The Exquisite Concert Grand Piano

It’s a thing of beauty… the sheer grandeur of a full size concert grand! Have you viewed one up–close? For a pianist, it’s a thrill to take command of such an exacting and powerful instrument. It takes years of arduous study for a pianist to master the instrument in live performance. Even still, a large reserve of energy and strength are required to perform many of the great classics. Pianists who are in demand and tour internationally need breaks to recharge and rest between scheduled performances.

A concert grand is a technical masterpiece unto itself, taking approximately one year for many artisans to craft a single instrument! Its keyboard contains the ‘action‘ which is comprised of thousands of finely–tuned parts. I got to see the famed Steinway Basement in New York City where André Watts was choosing one instrument, among several, for an upcoming performance. In the end, the overall ‘feel’ determines the artist’s choice.

As a student, I was fortunate to attend a recital in 1980 of the late pianist, Vladimir Horowitz, at the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York. It was, literally, the concert of a lifetime. Mr. Horowitz was a Steinway artist. It’s perhaps the most venerable name of any piano manufacturer, well–known for its quality and brand craftsmanship. Even within particular brand models, there are often noticeable differences in articulation, expressivity and feel. Most often, the artist’s individual technique helps narrow the choice between one instrument or another. The film ‘Note by Note‘, directed by Ben Niles, details the making of a single Steinway concert grand at the company’s factory in Astoria, New York. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in further exploration of the overall build process from start to finish.

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