The Steinway At Our Fingertips
One of the many benefits of being the resident company of the Performing Arts Center is having access to the hall's magnificent Steinway piano. The instrument represents more than a century of craftsmanship.
Henry Steinway, born Heinrich Steinweg, built his first piano in his kitchen and went on to fine-tune his craft before immigrating from Germany to the United States. He’d already built 482 pianos before opening Steinway and Sons in 1853, setting up shop in a small loft in Manhattan, but he and his family didn’t settle for same-old-same-old. His company continued to develop its craft and refine its product, claiming more than 100 patents and utilizing new scientific research in acoustics.
The Steinways were just as savvy with marketing their pianos as they were with making them. They positioned themselves at various exhibitions, including the Paris Exhibition in 1867, winning medal after medal and establishing a world-class reputation. They built Steinway Hall, an auditorium that seated 2,000, and required New York Philharmonic concert-goers to enter through a piano showroom in order to reach their seats.
After expanding into a new and larger facility in Queens, they built Steinway Village, a company town with foundries, parks, a post office, church, library and housing for employees—at its peak, the town even had a beer garden and an amusement park. Steinway Village has since been incorporated into Astoria, but the factory remains in its original location, as does the Steinway Reformed Church and the Steinway Library. And some of the original employee houses still exist as private residences.
After more than 150 years, Steinway and Sons still makes its prized pianos in traditional fashion, producing about 2,500 a year; and its reputation is as solid as ever.
The Performing Arts Center was given a Steinway piano as a generous donation from Dr. Daniel and Mary Miller of Dutchman Hospitality. The beauty is nine feet in length and is stored in a special, temperature-controlled environment.
We are delighted to have it available to us, a treat that allows us to invite Steinway artists like Orion Weiss to perform with us. He'll be here April 22 to play Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue!
Photo: the photo used here is of Henry Steinway, an image taken by Mathew Brady.