are based on blaming the practice rooms. The main complaints we hear today are that there aren’t enough of them,” she said. Juilliard operates 74 practice rooms with pianos in Lincoln Center and another 13 rooms with pianos in the Meredith Willson Residence Hall.

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Integral to Over a Century of Piano Culture, Steinway & Sons Looks to the Future

do not reuse!!!

As the curtain went up at Hollywood’s Dolby Theater during the 91st Annual Academy Awards, and the now-familiar opening notes of the A Star is Born hit “Shallow” began to trickle out, a Steinway & Sons piano was rolled centerstage. Shining under the soft lights, it sat for a moment waiting for Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper to perform what would later take home the Oscar for Best Original Song. Viewed by 29.6 million people, those few seconds became one of the night’s most viral moments, and illustrate how the 166-year-old legacy brand is evolving to meet the needs of piano players and consumers in the digital era.

“It was tremendous,” says Anthony Gilroy, Steinway’s senior director of marketing, at the company’s 11-acre North American headquarters in Astoria, Queens, which has been around since New York City was mostly farmland. He adds that the company doesn’t typically know very far in advance when it will be called upon for those moments in the spotlight. “Usually it’s a fire drill, but we tend to make it happen.”

Lang Lang piano book truck in New York City.

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Established in 1853 out of a loft on Manhattan’s Varick Street, Steinway & Sons has had an impact on piano music that’s hard to overstate. A seemingly endless list of iconic recordings and legendary performances have been made possible thanks to the instrument’s masterful craftsmanship, widely viewed as the gold standard for generations of pianists including George GershwinIrving BerlinCole Porter and Duke Ellington. More recently, the Piano Man himself, Billy Joel, has been utilizing one for his monthly residency at Madison Square Garden (and admits his first splurge was a Steinway). In 2009, Hamilton music director Alex Lacimoreaccompanied Lin-Manuel Miranda performing the Broadway sensation’s opening song on the White House Steinway, a 1938 gift to Teddy Roosevelt, for an audience including then-President Barack Obama.

Today’s most popular classical artists also prefer Steinways. Lang Lang, the acclaimed Chinese concert pianist who recorded his aptly titled latest album Piano Book on one, says, “There is no piano like a Steinway piano. I feel completely at home with their pianos, and I’ve been playing them for the majority of my career.”

Steinways are held in such high regard because they are handcrafted with obsessive meticulousness. “With 250 employees here, we finish about five pianos a day,” says Gilroy. Each instrument takes approximately 11 months to evolve from wooden shell to finished product, an process that begins with Sitka spruce grown on islands off the coast of Alaska. (Trees on the shadier side of the mountains are preferred because the slower a tree grows, the fewer growth rings it has per inch, and the better the sound quality because sound waves travel along the grain of wood.) This inherent customization and attention to detail is the reason for its famously high price point: Some models cost upwards of $200,000. “The price comes from the cost of the materials and the time spent on it,” says Gilroy. “There’s somebody hitting every nail.”

do not reuse!!!
Mike Coppola/Courtesy of Steinway & Sons
Jon Batiste performs as Steinway & Sons unveils the Spirio R at Steinway Hall in New York on March 5, 2019 in New York City.

Painstakingly building high-end instruments from scratch isn’t exactly a process (or business model) that’s conducive to increasingly digital-native consumers, so Steinway & Sons has been forced to innovate. Spirio and Spirio | r are five-year-old projects that bring the company into the present — and future. Developed by the company’s in-house engineers, they’re high-tech pianos: The former plays itself to the tune of live recordings by piano luminaries and the latter is capable of recording user performances for editing and playback. “We have a small lab and took all of this knowledge of player pianos and innovated it with our team,” says Robert Polan, director of product management Steinway & Sons. “We’ve also worked with the best pianists in the world. They challenge us to reach the highest performance and quality they achieve and to reproduce that. It’s been a constant evolution.”

Released in 2015, the original Spirio was the company’s first high-resolution player piano. Since then, Steinway has been constantly updating its catalog of historic and new live recordings, which users can cue up via an app and hear played with all the heart and nuance as if the artist was right there in the room. Polan is a fan of the legendary Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, who passed away in 1982. “I never had a chance to hear him live, but with this technology it feels like he’s right there, playing in front of you live,” he tells Billboard. “The first time I heard it, it brought me to tears. It gives you goosebumps.”

Aaron Diehl playing the piano.

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The Spirio | r, which debuted last month on Steinway’s 166th birthday, allows users of the piano brand to record themselves tinkling the keys, and then adjust the recording themselves via the Spirio app. “We have an editor built into the app, so anything you can record, you have access to for editing,” says Polan. “You can tweak everything from pedal data to pitch and duration and more. It’s like Guitar Hero on another level.”

The advances present myriad opportunities for private owners, companies, and institutions alike. “With the ability to stream high resolution player data over the internet, it makes everything from distance learning to remote auditions and master classes possible,” Polan adds. “For example, in the future Steinway will offer a live streaming service, so we can have Lang Lang sit at Steinway Hall in New York, and perform a master class on a Spirio piano that can be transmitted to another Spirio piano on the other side of the world, which receives it without any loss of quality.”

That’s why Jon Batiste is getting a Spirio | r installed over at his perch as the bandleader for The Late Show and Gaga called for one for her Vegas residency. “They had a very specific need for an acoustic piano, but also needed to do mixing of the piano in the PA system,” says Gilroy. “This piano is capable of doing live acoustic performances and having a digital output. It solved a need for them to have a piano that does both.”

It’s this technology, based on over a century of innovations, that will hopefully carry the company into the next century. “With a Steinway, you can hear the difference in tone and the way a note carries,” says Lang Lang. “These are beautiful instruments.”

4/17/2019 by 

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White House Tour & the White House Steinway

On Friday March 8th after concluding the annual Steinway & Sons meeting in Washington D.C., Piano Centre was one of 50 authorized Steinway dealers invited to a private tour of the White House. A memorable experience and fantastic to witness the historic White House Steinway & Sons model D Art Case piano, performed on by pianist Russell Wilson of the Marine Band (Pictures Below).

treasures of the white house: steinway grand piano

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At a ceremony on December 10, 1938, this grand piano was presented to President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the White House by Mr. Theodore Steinway, on behalf of the Steinway family. The 300,000th Steinway piano, it was built to replace another Steinway at the White House – #100,000, a gilded and painted grand piano which had been given in 1903 (now on exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution).

Seeking to create a unique and distinguished “State Piano”, Eric Gugler – a New York architect, friend of the Roosevelts, and White House consultant in the 1930s – chose a square form with simpler lines than the routine double-curve form. The case was made of fine Honduran mahogany. Although it measures seven inches longer than the standard nine-foot Steinway grand, it has identical musical works.

At Mr. Steinway’s suggestion Dunbar Beck, a muralist, executed the gold leaf decoration representing “five musical forms indigenous of America” – a New England barn dance; a lone cowboy playing his guitar; the Virginia reel; two black field hands, one clapping and one dancing; and an Indian ceremonial dance. Albert Stewart, a sculptor, executed the three gilded mahogany legs carved as American eagles.

Since the musical works had deteriorated somewhat, the piano was returned to the manufacturer in 1979 for a major rebuilding of the instrument within its historic case. Although used in the East Room from its presentation to 1989, since then it has stood principally in the Entrance Hall, where it is often played by members of the Marine Band during social functions.

Office of the Curator, The White House

 

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2019 Oscar night wins with Steinway pianos

Steinway & Sons strong presence on the musical side of the 91st Academy Awards

Seated in the front row as the opening acoustic chords rang out, Gaga and Cooper ascended the stairs and placed themselves at a radiant Steinway piano.

In the Best Picture winning film Green book, Dr. Shirley says to make sure that there’s a Steinway piano at every concert venue, Tony scribbles down “STAINWAY” on a sheet of paper. His doltishness is endearing, not annoying.

Via our Facebook Page & Instragram – Follow us @Steinwayedmonton

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Brad Mehldau unveiling the new Steinway Elbphilharmonie Limited Edition piano

GODPARENT BRAD MEHLDAU

On 13 October 2018 American pianist Brad Mehldau received a very special honour: As godparent of the grand piano no. 1, he unveiled his own piano at STEINWAY & SONS’ presentation of its Elbphilharmonie Limited Edition, enchanting guests at the Elbphilharmonie’s Recital Hall with his performance. For him, it was a very special experience to be able to play a part in this evening. Brad Mehldau is sure of one thing: “I’ll remember it for a very long time.”

The Elbphilharmonie grand piano is a true fantasy piano, whose warm and open tone sang out from the very first moment he played it. “The piano sings back,” says the jazz pianist of the outstanding quality of the Steinway grand piano, “it inspires your performance.”

The experienced pianist knows that it is also extremely valuable to observe the instrument in unity with its surroundings, and he praises the excellent cooperation between the Elbphilharmonie and STEINWAY & SONS.

 

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How we set up a new grand piano out of the box!

Here are the steps of how we open and properly set up a new grand piano! The grand piano pictured here is a new Steinway & Sons model M 5’7″ grand piano

  1. We inspect the crate to make sure there are no abnormalties or shifts caused by shipping – we then cut open up the crate (cardboard, with wooden frame).
  2. Once the crate is opened,  we then see the silouette of the grand piano on its side in a climate controlled, sealed bag. We open up the bag and see the underside of the piano.
  3. We attach 2 of the grand piano legs; the back, and the treble (right) side of the piano.
  4. We then tip the grand piano downward so that the back leg wheel touches the ground and proceed until the treble leg hits ground.
  5. We lift the bass side (left) of the piano to fit the third and final leg. Now we have the familiar grand piano shape set up.
  6. The piano is now on three legs and allows us to now install the piano pedal lyre.
  7. We remove all protective packaging, clean and polish the instrument and further inspect to insure the piano is in perfect condition.
  8. We unlock the action, so that the keys are able to move – the are locked during transportation as to prevent damage.