2015 Competition Winners perform at Symphony Hall

Winners of the 2015 Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition recently performed on one of the most famous and prestigious stages in the world – historic Symphony Hall in Boston. The young artists took to the stage in a concert hosted by M. Steinert & Sons, the region’s exclusive representative for Steinway & Sons Pianos. Family, friends and music aficionados gathered to enjoy many of the works the talent pianists performed during the competition held earlier this year.
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A Double Treat!

On Saturday, November 8, we welcomed pianist Sangyoung Kim and Victor Cayres to our Natick Mall store. The two performed Sonata for Two Pianos by David Owens as well as works by Schubert, Villa-Lobos, and Corigliano. Photos of the event will be posted soon.

About the Artists

Sangyoung Kim
Sangyoung KimA pianist since age 4, Sangyoung Kim graduated from the Korean National Institute of Art where she studied with Kyung Sook Lee before coming to the United States. She is now a student of Wha-Kyung Byun and Russell Sherman at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she was the recipient of the Carol and Robert T. Henderson Presidential Scholarship Award. Kim has performed in recital at the Courchevel Music Festival in France and as a soloist with the Seoul Symphony Orchestra. In 2008 she took first prize at the Bösendorfer USASU International Piano Competition. She loves to travel and hopes to visit ancient sites around the world.
Victor Cayres
victor cayresPianist Victor Cayres has performed extensively in Brazil, Europe, and the United States, earning praise for concerts with the Sine Nomine string quartet in Switzerland and as a soloist with such orchestras as the Boston Pops and Brno Philharmonic in the Czech Republic. In Boston he has appeared as a soloist with NEC Philarmonia, Symphony Pro-Musica, Boston University Symphony Orchestra, and in Brazil with Orquestra Petrobras Pro-Musica, Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira, Orquestra Sinfonica and Orquestra de Camera of University of São Paulo. He has collaborated with such conductors as Ronaldo Bologna, Mark Churchill, Marc David, Gil Jardim, Theophanis Kapsopoulos, Keith Lockhart, Norton Morozowisk, Donald Palma, Roberto Tibiriça, and Jan Zbavitel. He has toured with the Orchestre des Jeunes de Fribourg under Kapsopoulos in the Czech Republic and Switzerland.
In 2012 Mr. Cayres was awarded the Respighi Prize, the 2nd prize at the 18th Leos Janacek International Piano Competition in Brno, Czech Republic, and the Zulalian Award at Boston University. Previous achievements in 2013 included first prize at the Boston University Richmond Piano Competition, a recording project with works by David Owens on the Albany Records label, as well as concerts in Brazil, Michigan (Interlochen Center for the Arts), the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and a debut performance at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall as a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of New York, conducted by Salvatore di Vittorio.
In the years prior to coming to the United States, Mr. Cayres won competitions in Brazil, including the Gina Bachauer South American Competition, Nelson Freire International Competition, Petrobras International Competition, Magdalena Tagliaferro Competition, Artlivre International Competition, as well as European competitions such as Sommerfestspiele Klavier Wettbewerb in Murten, Switzerland.
Mr. Cayres had the privilege of studying with Brazil’s leading pianists: Roselys Alleoni at the School of Music Maestro Ernst Mahle; and Gilberto Tinetti and Eduardo Monteiro at the University of São Paulo. He also had an opportunity to study for one year at the Hoschule für Musik in Karlsruhe, Germany, while appearing in concert venues in Switzerland. He has performed in master classes for John O’Connor, Steve Drury, Philippe Entremont, Stephen Kovacevich, Dai Uk Lee, and John Perry, among others. Mr. Cayres studied with Wha KyungByun at the New England Conservatory, and with Anthony di Bonaventura and Boaz Sharon at Boston University. He serves on the piano faculty of the Boston University School of Music.


Heavenly Sounds
M. Steinert & Sons is proud to be an important resource for liturgical musicians, providing not just the world’s finest pianos, but also an impressive array of church organs from the country’s leading organ makers.
We are pleased to be the New England distributor for Rodgers Organs. These exceptional American-made instruments are among the most popular organs for concert halls and houses of worship across the country. From Carnegie Hall to local churches, Rodgers Organs lead the way.
Read more…


Evgeny Kissin at Steinert

Evgeny Kissin

 

Steinway artist Evgeny Kissin came to Steinert’s in Boston on March 15th to select a Steinway for his recital in SH on the following day. This commanding artist of great power and clarity gave us a glimpse into the wonder and passion of his recital the following day.

His program included:
Schubert’s Sonata No. 17 in D Major
Scrabin’s Sonata No. 2 and Selected Etudes, Opus 8.


Here’s your chance to play the very same Steinway that has been played by piano legends like Billy Joel, Lang Lang, Emanual Ax, Diana Krall, and more. Click here to see what Jim Robbins had to say about the experience. But hurry! Only a select few will be chosen for this extraordinary opportunity to play a Steinway “Living Legends” piano!


On Saturday, March 16 the Concord Area Music School Association held their Concerto Concert at Steinert Hall, and dazzled with a program consisting of various movements from seven difference piano concerti.  Seven talented young pianists, ranging in age from 9 to 18 years old, performed works by Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Ravel and more, and displayed a stunning level of musicality and technique.  Two Steinway Model D Concert grand pianos were played, one for orchestral accompaniment, and the other for the soloist.  The concert proved that the future of classical music is in good hands.  Congratulations to all on a spectacular performance!
(Pictured at left, back row left to right:  Andee Song, 13;  Layla Siraj, 18;  Amir Siraj, 13;  Meghan Tan, 9;  Abigail Zhang, 12;  Christopher Li, 11;  Kyu Il Lee, 18.  Front row left to right: teachers/performers Wanda Pail, Ronald Kmiec, and Helena Vesterman)


Ten people of varying ages and abilities at ten Steinway grands. And all made some of their own music!  Each person brought a small part of a classical piece that they knew and loved, ranging from Mozart & Beethoven to a contemporary Israeli composer, and used it as the basis for their improvisation.
Moira Lo Bianco, our most able and charming teacher, first talked about the historical and traditional importance of improvisation, highlighting the fact that almost all of the great composers improvised prolifically and that this skill was once an important part of musical training.  From there the workshop began.
 

 

 
Moira brought out various techniques to tap improvisation from each person who participated. At the end everyone participated in an improvised piece inspired by a painting, which proved incredibly fun and interesting!

The participants had nothing but great things to say:

“An incredible opportunity and a unique experience”

“I didn’t realize how truly incredible it was until a couple of days later, when I had a chance to utilize some of the concepts in the class…….and for the first time in my life I’ve composed a piece of music!!!!”

“Excellent seminar, great information…”

“It was wonderful and I had so much fun”

“The class was so informative and enjoyable, I learned so much.  We should have more classes like this one”

“Moira, you are a wonderful teacher. You gave clear and doable exercises  that I will try on my own”

“Definitely enjoyed it. I especially liked how Moira illustrated specific techniques of improvisation”

Moira will be presenting a concert of her music in September here at Steinert’s and will be releasing her CD later this Spring.


 
On December 14th 2012 at Steinert Hall, six young pianists performed an unforgettable program of Rachmaninoff, Schumann, Saint-Saens, Liszt and Chopin, reminding everyone that music heals, talent inspires, and great artistry is transcendent.  Steinway Artist Yoshie Akimoto presented her students in their Boston debut, and the performances that followed will live in the memory of the audience for years to come.  To read the biographies of these gifted pianists, click here.
Steinway Artists are legendary.  They represent some of the greatest pianists of all time, and the roster grows with every new generation of pianists.  This night was a demonstration of what could be the next generation of Steinway Artists, and they are students of Steinway Artist Yoshie Akimoto.
Yoshie Akimoto began her concert career as a pianist at the age of 10 when she won first prize in the All-Japan Student Competition.  At age 13 she made her debut with the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra and has since toured the world as a concert pianist of great acclaim.  She is a graduate of The Julliard School and has been a faculty member of the Killington, Foulger and Vianden, Luxembourg International Music Festivals for the past 9 years.  She directs the Akimoto Piano Studio in Southern California, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, from which her students have won top National and International piano competitions and have gone on to study at Julliard, Curtis Harvard, Yale and Stanford.  She has earned the prodigious status of Steinway Artist and in so is joined by some of the most legendary pianists of our time.
The program opened with a few words from our own Vivian Handis, who welcomed the audience and spoke of Steinert Hall’s incredible history.   She introduced Steinway Artist Yoshie Akimoto who took the stage to offer opening remarks as well, speaking of her students and their debut, and also of the power of music.  As we now know December 14th was a day of tragedy in Newtown, CT and Yoshie dedicated the night of music to the children affected, saying “many children have passed away…so [let’s] make this night a special night for them, for the souls of the beautiful children through our music, and these young people will play their hearts out with the beautiful spirit[s] that they have.”  It was extraordinarily touching, and added a sense of meaning and healing to the night that could be felt throughout.  The program began with Gita Abhiraman and her performance of C. Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22.
Gita Abhiraman took the stage and began the first movement (I. Andante Sostenuto) of Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2, and it set the tone beautifully for the rest of the night.  A wonderful piece, extraordinarily executed by Gita (with Yoshie Akimoto accompanying), that captivated the audience and concluded with a powerful ending and great applause.  Gita’s talent was on display, and she set the bar for the following performances.

Next up was Amber Wolf performing the first movement (I. Allegro Affettuoso) of Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54.  The beauty of this piece was immediately evident in the first minute of the performance.  Amber beautifully articulated the melody of the theme, and both her and Yoshie’s accompaniment was spot on.  As soon as the last chord was struck the audience broke out in applause, marking yet another powerful performance.

The third act was George Teng, performing the first movement (I. Moderato) of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18.  A beloved piece, he rang out the first notes with conviction, and tackled the technicality of the piece with ease and nuance.  Yoshie was again on accompaniment and did a wonderful job of allowing George to shine.  The audience broke out in a thunderous applause that signaled their eagerness to hear more; so the night continued.

George’s piece was the last of the two piano performances.  Lisa Iwaki’s was the first of the solo portion of the night, performing Rachmaninoff’s Etude-tableaux, Op. 39 No. 3 in F-sharp minor and No. 9 in D Major.  Rachmaninoff is no easy composer to tackle, but from the moment Lisa began, it was clear that she had the talent to master the pieces.  Her rendition of Etude No. 3 was electrifying, and Etude No. 9 was equally exhilarating.  Lisa’s powerful performance concluded and the audience broke out in excited applause.

The next performance was one by Jeremy Jordan, performing his own transcription of Liszt’s Reminiscence of Opera Norma.  It was an absolutely riveting performance, one that flaunted Jeremy’s technical prowess and innate talent.  His control of the piano was extraordinary and his use of dynamic was brilliant.  It was a truly masterful performance and the audience responded with a standing ovation.  Again, the display of talent can’t be noted enough; these are pianists who are sure to join the ranks of the worlds finest.

The last of the performers was Alex Beyer.  Though he intended to play Chopin’s twenty-four Preludes, Op. 28, he decided to play the latter half of the preludes in an effort to save us from being there “verging on all night”.   The set took about 25 minutes to complete, and his attention to detail was astounding.  Each prelude was performed with poise, and the control and nuance he exhibited was of virtuosity.  His performance marked the end of an amazing night of talent, and the audience showed no sign of being tired.

After the program concluded, both Yoshie and Vivian Handis took the stage to invite the performers back for a collective applause, and to offer some final words.  On how music heals, Vivian had this to say:

“Music works in extraordinary ways.  There could be no more perfect ambassador for our art to show why this legacy needs to continue, because in the face of tragedy and in the face of what is ugly in the world, we have art.  And art reminds us that there is beauty in the world, there is good, and there is hope.”

In light of the tragic shootings that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary just hours before the event, this sentiment touched the hearts of everyone in attendance.
Later the guests and performers met in the Steinway room of the second floor for a wine and cheese reception that allowed the audience members the chance to sing the praises of the performers.  Yoshie Akimoto also attended the reception and had nothing but wonderful things to say of her students and of M. Steinert & Sons.  To be in the presence of a Steinway Artist as reputable as Yoshie Akimoto was invigorating, and she was incredibly gracious and welcoming.
A big thank you to Steinway Artist Yoshie Akimoto for debuting her talented students at M. Steinert & Sons in Boston!


The next great advancement in organs will arrive in Boston on Thursday, February 21 at 10:00 am, when M. Steinert & Sons officially introduces the all-new Rodgers Infinity Series at our Boston showroom. And you are invited!


Steinway & Sons pianos have long been considered the best pianos in the world, and while many people know this, not many people know why.  Though every aspect of Steinway’s creation process contributes to the magnificence of its pianos, there are a few key features that stand out.  In the third part of this series, this we will talk about the rim, and rim bending process and it’s importance to the Steinway piano.

Building a Sound Foundation

The rim of a piano is one of its most easily identifiable parts.  It is what gives the grand piano its iconic shape, it’s what everyone sees when they look at a piano, and it is the foundation upon which the rest of the piano is built.
Steinway & Sons has always understood that in order to create a quality instrument, they must create a strong and resilient foundation.  It is with this idea that they developed their unique rim-bending process in the 1870’s, and they continue to use that same process to this day.   To understand the process, let’s look at the parts.

Strength in Numbers

All Steinway & Sons pianos have rims that are constructed of multiple laminations of plain-sawed, hard rock maple.  Maple is a wood that can withstand an incredible amount of pressure from the strings, provide a solid and sturdy support for the keyboard and action, as well as accept a finish to become not only an instrument in construction, but a beautiful piece of furniture.
Many wonder why laminations are used as opposed to a solid piece of wood.  For one, a solid, knot-free piece of hard-rock maple is virtually impossible to come by.  More importantly however, is that the multiple boards, the glue, and the balanced stresses of the grain make up a rim that is stronger than the sum of the parts.

Inner Rim; Meet Outer Rim

There are two rims to a piano: the inner rim, and the outer rim.  The inner rim is the base and support for the soundboard, and the outer rim is

Most piano manufacturers approach the creation of a rim very differently than Steinway.  They first start with the inner rim by fitting the soundboard to it, and then shape the outer rim around it in a separate procedure.  With this method a great deal of structural integrity is lost, resulting in a loss of vibration that translates to a loss of power, sound and quality.meant to contain the vibration of the strings and soundboard, and focus them inward to maximize volume of sound.  The outer rim is also the most visually prominent part of a piano, so it functions aesthetically as well as sonically.
Steinway has a different approach to the rim-bending process.

Bending Rims Since the 1870’s

Instead of bending the inner and outer rim separately, Steinway bends both rims together in one unified process.  Doing this not only creates a physically stronger foundation, but a sonically stronger foundation as well.  The structural integrity of the Steinway rim means that no vibration is lost, therefore maximum power and sound is achieved.

The Great Bend

A crew of six workers does nothing but bend rims.  The process is a sight to behold both for its impressiveness and meticulousness.  Once the wood is prepared (preparation includes laying the wood in a certain pattern, compiling the laminations into a book, and applying a thorough layer of glue) it is taken to the mold.  There are various molds for the various sizes, but the process remains the same for each.The operation is one of efficiency, and mastery.  The crew has to shape about 400 pounds of maple into a curved rim that defies the nature of wood, and they must do so before the glue sets, which is about twenty minutes.  No power tools are used, only brute force and leverage.  As the crew bendsand molds the sheet of wood into the shape of a grand piano, one man follows along with a mallet, pounding down the top edges of the laminate to ensure proper alignment.  Once the wood has undergone its multiple turns and curves (a few of which are 90 degree curves), the clamps are secured and a low electric voltage is passed through the laminate to cure the glue; a “high-frequency” curing system patented by Steinway & Sons in 1947.

Let the Wood Rest

The rim is left on the mold for twenty-four hours before it’s dated, marked, and moved to a temperature and humidity controlled chamber where it rests for at least ten weeks.  This rest period is paramount, as the wood needs to accept its new shape, as well as return to its optimal moisture content.
This process is a hallmark of Steinway pianos, as it is one that requires a level of mastery that can’t be found elsewhere and results in excellence.  It is also a more time consuming, and ultimately, expensive procedure.  However, it is the superior way of creating a piano rim and Steinway has practiced this method for well over 100 years.
Steinway & Sons pianos hold over a century’s worth of innovations, from the rim-bending process to the Accelerated Action, and they continue to “build the finest possible piano at the lowest possible price.”


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