Fitchburg State pinpoints the right Steinway for their needs

by Stephen N. Reed


Fitchburg State University’s music department wanted to be sure to pick the Steinway grand piano that was just right for their school’s diverse needs.  According to Jane Fiske, DMA, Professor of Humanities at Fitchburg and a member of Fitchburg’s Steinway Selection Committee, the school has selected Steinway pianos. for sixty years. Their last piano, a Steinway Model B, was purchased in 1996 with a Mission Fund Grant.

Having secured the funding for this important instrument through their school’s budgeting process, a three-person committee to see how their Steinway is made in a Steinway factory tour and to sample six, brand new Model D concert grands before choosing the winning piano to come to Fitchburg State.

Fitchburg committee on Steinway factory tour
Fitchburg State’s music department committee chose to have a Steinway factory tour before selecting their Model D concert grand piano.

This Steinway Selection Process was the last, important step in a long journey towards acquiring a Steinway concert grand for their university.

For many years, M. Steinert & Sons has offered this one-of-a-kind experience for interested customers: a trip to Steinway & Sons’ Astoria, New York factory to handpick their very own Steinway grand piano.  We can attest that every customer has enjoyed the experience, which can also include a guided factory tour to see up close how meticulously Steinway pianos are made.

Accompanied by your own M. Steinert piano consultant, you get to try six brand new Steinway grands, narrowing their choice down to one particular favorite.  This bonding process is the very beginning of the joy of owning a Steinway, choosing it for its tone and touch.   All Steinways meet the most exacting of standards, but because they are handcrafted, each is unique, as well.

In this article, you’ll see how Fitchburg State used this process quite effectively recently to help their school in its quest to become an All-Steinway School.

Institutional customers have different needs than individuals

Institutional customers like higher ed institutions, going through the Steinway Selection Process, frequently send a committee to Astoria. This is due to the variety of tasks the selected piano will be used to perform, as compared to the less complex purchase by individual customers who may simply want to entertain themselves and friends.

Typically, the committee will be selecting a piano that will be the focus, even the centerpiece, of their school’s concert hall.  That centerpiece piano is often the Model D, which will be played by special guest performers, faculty, and promising students.

Fitchburg State music faculty with a Steinway soundboard
From left to right, Fitchburg State’s Steinway selection committee members Amy McGlothlin, DMA, Jane Fisk, DMA, and Robin Dinda, DMA.

Such a piano might also be pulled in to help with fundraising events and university ceremonies.

“Our piano will be used for a variety of things at the school in our main auditorium, Weston. Ensemble rehearsals and performances, chamber and solo recitals, and community events,” says Amy McGlothlin, DMA and Director of Bands at Fitchburg State University.

“We wanted a piano that had the sensitivity to play music that was soft and legato as well as a piano that can have a big presence and be heard over a larger ensemble,” McGlothlin explains. “I think we found that in the piano we selected that day.”  The committee members took turns playing the six Model Ds, narrowing the field gradually until they agreed on the one they liked the most.

McGlothlin recently served on Fitchburg State’s committee that went to Astoria for their school’s Steinway Selection Day.  The others serving on their committee were fellow members of Fitchburg’s Music Department: Jane Fiske, DMA, and Robin Dinda, DMA.

Fitchburg State: On the path to becoming an All-Steinway school

For Fitchburg State, this current Model D purchase, right from the factory, is a key step in their drive to become an All-Steinway school.

“For many years our school has invested in Steinway pianos,” says McGlothlin. “We have been fortunate that our administration recognizes that the pianos built by Steinway represent the finest craftsmanship and durability.”

McGlothlin notes that reading articles about Steinway, as well as the Note by Note documentary helped to educate administrators about the value of Steinways.   “Those things have helped administration and finance to see that we are purchasing a work of art that retains value and durability and not just a mass-manufactured instrument, McGlothlin explains.

Fitchburg’s new Steinway’s Model D:  A key part of the plan

Fitchburg State, like many schools, had to develop a long-term strategy to eventually become an All-Steinway school.

Fitchburg committee looking at Steinway grand in progress
The Fitchburg State committee observed the multiple stages of building a handcrafted Steinway concert grand.

“We have been working on replacing the piano in our auditorium for quite some time. As you know, it’s a large expense,” says McGlothlin.   “The current piano in that space is a “B” model, a bit smaller, and frankly, not big enough for the space. It’s also about 60 years old, which for an academic institution is quite a long life. It’s really a tribute to how well the Steinways are constructed.”

Perseverance is a key ingredient for any school wanting to replace older pianos with new Steinways.   While private schools might have other fundraising strategies, music departments like the one at Fitchburg State typically must go through their school’s budgeting process.  That may mean multiple attempts before securing the needed funding.

“We have been requesting the Model D for at least as long as I have been here,” says McGlothlin, who has been at Fitchburg State for three and a half years. “We have an annual funding request process that our school uses,” explains McGlothlin.

“Each spring we submit our funding requests to the administration and through a series of meetings they decide which requests will receive funding,” McGlothlin notes.  “So, every year, they are seeing this request, and we just never stop asking until we get it funded, which was now.”

A pleasant surprise for the Fitchburg State faculty

Institutions are all about accountability.  Knowing that the music department’s three-person committee would be going through a Steinway Selection Process and Astoria factory tour could give assurance to university administrators this was going to be a hands-on, very knowledgable decision.

The committee inspects a sheet of Sitka Spruce, the wood used to make the patented Steinway Diaphragmatic Soundboard.

Securing the funding this year to buy the Weston Auditorium’s new Model D was a win for Fitchburg State on more than one level.  The school now has a piano that is the standard of the industry for any top piano performer that comes to Fitchburg for a concert.  97% of all performing pianists prefer Steinway.   Plus they have a piano to help with significant university celebrations and fundraising efforts.

Additionally, having a Steinway Model D, one that your school got to handpick right from the Steinway & Sons factory floor is a significant encouragement to Fitchburg State music faculty and students.  Such a purchase conveys that the school believes these musicians are worth the very best.

“The faculty were surprised to hear, this summer, that we would be getting a new Model D for that space,” says McGlothlin.

“We are pretty grateful that the administration recognizes that the piano needs to be replaced and that it should be replaced with the piano that the space needs.”

The Fitchburg State Steinway Selection team by their Steinway Model D
The Fitchburg State Steinway Selection team by their chosen, new Steinway Model D.

That piano, a Steinway Model D with a rich tone and a powerful bass, was unanimously agreed upon by Fitchburg’s three-person committee, according to Jane Fiske.  “Although each of the pianos we tried was of the highest quality, we all agreed with our final selection; it will easily project to the back our concert hall.”

Regarding the Steinway Selection process, Fiske says that it was an exceptional experience. “Our hosts at Steinway made the experience of selecting the Model D more than we could have hoped for,” says Fiske.   “It was a privilege to be a part of the university team sent to Astoria to select this once in a lifetime, one-of-a-kind piano.”

Interested in learning more about the Steinway Selection Process?

Steinway Selection Room Manager Cameron Underwood explains the exterior varnishing process to the committee.

The Fitchburg State committee learned a great deal about how their Steinway was made during their factory tour.  The Steinway Selection Process followed with the unique opportunity to handpick their favorite new Model D for their school’s main auditorium.

This was an exceptional due diligence effort by the committee to select the “just right” piano for Fitchburg State. They can now look forward to the arrival of their Steinway later this month.

Would your institution be interested in learning more about the Steinway Selection Process and how it can help you to achieve All-Steinway School status?  Contact our institutional sales department at M. Steinert & Sons, the oldest Steinway dealer in the world, helping individual and institutional customers choose the right Steinway for them since 1860.

Additionally, read these articles below for more information about the Steinway & Sons company and their world-class pianos:

 


An interview with Anna Avetisyan, 2021 Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame honoree

by Stephen N. Reed


 

Vivian Handis, Anna Avetisyan, and Ash K at the 2021 Steinway Teacher Hall of Fame in Astoria, NY
2021 Steinway Teacher of the Year inductee Anna Avetisyan, flanked by M. Steinert & Sons’ teacher-partner Vivian Handis (l) and Gavin English, President of Steinway & Sons (r), at Steinway’s recent celebration in Astoria, New York.

 

M. Steinert & Sons is proud to honor our Steinway Educational Partner Anna Avetisyan, a 2021 Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame honoree!   Only one piano teacher per region of the U.S. achieves this distinction annually.

“We are always so glad to see one of our educational partners recognized for their work with their piano students,” said Brendan Murphy, President of M. Steinert & Sons.  “Anna deserves this, and we congratulate her and her family on this rare and distinctive award from Steinway.”

Previously, Anna had won the 2018 and 2020 “Steinway & Sons Top Music Teacher Award.”

For her part, Anna notes that she is deeply humbled by this honor and just wants to use it to help her students reach new heights at the keyboard.

A family background in music

“My father is a cellist and my mother a violinist, and they both taught at the conservatory and played in the state philharmonic orchestra,” says Anna, who grew up in Armenia. “I grew up in that kind of environment. It was normal to have people come over to our home to play in a trio or quartet.”

Anna has followed in her parents’ musical footsteps. She started taking piano lessons at age nine and performing solo with an orchestra at age eleven.  Despite her exceptional progress, Anna says her parents had mixed emotions about her choosing music as a career.

“They weren’t wild about me becoming a musician,” she notes.  “Music can be very fulfilling, but they wanted me to be a breadwinner, too.”

Graduate work prepares her

Undeterred, Anna graduated from the specialized Music School in Yerevan, Armenia, two years ahead of the scheduled graduation date.

She went on to receive her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with an emphasis in Piano Pedagogy from the Babajanyan State Music College, and her Master of Music in Piano Performance, Collaborative Piano Performance, and Piano Pedagogy from the Komitas State Conservatory.

Anna Avetisyan
Anna founded Through the Looking Glass, a chamber music series that focuses on bringing chamber music performances to communities in the Boston area.

Eventually, Anna’s career brought her to Boston, where she received a Graduate Performance Diploma in Collaborative Piano Performance from the Longy School of Music of Bard College.

Anna has appeared in concerts and festivals as a solo and collaborative pianist in the United States, Canada, Armenia, and Russia.

In 2016, Anna founded Through the Looking Glass, a chamber music series that focuses on bringing chamber music performances to communities in the Boston area.

Anna is an active performer in the Boston area and has a full-time piano studio in Burlington. She is a Steinway & Sons teacher and educational partner, and a member of MMTA, MTNA, and NEPTA, where she currently serves on the board of directors.

For nearly thirty years, Anna has enjoyed teaching the piano.  Her students have regularly participated in recitals and festivals in the Boston area and beyond, have won numerous competitions, and have performed in the prestigious Carnegie Hall.

“Music is not just what I do,” says Anna.  “It’s who I am.”

Teaching philosophy: Building confidence

Anna is truly dedicated to her piano students, as she knows what it takes to do well at the piano.

“I get completely submerged in a piece they’re playing,  and we may go overtime by twenty minutes as a result,” says Anna.  “My goal as a teacher is to provide a warm and positive learning environment encouraging the students to find their unique individual musicality.”

Building the student’s confidence is key, according to Anna.  “As they achieve confidence and technical proficiency, we are able to explore any piece with knowledge and understanding while enjoying it.”

A friend at M. Steinert & Sons

Anna credits her friend, Vivian Handis, for helping her find two exceptional pianos to use personally and for her students.  Vivian was a piano sales consultant with M. Steinert & Sons for 19-years and now serves as a teacher-partner for the company.

Anna has been teaching the piano for nearly 30 years, using Boston pianos and now a Steinway Model M.

“I went to M. Steinert in 2004, needing a special-sized piano for our home,” explains Anna. “I got a Boston 178 baby grand. I loved its warm tone–it was a high-quality instrument.  I’ve since had two Boston baby grands!  Students were pleased with them, too.  I have been friends with Vivian ever since getting my first grand piano.  I know I could trust her in every possible way.”

Now Anna has a Steinway Model M, having taken advantage of M. Steinert’s “Trade-Up” policy, where those buying a new Steinway grand piano will receive an allowance equal to the full purchase price of their trade-in piano in reasonably good condition.

Anna reflects on her nearly 20-year relationship with M. Steinert & Sons.

“I have always felt a very special warmth whenever I stepped through their doors,” says Anna. “There is always that magical atmosphere, being among the magnificent instruments. Even more so, there is almost a feeling of a sanctuary, a place where high standards and deep traditions are cherished, and where there is an almost familial feel among the staff and management.

“Everyone is caring, warm, and highly professional, and I am very grateful to have them among my colleagues and friends: Vivian Handis, Steve Hauk, Brendan Murphy, Chuck Johnson, Kayla Woodworth, Jonathan Tetzlaff, and many others.”

A place on the Steinway Teacher Hall of Fame wall

Anna (r) standing with her friend, M. Steinert teacher-partner Vivian Handis
Anna (r) standing with her friend, M. Steinert teacher-partner Vivian Handis, in front of the Steinway Teacher Hall of Fame wall which now bears her name.

Anna and her husband, Ash Khachatryan, attended the recent 2021 Steinway Teacher Hall of Fame induction at the company’s Astoria, New York factory.  She enjoyed meeting other inductees from around the country, hearing them discuss the same joys and challenges of teaching piano today.

At the awards dinner, each of the Steinway inductees received a certificate denoting their induction to Steinway’s Teacher Hall of Fame and enjoyed a performance by a Steinway Artist playing pieces by Bach and Ravel.

While in Astoria, Anna and Ash greatly enjoyed a guided tour through the factory, seeing how meticulously each Steinway piano is made.  She found the awards dinner and factory tour immensely satisfying.

Anna’s name is now on a well-presented plaque listing all of Steinway’s inductees into their Teacher Hall of Fame.  Anna’s dedication to music and her students remains the dominant theme in her approach to the piano.  As she puts it:

“The more you are given, the more you have to give back.”

 


After 2 years, the return of the annual BSO piano sale

by Stephen N. Reed


In September, the leaves start to come out across New England, as do the shrewd piano buyers who have waited patiently for the annual Boston Symphony Orchestra piano sale, partnering with Steinway & Sons and M. Steinert & Sons of Boston and Newton.

This year’s sale is by appointment only and will run from Friday, September 17 through Sunday, September 19 at Symphony Hall in Boston.

Due to the pandemic, last year’s sale was canceled. However, this popular, annual BSO event is back with a head of steam, making up for lost time.  Now in its 18th year, this unique sale will again give piano buyers a chance to purchase lightly-used, well-maintained Steinway pianos at a significant discount.  Best of all, a portion of the proceeds goes directly to support the BSO.

“For piano buyers, the BSO, and our relationship with Steinway, it’s a great opportunity to support the quality of pianos at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood,” said Christopher W. Ruigomez, Director of Concert Operations for the BSO.

Traditionally, this annual piano sale has included several Festival pianos used at the BSO’s summer home at Tanglewood in western Massachusetts. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s piano selection will be drawn from Symphony Hall’s inventory of Steinway pianos, as well as new and used Steinway models from M. Steinert & Sons.

New Steinways at a discount this year

The Higginson Room at Symphony Hall gets filled with pianos of every finish, size and type.

As a result, this year, piano buyers can get a sizable discount on several new Steinways.

Despite the change, this year with M. Steinert Sons directly supplying more pianos for the sale, the company’s president, Brendan Murphy, said that this year’s event will continue to benefit the BSO.

“Through partnering with the BSO over many years, we are proud to contribute a portion of the proceeds to their high-quality performances, music classes, and workshops with the piano over 90% of professional pianists prefer to play–Steinway,” said Murphy. “Smart buyers wait months for this sale and for good reason–these are some of the best Steinways available for both quality and price.”

Interesting facts about this event

Steinway & Sons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra have had a relationship since 1880, and this annual BSO sale began in 2002.  Since then, a wide variety of piano buyers have enjoyed some remarkable moments at the annual BSO sale.

Steinert & Sons’ president emeritus, Paul Murphy, recalls selling a piano one year that Steven Spielberg had signed at a Tanglewood concert celebrating the movie scores of former Boston Pops musical director John Williams, The famed film director and collaborator with Williams wrote “Steven Spielberg & E.T.”

“He wrote it on top of the piano lid, and at first we thought about removing it,” says Paul Murphy.  “But keeping it there added to its provenance.”

During another year, John Williams himself had autographed a piano, enhancing its value.


Interested buyers can view this year’s collection of pianos by making an appointment to visit Symphony Hall on the days of the sale.  Appointments can also be made by contacting M. Steinert & Sons at (617) 426-1900.

 


Steinway Concert Grand on StageThe 12 Most Expensive Pianos Updated for 2021

Most people are fascinated to learn about the most expensive things–whether jewels, or cars, or houses, or clothing. For instance, many people would find it interesting to see the world’s most expensive mansions and to know what they cost, such as:

  • Buckingham Palace, London: $1.55 Billion.
  • Antilia, Mumbai: $1 Billion.
  • Villa Leopolda, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France: $750 Million.
  • Witanhurst, London: $450 Million.
  • Odeon Tower Penthouse, Monaco: $400 Million.

Sometimes visitors to our Steinway showrooms express surprise at the cost of a new Steinway piano – and we remind them that Steinway is NOT the most expensive piano.  We wanted to find out what the most expensive pianos were in 2021 and find out where Steinway landed on that list.

Ordered from high to low – the following is a list of the most expensive pianos that are generally available for sale or from current manufacturers in stock finishes — not rare historical instruments that are found in museums, or irreplaceable one-of-a-kind Art Case pianos, or unique collectibles—these can exceed $18,000,000.

Note: Pricing on a per-model basis can vary between information sources (we used a combination of internet research, and inside-industry pricing knowledge – last updated 2021).

Most people also know from experience that the most expensive things they buy are not always the best, or don’t necessarily meet their needs. When it comes to pianos, you may be surprised to learn the results.

1. Fazioli F308: $347,000

Fazioli was founded in 1978 in Rome by Paolo Fazioli, a musician and engineer who held management positions in his family’s furniture factories in Rome, Sacile, and Turin. Fazioli builds only grand pianos (no uprights), about 150 per year.The F308 concert grand is 10’2″ long and has 4 pedals like the Stuart concert grand.

Features includes Val di Femme soundboards (like the Ravencroft), adjustable bronze capo d’astro bars, Canadian pinblocks, and two actions and two pedal lyres as options on all models.

2. Stuart & Sons Beleura Concert Grand: $300,000

One of Australia’s last remaining piano-makers, Wayne Stuart, custom makes unusual pianos of unusual size–97 keys, 102 keys, and even one 9’10” model with 108 keys (9 octaves)–standard pianos have 88 keys.

Stuart’s family-run business in Tumut, southern New South Wales, uses timbers largely native to Australia and incorporates certain technical features that deviate from the norm such as 4 pedals and bridge agraffes. There are two models available, a studio grand 7’2″ in length and a full concert grand 9’10” in length.  A small number of instruments are built to order each year.

3.  Petrof P284 grand piano: $290,812

The Petrof company was created in 1864 by Antonin Petrof who was from the small town of Hradec Kralove, about 150 miles east of Prague in the current Czech Republic. He traveled to Vienna in 1857 to learn piano manufacturing and returned to his hometown to found the Petrof piano factory.

Almost 90 years later, after WWII, the company was confiscated under nationalization and it wasn’t until 1990 that Jan Petrof took over to get the company back on its feet with the return of democracy. Made in the Czech Republic, the P284 concert grand is 9’2″ and is available only in polished ebony finish.

An unusual feature Petrof has invented and patented is a version of its new grand action that uses tiny opposing magnets on the wippens and wippen rail. These magnets allow for the removal of the usual lead counterweights in the keys and, according to the company, significantly alter the action’s dynamic properties.

The new action also furthers the European Union’s stated environmental goal of phasing out the use of lead in pianos. The action is adjusted in the factory for a standard touch weight and is serviced in exactly the same way as a standard action.

The Magnetic Accelerated Action, as it is known, is a special-order option on the grands. Petrof also offers as an option the Magnetic Balanced Action, which allows the player to quickly and easily change the touch weight in the range of ±4–5 grams simply by turning a knob.

4. Seiler SE278 Concert Grand: $290,812

Seiler Pianos was established in 1849 in Leignitz by Eduard Seiler and the company eventually became the largest piano manufacturer in East Germany. After WWII the company moved to Kitzingen, Germany where it resides to this day. In 2008  Seiler was purchased by the Korean manufacturer Samick but manufacturing of high-end Seiler pianos remained in Germany.

In 2013 Seiler introduced the lower cost Johannes Seiler series with new scale designs manufactured in Indonesia. Though in business since 1849, Seiler is relatively new to the concert-grand market, having had a 9′ grand in production for only about 15 years. The Seiler SE278 concert grand is 9’2”and it is available only in polished ebony finish.

Some features of this piano are nickel-plated cut thread German rod steel tuning pins, Renner action with hornbeam rail, solid spruce “membrator” system soundboard and white spruce ribs pre-curved and notched to the inner rim.

5. Ravenscroft 275 Concert Grand: $280,000

Ravenscroft Pianos is an American-based boutique manufacturer founded in 2004 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Under the direction of Michael Spreeman, Ravenscroft has cabinets crafted in Germany and shipped to Arizona, USA for customization. The Ravenscroft 275 is 9’0″ and is available in polished ebony, pyramid mahogany, or burled walnut finishes.

Some features of this piano are Val di Femme soundboards, CAD optimized actions, multilayer braces with inlaid beech and maple bars, and mahogany and ebony laminated bridges.

6.  Steingraeber E272 Concert Grand: $258,250

Steingraeber & Sohne started building pianos in the 1820’s in Thuringia, Germany. Today they are located in Bayreuth, Germany and are still run as a family enterprise. The Steingraeber E272 concert grand is 8’11” and is available in polished or satin ebony, walnut or sapele mahogany finish. Other veneers are also available by special order.

Some features of this piano are the Renner action, sympathetically vibrating second soundboard, natural materials and glues, white keytops from cattle bone, Bavarian spruce soundboards and hardened pressure bars and bridge pins.

7.  C. Bechstein D282: $253,200

The Bechstein company was established in 1853 in Berlin, Germany by Carl Bechstein. The company survived through two world wars and many economic challenges and has remained to this day. In 1963 it was acquired by Baldwin, and in 1986 Baldwin sold it to Karl Schulze, a leading West German piano retailer and master piano technician, who undertook a complete technical and financial reorganization of the company.

The C. Bechstein D282 concert grand is 9’2” and is available only in polished ebony finish. Some features of this piano are a European solid spruce untapered soundboard, solid beech bridges with beech cap, mahogany moldings and solid wood laminate beam construction.

8. Bosendorfer 290 Concert Grand: $262,999

The Bosendorfer company was established in Vienna in 1828 by Ignaz Bosendorfer. After his passing, Ludwig Bosendorfer took over and began expanding the company. In 1966 the company was purchased by the Kimball Piano Company of America and subsequently resold in 2001 to Austrian investment banking group BAWAG-PSK.

In 2008, Yamaha Corporation purchased the company, keeping the manufacturing in Austria. The Bosendorfer Imperial concert grand is 9’6″ and has 97 keys–a full 8 octaves.

The piano is available in a variety of cabinet styles–Strauss, Schubert, Baroque, Vienna and more. The finishes include satin or polished ebony, white and other colors. Features of this instrument include extra keys, an Austrian high altitude solid spruce pre-crowned soundboard, high tension independent capo bar construction, solid red beech and spruce rims pieced together, hand-wound single looped strings, and more.

9. Grotrian G-277 $233,700

Friedrich Grotrian began manufacturing pianos in Germany in 1835 in a partnership with Heinrich Steinweg (who later emigrated to the United States to found Steinway & Sons in New York in 1853).

Grotrian pianos were well known throughout Europe and well respected and managed to continue manufacturing throughout both World Wars until eventually, in 2015, a Hong-Kong based piano manufacturer under the name Parsons Music Group bought a majority interest in the company, continuing production in the Grotrian factory in Braunschweig, Germany.

Grotrian uses laminated beech hardwood for their grand piano rims and pin blocks, actions made by Renner, solid spruce soundboards like most fine pianos, and employ single-stringing throughout the entire scale. Grotrian uprights possess an unusual back construction with the posts arranged in the shape of a star for equal distribution of string tension.

In 2018, Grotrian introduced two more affordable versions under the label Wilhelm Grotrian. They are manufactured in Asia.

10.  Sauter 275 grand piano: $230,000

The Sauter company was established in 1819 by Johann Grimm in Spaichingen, Germany. When Grimm passed, the company was left to Carl Sauter, thus beginning a lineage of Sauters. Sixth generation Ulrich Sauter now oversees operations of Sauter Pianofortemanufaktur in Germany.

The Sauter 275 concert grand is 9’0” and the piano is available only in a polished ebony finish. Some features of this piano are Bavarian solid spruce soundboard, beech pin block, Renner action, a keybed reinforced with steel to prevent warping, and all pianos are fully tropicalized for humid climates. The factory produces about 500 vertical and grand pianos a year in its factory in the extreme south of Germany, at the foot of the Alps.

11.  Shigeru Kawai SK-EX Concert Grand: $256,495

The Kawai company was formed in 1927 by Koichi Kawai and seven of his colleagues. Modern manufacturing began in 1955 and by 1963 Kawai centers were launched around the world. Shigeru Kawai are the company’s premium grade of grand pianos.

The SK-EX concert grand is 9’0” and is available only in a polished ebony finish. Some features of this piano are Australian wool hammers, a tapered and tuned solid spruce soundboard, alternating rock maple and mahogany rims, hand planed ribs, thinned hammer shanks, and post-delivery service when each buyer receives a visit within the first year by a Kawai master technician from the factory in Japan.

12.  Steinway D Concert Grand: $198,400

The most interesting fact regarding the New York-based piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons is that although it is the least expensive of the top 12 most expensive pianos, it is professionally and exclusively endorsed by 97% of solo concert pianists worldwide when playing with an orchestra, while all other piano manufacturers combined compete for a fraction of 3% of the symphony market.

Steinway has also been long recognized by piano historians as the world leader in technical and scientific piano innovation having garnered 139 engineering patents to date since 1853, the vast majority of which have been incorporated in some fashion into the other top brands and are now found in virtually every other piano manufacturer’s designs.

Each element of the Steinway concert grand has been designed and refined with the world-class performing pianist in mind.  From the Rock Maple rim, to the Alaskan Sitka spruce diaphragmatic soundboard the Steinway D is the standard by which the others are judged.

Steinway owns the German Renner action company, the German Kluge key company and the Ohio O.S. Kelly cast iron plate company.  Together these Steinway-owned companies supply many of the action and key components for most of the piano companies above.

The Model D concert grand is 9′ and is available in 13 different finishes including satin or polished ebony and many exotic hardwoods from around the world. Countless articles and books have been written about this most famous of all piano brands which has been the favorite piano of most of the world’s most eminent concert pianists in all genres.

Learn More About the Value of Pianos

The value of a given piano is something that remains somewhere between the heart, head and hands of the player. It’s fascinating to learn that the most famous and sought-after and respected piano in the world is not even in the top 10 in terms of cost.

As the New England representatives for Steinway & Sons we like to remind ourselves (and our guests!) that quality, cost, durability and reputation should be primary considerations when selecting a fine piano.

For more, check out our summary of all things Steinway.


TOP 9 PIANO-BUYER QUESTIONS 2022

After 160 years in the piano business in greater Boston – we’ve heard just about every piano question imaginable!  From “can I trade my car for your piano” to the recurrent “what’s my old piano worth?” 

Here’s a look at our top 9 frequently asked piano buyer questions so far in the year 2022:

1. What is the best piano for a beginner?

While the specifics have changed this year, the general rule remains:  You won’t be a beginner for long!  The best piano for a beginner is one that can meet the individual’s musical intentions and goals.

Some beginners hope to become advanced pianists, even professional performing pianists; other beginners simply want to get their feet wet, so to speak, to see if they will like learning to play or not. Some beginners imagine piano playing as a hobby at most; others devote themselves to becoming the best pianists they can be. The more demanding the goal, the more important the quality of the instrument.

For the serious student, growing into a piano makes sense.  Standards for touch and tone are set early in the learning process.   For the casual learner without high aspirations, an entry-level vertical or digital piano can be a logical choice.  Many stores allow trade-up credit to facilitate easy upgrades over time.

Vivian Handis wrote a fantastic article on this topic.

Steinert Tip:  Check out the Roland HP704, Boston UP120s, or the Essex EGP173.  

2. Is Craigslist a good place to search for pianos?

This answer has changed over the years.  At one point, Craigslist had a certain ‘ethic’ and a sense of fair play about it, but now it’s largely the last refuge of worn-out pianos.  Generally speaking, Craigslist is a very risky place to buy a piano due to the general ignorance of the piano’s true condition by both the buyer and the seller. Without significant technical skills, it is difficult for a non-expert to know whether a piano will hold a tune or play properly.  More subtle, but important, is to know whether it’s lost its bearing (a piano technician term for the height of the bridge relative to the strings). See Four questions to ask before accepting a free piano

A piano technician, or at the minimum, an experienced pianist should evaluate a used piano.  Consulting with someone who knows what to look for will give you a sense of the remaining musical life (if any!). Where there are no guarantees, there is no recourse if one brings home a clunker.

Steinert Tip:  Shop where there is a Trade Policy and sufficient Warranty protection.  

3. Are digitals as good as acoustics?

With advances in technology, this feels like an increasingly relevant question.  Yet, digital and acoustic pianos still offer very different piano-playing experiences.

The sound of acoustic pianos is achieved naturally through vibrating steel strings, resonant woods, and natural dampening and friction-absorbing materials such as felt and leather. The feel of an acoustic piano is derived from its often unique combination of key-length and action design. Acoustic pianos are the only instruments that offer true traditional piano sound and touch.

The sound of digital pianos is achieved electronically. Digital pianos offer many types of simulated instrumental sounds, as well as recording capability, Bluetooth, MIDI, computer compatibility, educational apps, etc.

Recently, pianos from Roland have incorporated acoustic modeling technology to recreate elements of overtones and harmonics into their piano sound. The key feel of a grand is also replicated through mechanical means in some of these newer Roland models.

They have the advantages of complete silence by means of headphones (great for families, neighbors, and roommates; ( footnote: many acoustic pianos today can also be retro-fitted with silent systems), no tuning or action adjustment costs, and smaller physical size for those in smaller homes, or who plan to move the instrument frequently.

However, digital pianos cannot exactly replicate the sound or touch of an acoustic piano–they can only simulate it–and as with most electronic devices, their components deteriorate over time. They tend to be less durable than high-quality acoustic pianos.

If one is a traditional piano purist, only the acoustic piano will do for both touch and tone. Some piano teachers accept only students who are practicing and playing on an acoustic piano.

Steinert Tip:  Bring in your teacher and a favorite piece of music – and try both types of pianos! 

4. How much does a used Steinway cost?

Of course, that depends on age, condition, size, finish, availability, and other factors.  In short, the reality is that some used Steinway pianos are essentially worthless (more below), while some rare art-case Steinways have set records (see the Alma Tadema piano at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown purchased for $1.2 million).

If the Steinway has been rebuilt or restored in any way, other factors may apply such as where the work was done and the qualifications/skill level of who did it, whether or not genuine Steinway replacement parts were used, which exact parts were replaced, and which were not replaced, etc. Some liken this process to purchasing a used high-end automobile… who performed the service, and what parts were used?

The open market range of “Used Steinways” is very broad due to the extreme range of quality out there. Generally speaking, one should expect to pay about double for a new Steinway than for a rebuilt Steinway, unless the piano has been rebuilt at the Steinway factory, in which case the price variance is 10-20%.

At some point, even a Steinway becomes a non-musical entity and of no real value  –  other than its “shell” value (a term for the wholesale value of the rim/plate).  Many are excited to learn about the inheritance or acquisition of a Steinway, only to find out a short time later that it will require a complete restoration to be usable.  A Steinway factory restoration costs as much as 80% of new.

New Steinway prices range from the low $80,000 range to about $200,000 depending upon size, finish, and other criteria. Rebuilt Steinways tend to range from about $30,000 to $100,000–again depending upon the vintage, size, finish, amount and quality of work done, etc.

Used Steinways of recent vintage are usually worth more than rebuilt old Steinways and are generally valued at roughly 75% of the price of a new Steinway.

Steinert Tip:  Two recent articles on Steinway aging and Pricing:

5. Should I rent a piano first?

When faced with the cost of paying for lessons AND buying a piano, many become concerned with the overall cost to even ‘try’ the piano.  Sometimes, the instinct is to try and get by with a substandard used piano or cheap portable keyboard.  Yet, this early stage is the period where sound and touch quality can really make a difference and that interest is being fueled.  Great beginnings often make for great outcomes!  So, if the budget or the commitment is limited, a rental could be a good option because it will still provide a high-quality piano experience.  The key to a successful piano rental experience is to keep a path towards a purchase that doesn’t lose your initial investment in the rental.

At M. Steinert & Sons, with our EZ-Start program, 12 months of rental payments may be applied toward the purchase of the rental piano or any other piano that we sell. At the end of the rental period, the return transportation cost must be paid by the renter.  EZ-Start rental fees and the available piano models may be viewed at http://msteinert.com/a-buyers-journey/piano-rental/.

Other pianos can be rented as well.  The monthly rent is 3% of the piano’s purchase price. You can rent indefinitely and the minimum period of time is 3 months. The delivery cost and the first month’s rent must be paid upfront with an approved credit check followed by a monthly billing cycle. Six months of rent can be applied towards purchase.

Steinert Tip:  We affiliate with many regional teachers and offer special pricing through them – ask your teacher if they’re connected to M. Steinert & Sons.  

6. Will you buy my old piano?

In general, we do not buy old pianos, but we will consider taking an old piano in trade toward a better piano. The old piano must be evaluated by one of our piano technicians or sales staff and a trade value (if any) assigned to it.  Our recent article on What Is My Piano Worth is a great way to understand the variables in older pianos.

In some exceptional cases, we will agree to consign newer Steinway pianos that are in excellent condition. A consignment agreement is discussed with the owner if both parties are interested in this arrangement.

For information on the age of your piano visit: http://msteinert.com/a-buyers-journey/how-old-is-my-steinway/

Steinert Tip:  Learn more about our Certified Piano Program – if you think your piano might fit here – let’s talk.  

7. What is my old piano worth?

Currently, there is no industry-wide accepted used piano “bluebook”, as there is for automobiles. Ultimately, one is pricing the musical art, or musicality, of which a piano is capable, which will vary widely in each case. There is no established or industry-standard valuation formula for used pianos. See What Is My Piano Worth?

Steinert Tip:  For more information about what happens to pianos as they age, see: http://msteinert.com/blog/new-vs-used-steinway/

8. Can I get a better price?

Price should reflect actual value, as the price of anything is established by its true value. Assuming the honesty of the seller, if a piano is discounted, that is its true value at that point in time.

Some piano stores and brands post significantly inflated MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) on their pianos and offer large percentage discounts to give the impression of attractive values (mark it up to mark it down etc.) –but in reality, the price for which the piano is sold is the only thing that determines its true value.

Other piano stores and brands, notably Steinway, and M. Steinert & Sons, do not engage in such strategies and any price discounts will be done only for legitimate reasons such as length of time in inventory, true current condition, maintenance history, availability, etc.

If there is a discount, it is due to some legitimate reasons such as inventory aging, overstock, musical considerations, a very limited-time promotion, some cosmetic flaw, etc.

Therefore you may on occasion get a lower price but not a truly better price. Both the price of discounted pianos and pianos that are not discounted are equally good and fair values at a dealership that has integrity.

Steinert Tip:  Call us.  If you reside in our market area (Greater Boston/Eastern Massachusetts), we are committed to earning your business.   

9. Why should I do business with you over someone else?

We’d like to think we have something for everyone, but it ultimately depends upon your particular piano needs, budget and preferences. We also believe that the reputation, stability, and longevity of a dealership are important for piano ownership since every acoustic piano requires basic maintenance.

Some popular piano brands change dealerships every few years. One popular piano brand has seen 3 different owners/dealers in the last 8 years.  M. Steinert & Sons has been in business in the Boston area for over 160 years and has been the sole Authorized Steinway dealer for the region since 1869.

M. Steinert & Sons is the official supplier of pianos to the legendary Boston Symphony Orchestra and nearly all other leading musical institutions and venues throughout New England.  We work with private teaching studios, community music schools, pianists of every level while supporting the local music community and economy.  We’ve made a serious commitment to keeping the piano a vibrant force in music-making in our region!

Learn more about us at: http://msteinert.com/about-m-steinert-sons/steinerts-history/


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How the Pandemic Brought Life Back Into Our Living Rooms

by By Elizabeth Ann Reed, January 8, 2021, Courtesy of the Boston Globe

(Ed Note:  We are honored to be able to reprint this wonderful article that appeared in the Boston Globe in January 2021 highlighting the timeless role of the piano in the home, especially during challenging times.)

Piano teachers like me travel back in time to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries every day to teach Bach’s preludes and fugues, to reenact Mozart’s operatic piano sonatas, and to regenerate Chopin’s passionate nocturnes. Just a piano and a score are needed to transport us to living rooms, previously known as front rooms, receiving rooms, drawing rooms, sitting rooms, parlors, and salons, where these musical masterpieces often premiered.

In past centuries, this room served as the center of family life. It was for formally receiving visitors, for playing games, making music, writing letters, and reading books. There, playwrights presented dramas, authors and poets read their works aloud, composers and musicians performed — all steadfast traditions. Until the early 1900s, it was also a mournful place: viewings and wakes were commonly held there for deceased relatives. When “living room” originated is unclear; the term can be found in Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman Jr.’s 1897 groundbreaking book, The Decoration of Houses. But it’s the Ladies’ Home Journal that’s often credited with popularizing the term in a 1910 article.

Then in the 1950s building boom, the addition of a family room with its comfy sofas drew the family in to do homework, watch TV, or listen to music on stereos. Basements became rec rooms with pool or table tennis. The living room was again reserved for formal visits, the finer furniture upholstered in aqua tones and smothered in plastic.

In homes without a finished basement or family room, the 20th-century living room remained a center of home entertainment, but the plays, book sharing, and music making often gave way to the ultimate entertainer — the TV. Students’ pianos drifted to sunrooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, even closet spaces.

Now, technology rules every room. Reading aloud occurs in the car with audiobooks, or as a solo activity with a smartphone and headphones. Authors and poets read new works at bookstores. Live music is mobile through hand-held devices. And the living room?

That depends. It’s the default room for larger gatherings, and now, during the pandemic, as office space for children and adults. It’s still the most popular place for students’ pianos and digital keyboards, though some of my students have theirs in their own place of refuge, their bedrooms.

Betty Reed

Even though I’ve been a crusader of using computer programs and iPad apps for teaching, my living room remains my refuge, where I teach my students, practice on my grand piano, and play chamber music with my daughter on violin and my son on cello.

But like everyone else’s home spaces, the pandemic forced immediate rethinking. When the COVID-19 pandemic first crescendoed last March, quarantine requirements pushed my colleagues and me into online teaching over seven hectic days. We drew on qualities required for our profession: creativity, fortitude, and patience.

The first week I bounced between FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom. Connections were spotty, sound was distorted, screens froze for minutes that felt like hours. By week 11, I had four devices connected — for Zoom hosting, mirroring a closeup of the keys, viewing online scores, and projecting the games I play with students.

Although I’ve been able to troubleshoot Internet and sound issues, the result is far from ideal. Technology hasn’t yet replaced the deep resonance that the wood and strings of a piano create.

But being forced to teach online altered my perspective. Instead of students entering my living room to play my piano, I was beamed into their living rooms, hearing them play on their instruments. Not once did I hear the perennial student excuse, “It sounded better at home!” I met their pets. I could assess if the bench was too high, too low, too close or too far from the keyboard. I heard the background noises my students have to compete with.

But most striking from this new vantage point was seeing that the living room has once again become the center of live performance.

For a piano teacher and students, the culminating event of the year is the annual recital, often held in a church or library. My late mother was also a piano teacher and an accomplished player, and I’m fortunate to have her piano studio available for performances — an open space with a cathedral ceiling and skylights, two Steinway grand pianos and seating for 60. Not this year.

I could have hosted a Zoom meeting of live performances, but I wanted better sound quality and no panic-inducing technical glitches. My students pre-recorded their performances from their living rooms or wherever their pianos or keyboards were.

My daughter produced a video to be shown on the recital evening. I recorded my welcoming and closing speeches, and high school senior tribute, all from my living room, and compiled photos of current students taken over the years for a slide show.

Did every student dress up? Was there an annual group picture? Did students race to the refreshments table to stack their plates with chocolate eclairs, mini cupcakes, and frosted brownies? You know the answer.

Then what did we have? We had a recital showcasing young musicians’ accomplishments, shared with family and friends, who followed along on printed programs and snacked on cookies I delivered ahead of time.

We’ve reclaimed our living rooms and other places of refuge to share life’s meaningful moments. During the pandemic, that’s more important than it might seem. In the end, we created the same environment of presenting music from hundreds of years ago — a wonderful, intimate evening of piano performances in our homes. W

With the aid of modern technology, we’ve gone back 300 years.


M. Steinert & Sons is honored to reproduce this work from Elizabeth Reed with her permission.  


PROS and CONS of New and Rebuilt Steinways:

(by Charles Johnson, Updated November 2021)
Are you looking to purchase a Steinway piano? Or just curious, and aren’t sure whether to buy new or rebuilt? In this article, we explore the pros and cons of new vs. rebuilt Steinway.

When the possibility of Steinway ownership first occurred to me – I focused on the brand – and forgot that I was purchasing an individual instrument.  The idea of owning a Steinway, any Steinway, was powerful – it’s what almost every pianist aspires to.

However, I didn’t ultimately inquire about the details of the piano and a pending rebuild which didn’t include certain Steinway parts.

Now, with the sweetness of a lower price forgotten and daily exposure to the touch and tone of new Steinway pianos, I’ve come to realize what I didn’t get.  My next piano will be a new Steinway.

Suppose you are considering a rebuilt Steinway. In that case, you will need to consider every rebuild on its own specific merits and history to avoid the investment into a potential’ knock-off.’

First, let’s examine the term “rebuilt.”

What is a Rebuilt Piano?

Typically an older fine brand piano, acquired by a rebuilder to profitably resell by replacing critical parts to make the piano seem new.

Rebuilding is not to be confused with restoring a piano, meaning repairing existing parts. Rebuilding often includes replacing major structures and significant-finish work to retain aspects of the original instrument.

Please bear in mind that not all rebuilds are equal.

Are Steinways the only pianos that get rebuilt?


The piano rebuilding industry is dominated by the Steinway brand purely because Steinway is arguably the most prestigious and widely recognized brand of a fine piano.

Simply put, it is worth it for rebuilders to attempt to rebuild a Steinway piano since the brand name itself confers so much value. Rebuilders can charge a hefty premium for any piano that says Steinway on the fallboard or plate and “looks” like a Steinway.

Other pianos that will get rebuilt include Bechstein, Bosendorfer, Mason and Hamlin.

Typically, Yamaha and the other production pianos are not rebuilt.  Their foundation structures are not conducive to this process and don’t have value on the rebuilt market.

There is always at least one rebuilder who will rebuild ANY piano, even if the rebuilding costs more than the piano is worth before or after the rebuild.

Dealers of non-Steinway brands often advertise that they carry used and restored Steinways to attract the Steinway shopper. See our new vs. used article for a deeper look at aged vs. new Steinway.

PROs of Rebuilt Steinway


1. Brand Status

It still “says” Steinway on it, even if it’s only a label at that point.

2. Lower Cost

As described in the “Cons of Rebuilt” Steinway – the shortcuts and cost-saving techniques employed by rebuilders will tend to reduce the end price.  Note: a Steinway Factory Rebuild costs about 80% of new.

3. Steinway Rebuild Option

Steinway does offer a rebuilding service at their NY Factory – and a properly rebuilt Steinway can approximate all the features and characteristics of their new instruments.

The factory rebuild is a good choice if one has a family heirloom Steinway with sentimental or historic attachment value but wants it rebuilt to the quality of a genuine Steinway.

The expertise and resources needed to properly deconstruct, repair, and reassemble a fine instrument without falling prey to inevitable shortcuts is the province of Steinway alone.

CONs of a Rebuilt Steinway Piano


1. Inauthentic parts / Non-Steinway Soundboard and Pinblock

Virtually all rebuilt Steinways are no longer authentic Steinways (except those rebuilt BY Steinway).

The heart of the Steinway sound, the patented Diaphragmatic Soundboard, cannot be made or installed outside of the Steinway factory.

The legendary wood selected for a Steinway soundboard is only available thanks to long-standing relationships with the best Sitka spruce suppliers.  Steinway requires Sitka Spruce from trees on a north-facing slope – focusing on the straightness of grain, and 10 to 12 growth rings per inch.

Then, artisans select and match the planks for assembly and utilize a $500,000, custom piece of laser-guided machinery to complete the proprietary soundboard manufacturing process.

Essentially, no matter how hard they try, rebuilders and dealers can not recreate the sound of a Steinway soundboard. They can not manufacture their rebuilt pianos in the same manner or with the same materials. Steinway does not sell its proprietary soundboards or pinblocks to any rebuilding shop, dealer, or distributor.

In addition, the patented Steinway Hexagrip Pinblock is essential to Steinway tuning stability and overall piano tonality. The Steinway pinblock would be nearly impossible to manufacture outside of the Steinway factory – and if someone tried – it would cost as much as Steinway’s.

Rebuilders are forced to use generic substitutes of these critical components from various suppliers or create their own parts, resulting in an inauthentic Steinway piano.

Think of rebuilding a Ferrari, without using a Ferrari engine, and you get the idea.

Rebuilders leverage the likelihood that few buyers of rebuilt Steinways understand or will inquire about the role of these critical components.  Buyers are often told they’re ‘no big deal.’ Yet, the unaware buyer is now getting a “Stein-was.”

2. The Golden Age Myth

To attract buyers to generically rebuilt Steinways, used Steinway dealers and rebuilders have  perpetuated elaborate myths about a Steinway “Golden Age.”

Rebuilders created and now attempt to perpetuate this myth to suggest that Steinway pianos were somehow better in the past. They infer something mythical or magical about this period to propose that a Golden Age piano is better than a new Steinway. The reality is that there isn’t a “Golden Age” period.  The rebuilt Steinway you purchased will not sound or play as well as a new Steinway.

The new Steinway retains old-world building methods where appropriate.  Yet, Steinway also embraces new tools and technology where applicable as well.  Continual investment in new machinery and ever-refined processes yields a new instrument with a broader range of tonal color and a more consistent touch. 

Uninformed and unsuspecting consumers often fall for these romanticized lies. The well-documented fact is that the vast majority of leading concert pianists and professional music institutions worldwide have always performed on and invested in new Steinways for over one and a half centuries.

Only select dealerships can sell a new Steinway piano. Any business can sell a used or rebuilt one – and the golden age myth plays perfectly into our historic sympathies and sense of nostalgia.

3. Varying Rebuilder Expertise

The range of expertise among piano dealers and technicians in rebuilding old Steinways is vast, so buyer beware.

Some workmanship is low-grade at best, while others sincerely do the best they can within the limits of parts and materials available to them. Since they cannot obtain all the genuine Steinway parts and equipment they would prefer, there truly is no way a rebuilt Steinway can sound exactly like a new one.

There is no standard for accountability or consistency in the rebuilding industry, and the results and risks to the consumer vary widely.

PROs of a New Steinway Piano


1. Unparalleled Touch/Tone

New Steinway pianos (manufactured at the New York and Hamburg Factories) reflect all the experience, design refinements, and evolved selection of materials to maintain the reputation of the world’s finest piano and their place on the world’s concert stages.

2. Longevity

In a heavily used institutional setting, a properly maintained Steinway & Sons piano has a lifespan of approximately 50 years. In a home with standard usage, that lifespan can often be much longer.  The famous rim construction process creates the shell/foundation for a very durable instrument.   Contrast this to other brands where a 10 to 30-year life is ordinary.

3. Integrity

Only new Steinways have enjoyed the accumulated knowledge, expertise, and legacy of the Steinway factories since 1853. Steinway has produced 139 engineering patents to date, 13 in the last ten years alone.

4. Spirio Technology Option

Since 2016, Spirio technology has revolutionized the way many experience the sound of Steinway.

CONS of a New Steinway Piano


1. Cost

To maintain the quality standards set by Steinway and demanded by its customers and artists, the company must absorb the price of materials and the costs of skilled labor to produce these remarkable instruments.   For this reason, the cost of a new Steinway has generally increased often at a rate greater than the annual inflation rate.

Since its founding in 1853, Steinway & Sons’ mission statement has been simple; “Build the Best Piano Possible.” This mantra is plastered all over their factory.  Steinway will not compromise their mission statement to achieve a price point.  So, as labor and material costs increase, the Steinway piano price must also increase.

2. Access

There are only about 2600 Steinway pianos produced worldwide each year.  Many of these go to China, where there is a burgeoning demand for them.  Only a select group of dealers in the US are authorized to carry new Steinway pianos.

Your Steinway Choice


You will need to decide if it is worth the worry and stress to go the rebuild route. Determining whether a given piano is authentic and a technician is experienced and disciplined enough is a daunting task at best. Sometimes techs that at one time were highly disciplined don’t hold to the same standards over time when they realize they can cut corners and costs and still sell their wares.

We remind our new Steinway shoppers that 97 percent of concert pianists worldwide choose new Steinway pianos over rebuilt ones, so why shouldn’t you? As Lang Lang said, “I’ve been playing Steinway pianos exclusively for many years. In my experience, they keep getting better every year, and I have no doubt that the best Steinways ever produced are the ones being built today.”

To learn more, please view our Piano Bits Video about the role of design and time in piano manufacturing featured in our New vs. Used Steinway article.

Are you in the Boston region?  Feel free to make an appointment to experience a new Steinway at one of our Boston area locations. 

You can also fill out our contact form or piano finder form to assist you in finding the perfect Steinway piano for you.


M. Steinert & Sons Achieves Milestone – 160 Years

IN A MONUMENTAL MOMENT OF HISTORY


from left, Steinway CEO Ron Losby with Steinert’s Paul Murphy, Brendan Murphy, and Jerome Murphy.

How do you celebrate 160 years of uncompromised service during a global pandemic? M. Steinert & Sons – believed to be the oldest American music store in continuous operation – is finding a way. The business has survived countless challenges, enduring many of them while anchoring the city’s Piano Row District.

Morris Steinert emigrated from Germany to the United States, eventually settling in Georgia in 1860. A master of multiple instruments, he worked his way north at the onset of the Civil War as a piano teacher and tuner. Among his many musical endeavors, he formed a family band that became the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

In 1869, Morris inked an agreement to sell pianos with William Steinway. It remains one of the longest business partnerships in the nation. “The relationship between M. Steinert & Sons and Steinway & Sons has endured from generation to generation because both companies share a common goal of bringing the best quality instruments to market,” says Steinert President Paul Murphy Jr. “The Steinway piano is the reason Steinert has been in business for 160 years,” adds Brendan Murphy, Vice President and Director of Institutional Sales.

Although closed since 1942, Steinert Hall continues to capture the imagination of Boston history buffs.

Morris established headquarters at 162 Boylston Street in 1896. He hired a young bookkeeper, Jerome Murphy, starting a new family pedigree forever linked to the fortunes of M. Steinert & Sons.

Like William Steinway, Morris’ son Alexander was business savvy. To promote live music, he constructed Steinert Hall some 40 feet below street level in the basement of the six-story building

. Steinway immortals Ignace Paderewski and Sergei Rachmaninoff were two of many star performers. “Among operatic singers of international renown, the Hall was called the “Little Gem” because of its fine acoustic properties,” recalls Paul Murphy Jr.

For years, Steinert ordered hundreds of Steinways as the business expanded to more than 40 stores in New England and New York. Hard times following the Great Depression, coupled with Alexander’s death, brought Steinert close to the edge. In 1934, with the Steinway partnership still intact, Jerome Murphy went on to acquire the assets and rescue the company by focusing solely on the piano business.

Steinert’s iconic treble clef is a staple fixture on Boylston Street.

“M. Steinert & Sons has survived all manner of ups and downs artistically and economically a year before the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter,” notes Brendan Murphy. “While the piano industry has been in decline for many years, we strive to manage the company in a fiscally responsible way. Demand for high-quality instruments remains steady and we plan to serve our market for generations to come.”


Steinway Announces Availability Shortage

As Steinway dealers since 1869, there have only been a few times in that great history where Steinway has had to announce a shortfall in Steinway Grand production due to extraordinary circumstances.

The last time this happened was World War II – when they stopped for three years and built the GI piano (a fascinating story at steinway.com). The Coronavirus period has just become one of those rare moments that has forced a change in Steinway’s production.

Steinway always sells every piano it makes. In 2020 there’s going to be a shortfall given the sustained demand in the overall market for quality instruments. We are fortunate to have a reasonable stock of Steinway pianos at this time. Consider an appointment at one of our showrooms to view and play the finest pianos in the world.  

The following letter from Ron Losby, CEO of Steinway & Sons, describes the situation (pdf version):

Letter from Ron Losby CEO Steinway Musical Properties


M. Steinert & Sons Opens in West Newton

High Profile Location Extends Commitment to Excellence in Music-Making

In a rare move for these extraordinary times, M. Steinert & Sons is reaffirming its commitment to New England in a big way. A new showroom at 1069 Washington Street is fully stocked with the latest Steinway & Sons pianos and Roland digital pianos.

“Whether you are shopping for your very first piano or the legendary Steinway, we will do everything possible to earn your trust and help you make an informed decision,” says Sales Manager Steve Hauk. “We will listen carefully and offer thoughtful recommendations.”

Steinert’s two-story building is easily accessible from Interstates 95 and 90. The multi-purpose complex offers an abundance of natural lighting, high ceilings, and a low-keyed ambiance. “Our central location and convenient parking make it easy to get here, and customers will experience a wonderful atmosphere well-suited to select the piano of their dreams,” Hauk says.

The showroom boasts a full-service Piano Academy with five teaching studios. “If you need lessons, our teaching studios are bright and spacious, and they are equipped with Steinway pianos,” he adds. When prudent, Steinert plans on hosting small performances and piano recitals to support the local music community.

Located in the heart of a culturally rich region overflowing with schools, houses of worship and private residences, “we are returning to our roots by coming to such a strong community as West Newton,” says Hauk, stressing that Steinert is celebrating its 160th anniversary. “Music teachers and businesses have expressed great enthusiasm for what we are doing here, so we are excited by the many possibilities before us.”

Steinert operates under an institutional philosophy “that we are part of the same musical and artistic ecosystem, with each part critical to the success of the others,” explains Brendan Murphy, Director of Institutional Sales. “In addition to workshops and offering space for student recitals, we can help teachers recruit new students. We also offer scholarships for students and honorariums to our dedicated partners.”

Supporting Schools, Teachers

World-class institutions have come to rely on Steinert, especially in today’s environment. Relationships forged over decades at the historic flagship at 162 Boylston Street sowed the seeds for a successful expansion to West Newton. “We have been providing piano solutions for generations of leaders at a host of schools, universities and conservatories,” says Murphy.

“It is always wonderful to meet a new administrator, music chair or faculty member and assure them that we will continue to build on that legacy. We are long on institutional memory that helps us avoid pitfalls while creating a positive experience for all our clients.”

Having represented Steinway & Sons longer than any other retailer in the world, Steinert can evaluate today’s pianos with an unequaled degree of authority. “Quality improves year after year, and the new pianos are so wonderful right out of the box that our technicians often need only to tune them before they are ready for our highly-discerning customers,” Murphy observes.

Showcasing the latest piano technology

The technological advances in Steinway’s line of Spirios — available in West Newton — are opening a whole new segment of the marketplace. “For many years, people with the desire and wherewithal to own a new Steinway just could not justify it. We would hear ‘I don’t play well enough’ or ‘what if my son or daughter doesn’t take to piano lessons?’  Well now, with the reproductive quality sounds of Spirio, the piano once again becomes a well-rounded home entertainment system, just as it was at the turn of the century.”

For those not quite ready for a Steinway, Murphy points to Steinway designs found in the Boston and Essex line of pianos. Bostons have become a staple at several prestigious music festivals around the globe, including Tanglewood. “The Boston piano is the world’s best production piano,” he asserts. “It provides a professional quality instrument at a price point achievable to many pianists. Steinway DNA is evident throughout the scale design, tone quality and action geometry.”

Whatever the need, M.Steinert & Sons stands ready to serve. Visit www. msteinert.com for updates on West Newton and other exciting plans as New England emerges from the pandemic stronger than ever.


Check out our Newton Location Page for more information.  

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Newton

1069 Washington Street
Newton, MA 02465
Phone:
508-655-7373
Store Hours:
Monday - Friday: 11 am to 6 pm
Saturday : 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday: Noon to 5 pm

Boston

28 Damrell Street
Boston, MA 02127
Phone:
617-426-1900
Store Hours:
By appointment: