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True piano sound Meridian Audio systems
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Dear Steinway piano owners: My association with Steinway & Sons over the past 22 years and with the Steinway piano has been one of the truly wonderful treasures that life affords any individual. During that time I have been privileged in my travels to meet many of you. It is, therefore, with heartfelt feelings of humility, pride and gratitude that I share with you the announcement of my retirement. I feel humility because as President and CEO of Steinway & Sons I have followed in the historic footsteps of my predecessors: our dear Henry Z. Steinway, his father – Theodore; Frederick, Charles and William. All of these men exemplified leadership and vision – and I was just a country boy from Shenandoah, Iowa whose destiny it was to be placed in such august company. I feel a deep sense of pride, because for the past 154 years our Steinway piano has been a bright beacon of light strengthening the cause and culture of making music around the world. Passing the torch is never easy, but I do so knowing the best years for Steinway & Sons still lie ahead. I am leaving with complete confidence in the seasoned team of management, and factory craftspeople who have been in place for so many years. They will carry on the tradition of quality and excellence in both the crafting of our instruments and service to our Steinway owners. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this great company and to have been a part of such an enduring legacy. All those memorable moments of the past 22 years and relationships with so many dear Steinway owners and friends will last a lifetime.
Bruce A. Stevens Steinway & Sons President and CEO
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contents 18 HERITAGE The nephews take charge: ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... 12 Charles H. Steinway, Frederick T. Steinway, and Henry Ziegler By Miles Chapin In tune with history: ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................18 Steinway at the White House By Craig Collins A barrelful of songs ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................26 By Robin Meloy Goldsby A dream come true ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................30 Disney animator Willis Pyle takes up piano – on a Steinway – at 85 By Anna Marie French Cushing
PRODUCTS & PERFORMANCE STEINWAY PERSONALITIES The art of being a virtuoso . ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 36 Yefim Bronfman By Kirsten Ott From Russia with love ............................................................................................................................................................................................................... 40 Lola Astanova By Kirsten Ott The cutting-edge composer .................................................................................................................................................................................................41 Vijay Iyer By Kirsten Ott The trilogy of talent ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 43 Jon Regen By Kirsten Ott Listen up . .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 45 Jeffrey Siegel By Kirsten Ott French connection ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................46 Jacky Terrasson By Kirsten Ott All in the family . ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 47 Michael Wolff By Kirsten Ott Steinway & Sons news ...............................................................................................................................................................................................................48 Compiled by Jesse Scaccia and Iwalani Kahikina The sound heard ‘round the world ................................................................................................................................................................................. 54 An ever-growing roster of All-Steinway Schools spells an education at the keys of a Steinway for students worldwide By Laura Spinale
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Quite simply the most elegant classic kitchens made in America.
A White House treasure ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................62 Steinway’s newest Legendary Collection piano re-creates the Gold Grand By Craig Collins Steinway & Sons announces its first licensed watch collection . ............................................................................................................ 65 Compiled by Jesse Scaccia Piano competitions choose Steinway . ........................................................................................................................................................................66 By Stuart Isacoff
KEYS TO THE PALACE Collective reasoning ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................72 Insight, inspiration, and enlightenment abound at Tallahassee Antique Car Museum By David A. Brown
KEYS TO THE WORLD Surprising Nashville . .................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 80 By Vera Marie Badertscher Shedding light on the 2008 Olympics, sights, and sounds . ........................................................................................................................88 By Claudia Jannone The piano on the beach on luscious St. Lucia . .......................................................................................................................................................98 By Vera Marie Badertscher
KEYS TO THE COLLECTION Leaving your mark ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 112 Technology can’t hold a candle to the romance of a pen, as many consumers are beginning to understand By Julie Sturgeon Modern muses . ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................118 The changing face of contemporary sculpture By Kirsten Ott Future wise .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................126 A guide to building and protecting funds for your future and planning for the distribution of your estate By Carol Oldham O’Hara Part of life . ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 134 Fractional ownership allows you to live like the super rich By Laura Spinale
KEYS TO THE ROAD James Toseland . ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................144 Motorcycle champion and Steinway enthusiast By Michael A. Robinson Green with luxury ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................146 Hybrid automobiles as aspirational vehicles By Jan Tegler
Handcrafted kitchens that combine the sophistication of European furniture styling with the quality & convenience required in today’s premium, custom kitchen.
Winter 2007 | www.wmohs.com
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A Faircount Publication North American Headquarters 701 N. West Shore Blvd., Tampa, FL 33609 Tel: (813) 639-1900 Fax: (813) 639-4344 European Headquarters 5 Ella Mews, Hampstead, London NW3 2NH UK Tel: 44 (0) 20-7428-7000 Fax: 44 (0) 20-7284-2118 Asia-Pacific Headquarters Level 21, Tower 2, 201 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia Tel: 61 (2) 9006 3370 Fax:61 (2)
Publishers Ross W. Jobson and Peter M. Antell Editorial Director Charles Oldham email@example.com Consulting Editor Leo Spellman Project Editor Ana E. Lopez Editor Rhonda Carpenter Assistant Editors Iwalani Kahikina, Michael J. Tully Art Director Robin K. McDowall Project Designer Rebecca Laborde Design & Production Daniel Mrgan, Lorena Noya Production Assistant Kenia Y. Perez Writers Vera Marie Badertscher David A. Brown, Miles Chapin Craig Collins, Anna Marie French Cushing, Robin Meloy Goldsby, Stuart Isacoff, Claudia Jannone, Carol Oldham Oâ€™Hara, Kirsten Ott, Michael A. Robinson, Jesse Scaccia, Laura Spinale, Julie Sturgeon, Jan Tegler
Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant General Manager Robin Jobson email@example.com Advertising Account Executives Chad Garofalo Doug Griffith James Hurst Stuart Jolly Sophia Leich Peter Lewis Dan McCullough Business Development Edward J. Matthews firstname.lastname@example.org Ed Veprovsky email@example.com Controller Robert John Thorne Assistant to the Publisher Alexis Vars Director of Information Systems John Madden firstname.lastname@example.org Office Administrator Heidi Reis
ÂŠCopyright 2007, Faircount LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction of editorial content in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Faircount LLC does not assume responsibility for the advertisements, nor any representation made therein, nor the quality or deliverability of the products themselves. Reproduction of articles and photographs, in whole or in part, contained herein is prohibited without expressed written consent of the publisher, with the exception of reprinting for news media use. Printed in the United States of America.
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The Nephews Take Charge: Charles H. Steinway, Frederick T. Steinway, and Henry Ziegler By Miles Chapin
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress
It’s common in America to be able to chart the arc of a successful family with the phrase “shirt-sleeves to shirt-sleeves in three generations” but in the case of the Steinways and their eponymous company, the cliché just plain isn’t true. The years between the death of William Steinway, the founder’s son, and the ascension of his son Theodore to the firm’s presidency – the years between 1896 and 1927, when William’s nephews Charles and Frederick Steinway were running Steinway & Sons and their first cousin Henry Ziegler was in charge of engineering – were by nearly every measure the most prosperous in the company’s history.
Top row, left to right: George A. Steinway, William Steinway, and Charles H. Steinway. Bottom row, left to right: Charles F. Tretbar, Henry W.T. Steinway, Henry Ziegler, Frederick T. Steinway, and Nahum Stetson.
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© Pach Brothers
These were the glory years when Steinway & Sons reached heights of renown, production capacity, and profitability not seen before. The larger-than-life character of William Steinway was a hard act to follow, but when he died in 1896 these two brothers – the sons of William’s brother Charles – along with their cousin Henry Ziegler – a son of William’s sister Doretta – took a company that was in a state of financial confusion and transformed it into one that produced “The Instrument of the Immortals.” That was no easy feat; it took a combination of business acumen, public relations savvy, and new products to survive, let alone prosper, during those years. The three of them came up in the company together and were the best of friends. Rarely a day went by when they weren’t in communication. Charles and Fred were front office men working directly under William, and Henry Ziegler was mentored by their uncle, the engineering genius C.F. Theodore Steinway, the man who by most accounts brought forth the modern grand piano. The company’s crown of leadership fell first to Charles, then to Fred, each of whom died in office, while Henry remained at the firm until 1930, one of the longest runs in company history. This was a significant time period for the rest of the American piano industry, too, so in order to understand the significance of these three individuals’ contributions, a little context is appropriate. Pianos were a much bigger business 100 years ago than they are today. The all-time high for American piano production was in 1904, when 7 percent of the total value of consumer durables produced in the nation represented musical instruments, most of them pianos. After the turn of 20th century, the American piano industry underwent tremendous growth but at the same time it consolidated, with many firms either going out of business altogether or being absorbed into piano “trusts” such as the American Piano Company (commonly known as Ampico) and Aeolian. Steinway & Sons, however, whose output has always represented a small portion of the total production but a large percentage of the industry’s profits, continued on the path of family ownership and management. But these were also the years when competition to the piano as home entertainment came on strong, phonographs and radio in particular, and the long decline of the piano as the epicenter of the American home began. For Charles and Fred, the timing may have been fortuitous, but that is not to diminish their contributions. When William died, the financial aspect of the business was in rough shape. William Steinway was a visionary. He saw New York’s growth going outwards, not necessarily upwards (as in skyscrapers) and he had invested a lot of the company’s money in real estate in Queens. He also held equity positions in a good part of the infrastructure of that borough: the street railway lines,
ferryboats, and the like, and other more speculative ventures such as the Daimler Motor Company and the Bowery Bay Improvement Company, which owned and operated an attraction called North Beach Amusement Park on the site where LaGuardia Airport is now. William also had a soft touch for indigent artists, a class of people he dearly loved, and family members asking for a helping hand. He also had the unfortunate habit of commingling the company’s funds with his own. When he died, his estate was a gnarled amalgamation of assets and uncollected debts, and there was little ready cash. The bulk of it consisted of shares in these questionable ventures, casually recorded uncollected debt from individuals, and Steinway & Sons stock.
Charles H. Steinway, 1916.
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In 1898, The New York Herald reported “William Steinway ... is now said to have left an estate so seriously encumbered that there is doubt whether it will suffice to satisfy all the claims against it.” The fact that there was a recession in the country at the time of his death didn’t help matters either. This was the situation that Charles inherited upon William’s death and his immediate ascension to the presidency of Steinway & Sons. Fred was installed as vice president, in charge of the production. Henry Ziegler stayed on as head of engineering. Charles had been working at the firm for 22 years, since age 17, and was the unanimous choice to succeed William. Very different in personal style than his uncle, Charles was the quintessential businessman; less colorful than William, and less
© Underwood & Underwood Studios, N.Y.
Frederick T. Steinway, 1925.
eager to take on a public mantle, but a person who nonetheless enjoyed the good life. He played the piano and composed short pieces of piano music – waltzes, nocturnes, and the like – and clearly enjoyed a good drink, a cigar, and a game of billiards. His energy may have been as strong as William’s but his emphasis was different. Charles had little desire to play the role of “Mr. Steinway” for the general populace. Good thing, too, because at this juncture the company needed the attention of a good manager. With William’s estate in chaos and creditors circling, the first idea was to sell the company outright. To this end Charles made a couple of quiet trips to London, to see if he could sell Steinway & Sons shares on the open market. Why he didn’t take the subway down to Wall Street to affect the same result is a mystery, but a letter written from London to his brother Fred reveals his thinking. Selling the company was, he wrote, the “last and only chance” to avert “scandal on the name Steinway.” The market capitalization of the company was set at $6 million, a large sum in those days for any company – it was 22 times the 1896 earnings of Steinway & Sons – but one which shows the relative value of the piano business. Procter & Gamble, for example, had a market value of $1.25 million at the same time. This “syndication,” an old-fashioned word for buy-out, was a risky move. Apparently the London financial market agreed: The shares were under-subscribed and the whole deal fell through. Charles had tried to keep the venture hush-hush, but the New York press, which had been covering the drama of the William Steinway estate, found out about it; they presented the buyout, erroneously, as a done deal while they continued to give ink to the estate’s troubles. “Steinway Secrets Out” was a headline in The New York Times, in reference to a lawsuit brought against the company by none other than Fred and Charles’ older brother, while at the same time the paper reported “the present members of the firm ... had consummated a deal whereby the extensive business of the firm passes into the hands of an English syndicate.” This came at the same moment as Charles wrote from London, “Dear Boys, Long before this reaches you my cables will have informed you of the utter failure of my English plan ... I have no excuses to make and can only tell you we are dumbfounded at the result.” Dejected by the failure of this bold maneuver, Charles returned to his office at Steinway Hall on 14th Street to try to solve the problem in-house.
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© Pach Brothers
Thus began a period when his talents as an operating executive were put to the test. He literally rolled up his sleeves and began, as in the words of his first cousin once-removed, Henry Z. Steinway, who faced similar challenges after World War II, “sticking to the knitting” of the piano business. First thing was to take a serious look at the product line. Right away it was decided to cut prices. This was something that had been done only once during William’s time, but all on the board agreed it was time to do it once more. The company introduced several new models that were long-gestating products of Henry Ziegler’s “Inventions Department:” a new and smaller, hence less expensive, Model O grand piano; and a new line of vertical, or upright, pianos, including the “Vertigrand,” or Model K. Another problem faced was to find some way to counteract the drag placed on new piano sales by the used piano market – specifically the old-style “square grand” instruments. This design was never a favorite of piano engineers (among a host of problems with square pianos is that the keys are all different lengths because the strings are laid out sideways in relation to the keyboard) and Steinway, along with the Piano Manufacturers Society and other trade groups, decided to phase out the availability of square pianos. Competition came, too, from the new technologies of mechanical pianos: both the Pianola (a mechanical device the size of a small desk which was placed against the keyboard and “played” the keys by means of levers jutting out its backside) and player pianos. Facing this challenge head on, Charles made a very clever strategic arrangement with Aeolian, whereby Steinway provided a certain number of pianos each year for Aeolian to outfit with player mechanisms, which were in turn sold exclusively through Aeolian dealers. These pianos had cases that were a few inches longer than the standard case, depending on the model, thereby leaving a cavity large enough for the machinery to fit inside. So it can be said that Steinway & Sons itself never made player pianos, per se, but that Steinway player pianos do exist. The real coup came by way of a clause in the contract that required the Steinway brand to take precedent over every other piano marque Aeolian featured, and also that they would be advertised by and sold only through Aeolian dealerships. With the stroke of his pen, Charles at once increased Steinway & Sons’ visibility and market penetration without paying a penny. In fact, he
increased the bottom line by contracting for the sale of thousands of pianos while associating Steinway & Sons with the hottest technology on the market. Charles died unexpectedly in a Manhattan hotel room in 1919, probably a victim of the great flu epidemic that ravaged the city that year. He had been in poor health for the last half year, so brother Fred was able to assume command of the firm easily. Fred had been acting as No. 1 for several months already, managing an industry-wide strike that was paralyzing the New York piano business at that moment. Henry Ziegler approved of the promotion, as did the other members of the board of directors.
Henry Ziegler, 1925.
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© La Guardia and Wagner Archives
Steinway Hall showroom at 109 West 57th Street circa 1925.
It was a relatively easy segue. Aside from their closeness in the business and as brothers, Fred was very different than Charles – much more the starched-wing-collar kind of man – but their business philosophies had been honed together, so the changeover was no great shock, nothing near as calamitous as William’s death had been. Fred had not apprenticed in the firm – he was educated in Germany – so he had been a front office man from the get-go at Steinway & Sons, rather than learning the business from the ground up as was customary among the Steinway men. Business was good at this time too, and there were other family members working in the firm now who helped ease the transition, none less than Ziegler, who was working out the design for a series of even smaller, and more profitable, grand pianos, the Models L and S, which, along with his Model M, still form the backbone of the company’s product line. On the verge of the Roaring ’20s, Fred took over a firm that was making healthy profits, one whose market share had shrunk a bit (as the piano market overall had grown since the turn of the century) but whose finances were solid. He immediately set about to expand production capacity – working closely with Henry Ziegler and his two young deputies, the Steinway cousins Paul Bilhuber and Theodore Cassebeer – and planned the extension of the Steinway presence into new territory uptown. He also set about to re-establish the brand’s image nationwide via the judicious use of advertising. At this point Steinway & Sons had been working with the firm of N.W. Ayer for several years, but it was adman Ray Rubicam who, in the early 1920s, coined the phrase “Instrument of the Immortals” for a new, national
campaign that linked the Steinway piano not only to the great pianists of the day, as the company had been doing since William Steinway’s time, but to timeless composers like Beethoven, Mozart, and Richard Wagner. Fred, a very practical man and not one to spend money on intangibles such as advertising without seeing immediate results, quickly committed to a regular series of advertisements in magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, and commissioned oil paintings of the Immortals for the ads from some of the premiere artists of the day, such as N.C. Wyeth and Rockwell Kent. Fred also built a new House of Steinway in which to hang them. The new Steinway Hall opened in October 1925, at 109 West 57th Street, with a series of gala receptions, concerts, and lavish dinners. The company’s main showroom remains at this location to this day, an island of civility and Germanic elegance in the beehive of midtown Manhattan. Between them, Charles, Fred, and Henry Ziegler not only saved the company from bankruptcy, but put it on a solid enough footing that it survived the Great Depression, World War II, and outlasted nearly every other American piano company in existence. That they could do so, working in concert with one another while bringing enough younger family members into the business to sustain the enterprise for the next generation, is a testimony not only to their talents, but to the traditions of loyalty, quality, and common sense the Steinway family has always embodied. While they may have not been the most glamorous people in the Steinway family, it is certain that collectively they made one of the biggest contributions to the firm’s success.
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By Craig Collins When the Steinway family members founded their pianomaking firm in 1853 â€“ three years after emigrating from their native Germany to New York â€“ they wasted little time in taking the lead in the American piano market. Despite the fact that each handcrafted instrument required more than a year to make, Steinway & Sons sold more instruments than anyone else in the country within a mere 10 years.
Photo courtesy of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum
IN TUNE WITH HISTORY: STEINWAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE
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Photos courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Opposite page: Steinway piano No. 300,000 was presented to the White House in 1938 and remains in the East Room today. The piano was designed by New York architect Eric Gugler and the gilded eagles that serve as legs were designed by sculptor Albert Stewart. Depictions of musical Americana by Dunbar Beck appear on the case. Above, left: The Steinway “Gold Grand,” designed to match the newly renovated White House in 1903, is adorned with the original 13 state seals and gilt in gold leaf. Artist Thomas Wilmer Dewing painted the underside of the piano lid. Above, right: A detailed view of Dewing’s “America Receiving the Nine Muses.”
It took a few years more, and the leadership of William Steinway, the firm’s first president, for the company to develop into a cultural icon whose contributions to American music went well beyond the crafting of instruments. During the height of America’s love affair with the piano, Steinway & Sons had established itself as the maker of the “Instrument of the Immortals,” and played the dual roles of pianomaker and impresario: The company provided world-renowned artists – with names such as Rubinstein, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Busoni, and Horowitz – with pianos for concerts, and sponsored their performances around the country. On the firm’s 50th anniversary, the company initiated a similar relationship with the nation’s executive. For many performers, for a period of several decades, the path to performing at the White House began in New York, with an audition at Steinway Hall.
The First State Piano Actually, Steinway pianos captured the attention of at least one U.S. president not long after the founding of the firm: Andrew Johnson, who purchased two Steinway square pianos while he was in office, in 1868 and 1869. Neither piano was used in the White House; one was sent to the family home in Greeneville, Tennessee, and the other to the nearby home of his daughter Martha. By all existing accounts, the first president to install a Steinway piano in the White House was Grover Cleveland, an old friend of William Steinway. The two had met when Cleveland, a young New York lawyer, settled the estate of William’s mother-in-law. When Cleveland married
his wife, Frances, in 1886, William, as head of the firm, presented them with a wedding gift: a Steinway grand. Photographs of the period reveal that the piano occupied the Sitting Hall in the family’s upstairs living quarters, during Cleveland’s second term in the White House. The first president to have a real passion for entertaining was the young and energetic Theodore Roosevelt. Both he and his wife, Edith, loved music, particularly music that was representative of the American cultural scene – and both were from lordly New York families who had long considered Washington, D.C., both geographically and culturally, to be something of a swampy backwater. For President and Mrs. Roosevelt, entertaining at the White House was a means of demonstrating the new power and grandeur of the American nation, as well as of the presidency itself. They intended to invite the most distinguished artists in the world to play for the most distinguished guests. They conducted an extensive remodel of the White House interior, specifically to enable bigger crowds to see the president. Even after the remodel, however, the State Dining Room could hold only 60 to 70 guests, so Edith seized upon the idea of staging afterdinner “musicales” in the East Room that would add another 200 or so to the guest list. The musicales became the crowning events of state visits; to pull them off, Edith had a staff consisting of her own secretary and nine social aides. The Roosevelts held five large receptions and three state dinners during the social season, and introduced several other White House firsts in addition to the musicale: the first full concert by a noted pianist, the first musicale devoted to a single opera, and the first East Room piano – a specially designed concert grand from Steinway & Sons.
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Photo courtesy of Library of Congress
First lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a close family friend of the Steinway family. She was well known for her social White House gatherings, which often involved playing the Steinway piano.
To celebrate the creation of its 100,000th instrument – and the 50th anniversary of the firm’s founding – Steinway & Sons offered to transform its concert grand piano into both a musical instrument and an artwork suitable for use in the White House. Roosevelt accepted, requesting that the design be “national in conception.” Steinway & Sons responded with an instrument that was epically conceived by the architectural team of R.H. Hunt and J.H. Hunt. Built to match the newly renovated White House, the entire piano, including the legs, was gilt in gold leaf. Its mahogany case was adorned with the seals of the original 13 states, their crests wreathed in sprays of acanthus. On the underside of the lid was a painting by American artist Thomas Wilmer Dewing titled “America Receiving the Nine Muses,” depicting 10 women in elegant ball gowns. On each of the instrument’s legs, Steinway & Sons carver Juan Ayuso chiseled a bald eagle in high relief. The “Gold Grand” was placed in the East Room of the White House in January of 1903. “On behalf of the nation,” Roosevelt wrote on March 2, “I accept with pleasure and thank you heartily for the piano which you recently placed in the White House.” The reputation of Steinway & Sons, already considerable, rose in harmony with the Roosevelts’ aptitude for entertaining. Artists, as well as foreign embassies eager to introduce their nation’s artists to the president, began to write the White House directly to inquire about the possibility of scheduling a performance. In order to sift through these requests and arrange performances, the Roosevelts needed help, and they knew where to turn: the firm of Steinway & Sons. At first, these duties were assumed by Joseph Burr Tiffany, head of Steinway & Sons’ Fine Arts Department, but he was later superseded by his assistant, Henry Junge. In 1911, Junge assumed the official post of White House arts liaison for the Taft administration. He would serve through six administrations until his death in 1939, and was succeeded by Alexander Greiner, head of Steinway & Sons’ Concert and Artists Department, and finally John Steinway, William Steinway’s grandson. As the White House arts liaison, Junge advised the first ladies and carried out their personal wishes regarding artists and the music to be performed for White House guests. His importance to the White House was well documented, including this reference in a November 27, 1933, article in Time magazine: As unique as the House of Steinway and its position in the piano industry is the function, all unadvertised, which Henry Junge exercises in Washington. Presidents, unlike kings, may not favor any one commercial house but the White House has to have a piano and in 1902 [sic] when Theodore Roosevelt accepted the $18,000 Steinway Gold Grand “in behalf of the nation,” the die was cast. White House musicales began soon after. Mrs. Taft, who taught at the Cincinnati College of Music before she married, asked the Steinways to put them on. They looked around their office for someone both musical and businesslike who would not attempt to capitalize on the Presidential connection, decided on Henry Junge, one of their secretaries, a native of Hamburg who had planned to be a violinist until he decided he would never be good enough. It became Henry Junge’s job to line up artists who would donate their services, to submit programs to the President’s wife for the final say-so. The Steinway Gold Grand became the state piano of the United States, and in the next three decades it would be played by many of the greatest performers of the time, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Feruccio Busoni, Josef Hofmann, and Ignace Paderewski.
Piano No. 300,000 Eleanor Roosevelt was an old friend of the Steinway family, and during the four presidential administrations of her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, she and Junge spent a great deal of time discussing the upcoming entertainment season, often over tea. Throughout the 1930s, offers to entertain at the White House came in at a rate of 250 per season, prompting President Roosevelt to write to Junge: “I know you must have a feeling of great personal satisfaction in having done so well what must have been at times a difficult and trying task.” In 1937, in part to decrease wear and tear on the Gold Grand, Steinway & Sons lent another piano, a simpler ebony grand, for the personal use of the first family. It was installed in the upstairs living quarters.
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Photo courtesy of Library of Congress
President Harry S Truman, a huge music and piano lover, kept an ebony Steinway grand (loaned from Steinway & Sons in 1937) in his study. That same Steinway grand is now on display in the Truman Presidential Library.
A year earlier, Junge had written to President Roosevelt that piano No. 100,000, after so many years of playing, was showing its age, and that Steinway & Sons would like to build another grand for the White House in a couple of years, when the firm reached serial number 300,000. The new piano, designed by New York architect Eric Gugler, was more than 9 feet long, with a case of Honduras mahogany gilt in gold leaf by artist Dunbar Beck. Three large gilded eagles, designed by sculptor Albert Stewart, served as the legs. The case featured paintings depicting five forms of musical Americana: square dancers, singing cowboys, New England barn dancers, African-American folk singers, and Native American ceremonial dancers. The final design for the piano was decided in a brief meeting between the president, Gugler, Steinway & Sons President Theodore Steinway, and his son, John. “We brought scale models in three enormous suitcases,” John later recalled, “and I think the president made his selection rapidly so he could talk stamp collecting with my father.” The piano was presented to the nation in December of 1938, in a small ceremony. Josef Hofmann, the famed Polish pianist and Steinway Artist, played several works of Chopin on the new instrument. In presenting the piano to the president, Theodore Steinway referred to the firm’s 1903 gift: “We are responding to the same motives as then – namely, to give a sign of our gratitude that we, as foreigners on these friendly shores, were permitted to make our home and live our lives here and carry on our work in happiness and contentment.” Roosevelt dedicated the piano to “the advancement of music in every city, town, and hamlet in the country.” Last renovated in 1992 during the administration of George H.W. Bush, the piano remains today in the East Room of the White House. The original state piano, which had served through the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Roosevelt, was donated to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
The Truman Show Of all the U.S. presidents, none had a greater or more public love of music than Roosevelt’s successor, Harry S Truman. Truman loved the work of Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn, and Debussy, but his favorite was Tchaikovsky, especially the Russian composer’s Sleeping Beauty ballet. During his presidency, Truman kept a radio by his bedside and the ebony Steinway grand, loaned in 1937, next to the desk in his study; members of his Secret Service detail remember him playing the piano alone for an hour or more at a time. Truman was such a piano lover, in fact, that one Christmas he gave his 8year-old daughter Margaret – later famous as an aspiring singer-turned-bestselling-mystery-novelist – a Steinway baby grand piano, instead of the electric train set she had requested. Palma Wilson, the park ranger who oversaw the Harry S Truman National Historic Site in Independence, Missouri, for more than 10 years, said in a 1990 interview: “I think Mr. Truman bought the piano because he himself liked to play it. He had been taught to play by his mother when he was about 4-and-a-half, 5 years old, and at one point he thought his career was going to be as a concert pianist. But other things happened and he had to go find other work, and he was not able to continue his musical studies.” During Truman’s presidency, the tensions of the Cold War also apparently got in the way of his musical endeavors: The administration had only one social season, during 1946-1947, when Alexander Greiner helped to arrange six programs in conjunction with white-tie state dinners. Nevertheless, Truman himself played the state Steinway grand often, and without much self-consciousness, in public. He played for world leaders, including Stalin and Churchill, but his most famous performance may have been on May 3, 1952, during his televised tour of the newly renovated White House. It was the first such tour to be broadcast on television, and for millions of Americans, it offered an unprecedented look inside the executive mansion. During the tour an interviewer asked the president about the piano. “It’s a wonderful Steinway piano,” Truman responded. “A beautiful piano. And it has one of the most wonderful tones
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President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter were very dedicated to music, as evidenced in their famous Sunday afternoon White House concerts with piano performances. Mrs. Carter loved playing the piano and spared the state Steinway from being retired by insisting it be renovated instead.
of any piano I’ve ever heard.” He promptly sat down at the keyboard and played a few bars of Mozart for the viewers at home. Long after he had left the White House, Truman returned to play the piano in the East Room for President Kennedy.
The Modern White House On November 17, 1953, to mark the beginning of the Eisenhower era, the famous piano duo of Virginia Morley and Livingston Gearhart played a concert at the White House on two borrowed Steinway grands. Most of the pianists who played for presidents in the ensuing administrations used the state Steinway in the East Room, under the supervision of John Steinway, who began assisting Greiner during the Truman administration. Over time, as the musical tastes of presidents and their families varied, it became customary for him to assist with a concert only when it involved a Steinway Artist – such as Van Cliburn, the first American to win a gold medal at the Tchaikovsky International Music Competition, who performed several times during Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration, and for several administrations thereafter. Another Steinway piano was added to the White House furnishings during the Kennedy administration; the president’s wife, Jacqueline, never warmed to the design of the state piano in the East Room, and asked for a smaller instrument to be placed on the main floor. A smaller piano, she felt, could be easily moved into other rooms for less formal affairs. “After all,” she said, “I’m not Mrs. Roosevelt.” Steinway & Sons responded with a Hepplewhite-style console piano, a more portable 40-inch upright that was kept on the second floor and moved downstairs when needed. This piano was eventually replaced by a larger upright that is still in use. If there has ever been an unlikelier lover of music – and especially of the piano – to occupy the White House than Harry Truman, it was Richard Nixon. Nixon studied
the piano and violin as a boy, and claimed to have spent hours at a time at the keyboard. His White House musical programs were famous – and infamous – for the variety of performers, from classical pianists to nightclub acts to country/western crooners. “Pat and I looked forward to the evenings of entertainment at the White House as much as any of our guests,” Nixon later recalled. “We felt that the performers invited to entertain after state dinners should reflect the whole spectrum of American tastes – and, incidentally, our own eclectic preferences.” In March of 1969, Nixon paid a visit to former President Truman, after which Nixon presented to the Truman Presidential Library the Steinway grand that had occupied Truman’s study in the White House. Nixon was apparently not aware that the government didn’t own the piano – which was still on loan from Steinway & Sons – but John Steinway stepped in to prevent any further embarrassment for Nixon: “Now it’s on loan to the Truman Library from the Steinway firm,” he said. President Nixon’s successor, Jimmy Carter, and his wife Rosalynn, were so dedicated to music that they introduced a series of five-hour Sunday afternoon White House concerts, taped and broadcast by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). In February of 1978, the great Vladimir Horowitz – whose first and only previous White House performance had been for Herbert Hoover in 1931 – brought his own Steinway to perform for the president and 300 guests. Horowitz’s concert – which included works by Chopin, Schumann’s “Träumerei,” a Rachmaninoff polka, and his own “Variations on a Theme from Bizet’s Carmen” – received raves, the most passionate coming from the president himself. “It’s hard to speak,” said the visibly moved Carter, who came onstage at the close of the concert. “The White House has been host to a lot of great people, but never a greater man or greater performance.” Rosalynn Carter loved playing the piano, and on the Steinway upright that occupied the third floor she often accompanied her daughter Amy as she practiced
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her violin playing. The first lady so loved the state Steinway in the East Room that she literally saved it from being retired, recommending instead that it be renovated. The piano’s action was completely reworked, just in time for André Watt’s performance of Scarlatti, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, and Gershwin for the King and Queen of Jordan on June 17, 1980. Throughout subsequent administrations, from the Reagan White House – which held about 10 state dinners a year, followed by entertainment – to the current administration of George W. Bush, the state piano in the East Room has remained an icon of the White House, so much so that the thousands of tourists who visit annually have developed a tendency to pocket the pull-handles on the lid. In 2002, the state piano was featured on the cover of the Bushes’ Christmas card, in an image designed by Atlanta artist Zhen-Huan Lu: an oil painting of the state piano, captioned: “1938 Steinway Piano in the Grand Foyer. The White
House.” It’s an elegant, if austere, image, featuring the piano itself standing on a polished marble floor – a representation of the instrument’s stateliness and its ambassadorial role in the White House since 1938. The card’s designer must have realized it would have been impossible to visually capture all that the instrument has represented over the years: a conduit for dignitaries from all over the globe – as well as the presidential families, in their rare private moments – to hear, understand, and form bonds through the common language of music. While prevailing American tastes, and the musical preferences of presidents and first ladies themselves, have changed over the past century, a state piano of the United States, a Steinway concert grand, has remained in service in the East Room. Performers from across the country – and all over the globe – have poured their hearts into it, their notes conveying the heritage and aspirations of the citizens of the world.
President Nixon plays the Steinway while Mrs. Nixon, Harry Truman, and Mrs. Truman are interested listeners in the background. Nixon later presented the Steinway grand to Truman at the Truman Library.
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A BARRELFUL OF SONGS By Robin Meloy Goldsby
Fred Rogers, a beloved figure in the lives of countless Americans who grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was a man of many talents, including music composition.
Joanne Rogers, a 79-year-old concert pianist who has spent much of her adult life playing this piano, stands in the imposing space once occupied by the instrument and takes a deep breath. She hurries down to the front of the building and watches as the movers load the piano into a truck. The time has come to say goodbye. “I thought at one point, ‘this is crazy, why am I doing this?’” says Joanne from her home, six weeks after the piano’s departure. “I guess maybe we have those feelings about every big thing we do in life. We want to back out at the last second.” Joanne’s honest words would have made her husband proud. She was married to television legend Fred Rogers – of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood – for 50 years. She and Fred celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at the White House in 2002; the same day Fred was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A year later, her husband was gone.
Photo by Walt Seng
On a sparkling July morning – a beautiful day in the neighborhood – three broad-shouldered men gently boost a Steinway concert grand piano from a fourth-floor apartment window onto a towering platform. Swaddled in thick blankets, the Steinway concert grand Model D waits for the next part of its voyage to begin. The workers cautiously slide the piano onto a set of pipes that extend from the scaffolding while a crane operator attaches the thick rope coiled around the instrument to a large metal hook. After much double-checking, the crane springs to life, lifting the Steinway into a beam of sunlight. The piano seems to hover over the street, pausing for just a moment, and then – with grace, dignity, and an almost human air of self-determination – it swoops to the earth below.
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Photo by Susan Gray
Almost five years after his death, Joanne decided to donate Fred’s Steinway D to the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the town where Fred was born and raised. In a way, the piano is going home. But first, it will travel to the Steinway Factory Restoration Center in New York City, where master technician Chris Arena will supervise a total restoration of the piano’s interior and exterior. The work will be completed in time for the spring 2008 opening of the center. “The idea to donate the piano to the center suddenly came to me,” says Joanne, who followed through on her promise in spite of last-minute jitters. “It was a very practical decision, and yet I got very excited at the same time. It makes me so happy to think that the piano will be there.” Two years before Fred died, Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, of Saint Vincent Archabbey, began planning the center with Fred. According to a statement compiled by its board of advisors, “The mission of the Fred Rogers Center is to advance the fields of early learning and children’s media by acting as a catalyst for communication, collaboration, and creative change.” These are fancy words to describe a man whose remarkable career was launched by the purest of musical beginnings. Fred’s beautiful journey began with a piano. “When he was a child,” says Joanne, “he would go to the piano to express all of his feelings: mad, glad, and sad all came right out through his fingers.” In the early 1940s, in a scene out of every piano student’s wildest fantasies, Fred’s parents took him to the music store in downtown Pittsburgh. Fred, 13 years old at the time and blessed by a supportive and enthusiastic family of means, was given his choice of instruments. He selected the Steinway concert grand Model D. The piano, manufactured in 1920, had been played for two decades by concert artists passing through the city. Shortly after taking possession of the instrument, Fred developed a strong interest in songwriting. When I ask Joanne if her husband cited any mentors, she says, without missing a beat, “Why, yes! Jack Lawrence!” Lawrence, now 95 years old, penned an astonishing number of popular songs that became standards, including “Beyond the Sea,” “Tenderly,” and “All or Nothing at All.” In his book The World According to Mister Rogers, Fred writes about his meeting with Lawrence: “I took him four or five songs that I had written and I thought he’d introduce me to Tin Pan Alley and it would be the beginning of my career,” writes Fred. “After I played him my songs, he said, ‘You have very nice songs. Come back when you have a barrelful.’” Taking Lawrence’s words to heart, teenage Fred Rogers devoted himself to the art and craft of songwriting. Sitting at his Steinway concert grand,
Rogers enjoys a performance by renowned classical pianist André Watts, who appeared in a segment on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. “Fred provided children with music they ought to be hearing,” says his wife Joanne.
he began shaping many of the ideas that would later become Mister Rogers classics. “The more I wrote the better the songs became, and the more those songs expressed what was real within me,” said Fred. “Fred was a very disciplined writer,” says Joanne, who met him while she was studying classical piano performance at Rollins College in Florida. “He had a composition teacher there who taught him the necessity of having a time every day specifically for writing. You go and you just do it. You sit there until you can.”
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Photos courtesy of FCI, Inc.
Above: Mister Rogers addresses the camera in the set that made him famous. Left: Rogers poses with long-time friend and musical collaborator Johnny Costa.
Joanne’s practice schedule and Fred’s devotion to his writing meant that the Rogers family needed instruments everywhere they went. Joanne enjoyed practicing on one of the big pianos at home in Pittsburgh, but Fred accomplished some of his best work on Nantucket Island, where the Rogers family owns a lopsided beachfront cottage called “the Crooked House.” “His piano there, a tiny thing, was from a company called Grand,” says Joanne. “So the piano was referred to as his ‘grand piano.’ You know, the music was in his head, he didn’t need a big fabulous piano to compose, he always had a sense of what the piece would sound like.” In their Pittsburgh home, next to Fred’s Steinway D, Joanne also kept her own piano. For the last 30 years, Joanne, a former student of Ernst von Dohnanyi, has performed two-piano concerts and recitals with Jeannine Morrison. She and Morrison frequently practiced side by side on the grand pianos in the Rogers’ living room. “Fred’s Steinway was the piano I loved to play the most when I had a lot of practicing to do to
get ready for a concert. It had a firmer touch than mine. Fred and I played both pianos, but when Fred was working, he liked to play his Steinway. He would almost purr when he played that piano,” Joanne says. Millions of children who have watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood over the years have been enchanted by the lush sounds of the program’s Steinway Model B grand. This piano, signed by John Steinway and played by Johnny Costa, holds the honor of being heard by more children than any other piano in television history. The raffish Johnny Costa – Fred’s musical director for 30 years – peppered Mister Rogers’ easy-going neighborhood with fiery dashes of swinging jazz, performed live for every program. “Sophistication was built into Fred’s compositions, but Johnny always knew how to find the right chords to enhance that,” says Joanne. There were lovely surprises in Fred’s collaborations with Costa – childlike melodies that seemed to dance through a maze of mature harmonic underpinnings. Those elements,
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Photo courtesy of FCI, Inc.
mingled with the poetry of Fred’s lyrics and the thrill of Costa’s playing, created a magical partnership. When Costa died in 1996, pianist and arranger Michael Moricz stepped in as musical director, taking over Costa’s duties and gracing the neighborhood with his own creative brilliance and musical charm. Fred always insisted on a stellar jazz trio for the program – including bassist Carl McVicker and percussionist Bob Rawsthorne – and he taped memorable segments with giants like André Watts, Van Cliburn, and Yo-Yo Ma. By avoiding obvious commercial choices, he hit on a simple truth: that children, when given the opportunity to hear excellent music, will listen.“Fred provided children with music they ought to be hearing,” says Joanne. “He always knew he was giving them the best.” Fred never lost faith in the power of musical expression. Recalling her husband’s final weeks, Joanne says: “When he returned from the hospital, he walked straight to the Steinway and sat down. That’s what he wanted to do. And he would go every day to the piano, and play. He did this until he was completely bedridden. I think he was improvising – his way of composing – until the end.” According to Father Paul Taylor, the vice president of Institutional Advancement at Saint Vincent College, the restored Steinway concert grand will be given a place of honor in the atrium at the Fred Rogers Center – a fitting tribute to a human being whose passage from young man to television legend began with a piano, a soaring imagination, and the desire to give shape to his feelings through song. When the Steinway piano is played – by hands large and small – Joanne hopes visitors to the center will remember that Fred’s music has carried millions of children to the proud heights of selfrecognition. One heartfelt song, that’s all it takes to make a person feel good. In his lifetime, Fred Rogers wrote a whole barrelful of them. For more information on the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, please visit: www.fredrogerscenter.org. For information regarding Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Fred Rogers, please visit Family Communications: www.fci.org. Pianist and composer Robin Meloy Goldsby is the author of Piano Girl: A Memoir. Goldsby’s father, Bob Rawsthorne, was the percussionist on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for more than 30 years. For more information about Goldsby’s book and her latest solo piano recording, Songs from the Castle, please visit: www.goldsby.de.
In the show’s later years, the fertile musical minds of Costa and Rogers continued to entertain and educate viewers.
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A Dream Come True Disney Animator Willis Pyle takes up piano - on a steinway - at 85 By Anna Marie French Cushing
All images courtesy of Willis Pyle
Ever since Walt Disney animator Willis Pyle was a young boy, he wanted to play the piano. But it wasn’t until the age of 85 and the purchase of an 1872 Steinway piano that his lifelong desire became a reality. Born outside the small town of Lebanon in Kansas, his family moved to another farm in eastern Colorado when he was 2, and later settled in Bethune, Colorado. In his teens, he moved to Boulder, Colorado, where he went to high school and to the university there. It was when he was a senior at the University of Colorado that Pyle got his break to work for the Walt Disney Studios. Pyle, an art major, saw a bulletin board with a big poster of Pluto and the words “Draw me and earn $25,000 a year.” In 1937, $25,000 was quite a large sum, so he sent his samples, covers, and cartoons to the Disney Studio.
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Left: A cupid drawing by Willis Pyle. Right: Pyle about 50 years ago. The animator had contributed his artistic talents to Disney, the U.S. Army, and UPA by this time. Opposite: Artwork by Pyle was used on the front and back covers of the 2007 yearbook of the Dutch Treat Club, a club of artists and writers that meets in New York and of which Pyle is a member. The back cover appears on the left side of the image, and the front cover, with a crowd applauding Pinocchio, appears to the right. He received a letter saying he wasn’t yet skilled enough to sit right down and start working in production, but that if he was willing to go to their art school, they would give him a job, which turned out to be carrying film cans and animation paper – and attending art school. Every day he went to his classes and tackled assignments like animating a bouncing ball or a flag waving on a flagpole. Later assignments involved animating a character walking, running, or jumping, sometimes to a soundtrack. Pyle worked hard and was finally given the chance to sit down at an animation table and start doing production work. Pinocchio was the first production on which Pyle worked. The studio would put young animators in the “in-between department,” where drawings between key poses are made. At the time, Pyle was an assistant working under Milton Kahl, Disney’s head of animation. Assistants would make clean drawings of the animator’s rough drawings, and many times Pyle would draw the mouth action for dialogue and hand out work to the in-betweeners. Pyle worked on the character Pinocchio when he is in the bird cage, when he says, “I have a conscience,” and when Jiminy Cricket is running and putting on his coat, trying to catch Pinocchio. After Pinocchio, Pyle worked on Fantasia. He worked on “Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony” and concentrated mostly on the cupids. The next film was Bambi, where he worked on scenes of the adolescent Bambi. Pyle worked at the Walt Disney Studios until 1943. He went into the Army Air Corps and worked in the First Motion Picture Unit, serving under the
legendary Rudy Ising and animating instructional films for the Army. After leaving the service, he worked for UPA studios, where he animated the Academy Award-winning Gerald McBoing Boing, written by Ted Geisel of Dr. Seuss fame. (The film was stylistically imitated by many studios, including Disney, which copied the UPA look.) Pyle was also one of the creators of Mr. Magoo. In 1950, Pyle left UPA to open an independent animation studio, where he animated countless television commercials and independent animated films. He worked with Richard Williams’ Raggedy Ann and Andy and worked on Peanuts cartoons with his UPA pal Bill Melendez. Pyle also illustrated for magazines such as Harper’s and Vogue Fashion under editor Carl Ericson. Despite his long and illustrious career as an animator, Pyle never forgot his desire to play piano. So, on September 3, 1999, Pyle gave himself a present for his 85th birthday: an 1872 Steinway upright piano in rosewood finish, manufactured at the Steinway New York factory in 1872, serial number 25,819. The piano’s first owner, A.B. Lansina of 7 West 20th Street, New York, New York, took possession of the piano on October 11, 1872. Pyle is still very involved in the arts: He originated and is a life member of the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame; he is a member of the Dutch Treat Club in New York City, a club for artists and writers, which honored him last fall with a lifetime achievement medal; and continues to draw nudes, horses, and landscapes, and has had art openings over the years. Four years ago, the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana showed his
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original correspondence with Walt Disney and many of his drawings for the studio. His paintings have been critiqued by Gallery & Studio critics as a painter who is a populist, “embracing the whole of life with a gusto,” or a painter: “[with] the eye of a boulevardier and the heart of a lover, he imbues genre subjects such as a race track and circus scenes with a rakish charm rarely seen in contemporary painting.” One of Pyle’s most remarkable qualities, says one critic, is “his ability to balance compassion and ironic detachment in a manner that makes his work at once affectionate and insightful.” Though he is still devoted to the world of art, Pyle balances that art with music, and makes time every day to play his beloved Steinway. As a newcomer to piano playing at 85, he now, at age 93, plays by ear, practicing with a tape of pianist Richard Clayderman of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He enjoys playing Mozart’s “Elvira Madigan,” Beethoven’s “Für Elise”, Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” and Chopin’s “Nocturne in E flat major” (a drawing by Delacroix of Chopin sits on his piano). He is still working on Bach’s “Badinerie.” The 1872 Steinway upright is a perfect fit for Pyle, who appreciates and collects items of fine artistry and high-quality craftsmanship, as evidenced by the 1969 Rolls-Royce he owns and loves. And then, of course, there’s the piano’s sound. As Pyle says of the Walt Disney Studios and his Steinway & Sons’ upright, “there’s nothing like drawing for a championship team nor playing with a championship piano.”
Left: One of Willis Pyle’s nude drawings. Above: Willis Pyle practices at the keys of his vintage Steinway upright piano.
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products & Performance
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products & performance
The Art of Being a Virtuoso By Kirsten Ott
Grammy-winning Steinway Artist Yefim Bronfman is a household name for classical music aficionados around the world. One of the most talented virtuosos performing today, he is eagerly welcomed by enthusiastic audiences and applauding critics in countless cities. Yet Fima, as his friends and family call him, is a down-to-earth gentleman with a charming wit and welcoming disposition. During a recent cross-continental interview, Bronfman revealed that he has been on a grueling six-week European tour – the third such globe-trotting adventure since April. From playing six concerts with the San Francisco Symphony to three recitals and a tour with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London to the Budapest Festival Orchestra to Copenhagen, he’s on a 17-concert tour finishing in London. When he returns to the United States, he says he has to “rest fast” because he goes on to play concerts in Louisiana, Texas, embarks on a tour with Orpheus, and then tours Japan for about two to three weeks. “I just did the world premiere for Esa-Pekka Salonen in New York and London, and then we will record in L.A. this coming season. It’s a new exciting piano concerto.” All this and he seems to be more excited with each approaching concert.
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Bronfman’s performances vary in material, but never in dedication and attention to delivering his best to every concert hall and audience. “They’re all different. I have different projects going on, different commissions, and new works, recital programs, different concertos – all at the same time … multitasking,” says Bronfman, with a laugh. “It’s a busy year, and then I’m preparing for my concerts at Carnegie Hall. I have a bunch of those this year.” Bronfman is scheduled to perform Beethoven’s Sonata No. 13 in E flat major, Op. 27, No. 1, “Quasi una fantasia;” Jörg Widmann’s new work (a world premiere commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation); Schumann’s Fantasy in C major, Op. 17; Ravel’s “Gaspard de la nuit;” and Balakirev’s “Islamey” on December 17. From concert halls and into the realm of film, Bronfman very well may have done it all. In 2000, he contributed to the film score of Disney’s Fantasia, the first animated feature to be formatted for and exhibited in IMAX theatres. The 90-minute film pays tribute to its predecessor and to the millennium, and it features seven new segments set to music from Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals;” Respighi’s “The Pines of Rome;” Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5; Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance;” Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue;” and Stravinsky’s “The Firebird.” Bronfman seamlessly integrates his passion for music with his life. He has numerous albums out as a soloist and on a plethora of collaborations, and his worldwide performances can be found online as Internet videos. “I’ve been busy for many years; I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of work coming my way,” he says. “It started gradually but it developed into something very busy and complex. I never even thought another profession was possible. You cannot choose sometimes – it is the other way around. I never had any second thoughts about my profession. I’ve always enjoyed music.” Born in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, Bronfman had the encouragement and inspiration from his family early on. “My parents are musicians and my sister plays violin, so it was a natural process in our family to pass on the tradition of musicianship in the family,” he says. Early performances were a blend of public and private recitals. “Growing up in Russia, when we had guests come over, my parents always made me play for them. And then I was going to school, where my first steps in performing took place there at student recitals.” Bronfman was introduced to a host of notable musicians and other well-known people along his path. On who he’s been most pleased about meeting, he says, “Oh, my God, I’ve met so many interesting people in my life. I met Vladimir Horowitz when I was 15 years old, and I met Arthur Rubinstein, Claudio Arrau, and Rudolf Serkin – all those people that meant a lot to me as a kid.” It has been
said that teachers light the path to greatness, and Bronfman credits Isaac Stern as his “great mentor. He was very instrumental in helping me in my education and making my first step in my musical career.” On the subject of whether Russian musicians are more focused than those from other cultures at an early age, Bronfman says, “Well, that’s what a lot of people say. A lot of great teachers live in Russia, and obviously teachers have a lot of pull in bringing up new generations of musicians. I think Russia enjoyed that especially during the ’60s and ’70s, when there were some great musicians. It was almost like a Renaissance of great musicians in Moscow. I cannot even recall such an incredible number of great musicians and composers living in the same town in the same time, as it was in Moscow in the ’60s.” Like Bronfman, many Russians left when the opportunity arose. “In the ’70s, when the possibility of emigration became open, a lot of them left and moved to America or to Europe or to Israel, so now of course it’s different, but I think the culture of music is very strong still,” he says. “Today, it’s obviously very evident on the concert circuit that there are a lot of great Russian musicians and conductors, not only instrumentalists, but also great singers, ballet dancers – all coming from a great tradition and culture.” Now a resident New Yorker, Bronfman still returns to Russia to play. “I go regularly to Moscow and St. Petersburg – I have regular appearances there almost every year,” he says. Bronfman may be quite the globe-trotter, but he doesn’t pick favorites when it comes to narrowing down cities. “It’s almost irrelevant – wherever I play good music, wherever people listen to me, that’s my favorite place. There’s no better city than a city that wants to hear music. That’s the city I want to be in.” The beauty of Bronfman’s career is choosing where he wants to perform. “There are so many places I want to visit,” he says. “I have never been to New Zealand and I’m going there this coming August. I have always wanted to go there to see the country. I want to go to China more. I love to play in Asia. I think it’s beautiful and very interesting. It’s a different culture, and yet they have a very strong tradition of classical music.” Bronfman doesn’t have time to develop hobbies like golf, yachting, or antiquing. He says, “I think in this life one almost creates a new hobby every day, depending where you are. In London, I always try to see theater, which is so fantastic. When I’m in Vancouver, I go see nature and whales. I love nature. Every day is different. It’s not like working in an office professionally, where you know what you’re going to do from 9 to 5.” Realizing that he’s part of a rare breed, Bronfman says, “Our life is very different in the way that we tour and we go from country to country, experience different cultures, different styles of existence, and different traditions and
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languages,” he says. “We all try to adapt to them and make the best of it.” He stays occupied off the stage with learning about local customs and culture. “I love local culture in terms of the museums, their history, their literature, their theater. It’s very fascinating.” With his frequent travels to German-speaking countries, and to Italy and France, the trilingual Bronfman has picked up phrases from all around the globe. He jokes that he doesn’t understand any of the Scandinavian languages, but he loves visiting those countries. “Their music is very special to me.” He adds, “Of course, everybody speaks English in Europe these days. Plus, I speak a lot of Russian. There are so many Russians scattered all over the world. I run into my friends in almost every city in the world.” Back on the home front, Bronfman is part of a tight-knit community of Russians in New York. “There are hundreds of them.” Asked if there’s an exclusive hotspot to find them in the middle of an impromptu performance in a club around town, he says, “I wish we did! We don’t do that – not like jazz clubs. Our life is centered around concert halls. I wish classical musicians did more of that.” Bronfman has collaborated with a notable coterie of artists. These partnerships come about through friendships. “All the collaborations really come from friendships,” he says. “Friends tend to make better music than groups put together artificially by management. When you’re having a good time together, the audience feels that and has a good time as well.” When he’s performing as a soloist, Bronfman travels by himself, which he admits can be lonely. “I wish I had an entourage,” he says with a laugh. But he has the company of the orchestra onstage – and his piano, of course. “I play only Steinways. I play the Model D everywhere.” As for the differences in the Steinways across the oceans, Bronfman says, “Every piano is different. They’re all made the same way, and yet they have their own personality and they sound different. It’s a mystery how different they can be and sound with a touch. It just proves to me that the wood that they made it with is alive – a living organism – and it reacts differently to different conditions.” The discriminating Steinway Artist reveals his preference in a particular age of pianos, saying, “I like the new Steinways, to be honest with you. I like the pianos that are made in the last five years. They have this energy and vitality to them that I like. It really helps me to bring the music to life. I need the help of the instrument, and I think the new ones that have that vitality gives me the right powers to execute the music. So, for me, the newer the piano, the better it is. Although, I don’t dispute the validity of old pianos; they are beautiful for different reasons.” For more information, visit www.yefimbronfman.com.
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“ B e c om i ng a n
A L L S T e in way s c hool e n s u r e s t h at o u r
george mason university S T U D E N T S a n d fa c u lt y w i l l h av e t h e f i n e s t i n s t r u m e n t s p o s s i b l e f or p r a c t i c e , t e a c h i n g a n d p e r f or m a n c e .” ~ Dr. Linda Apple Monson, Director Of Keyboard Studies, George Mason University
The vision of Sidney O. Dewberry, the former rector of George Mason’s Board of Visitors, was responsible for the initiative that funded the university’s recent purchase of 16 new Steinway grand pianos. According to William Reeder, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, “Reaching the milestone of becoming an All Steinway School demonstrates the university’s strong commitment to the Department of Music and its place as a spire of excellence within the George Mason community.” Incomparable sound, performance and enduring value make Steinway pianos the overwhelming choice of renowned conservatories and music schools around the world.
If you would like complete information on Steinway & Sons Institutional Programs, please call the Director of Institutional Sales at 718-204-3118.
One Steinway Place, Long Island City, New York 11105. 1- 800 -366 -1853. www.steinway.com ©2007 Steinway & Sons. Steinway and the Lyre are registered trademarks.
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From Russia with Love Lola Astanova By Kirsten Ott
Steinway Artists continue to impress from around the globe – and at every age. Such is the case with Lola Astanova who, with a camera-friendly profile and an insatiable taste for fashion, has set the piano ablaze with her innovativeness. Hailing from the teachings of professor Lev Naumov of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Astanova has been groomed for greatness. Her mother was a music teacher, but her formal music education began at the tender age of 6 – in the mid-’80s – and she began touring as a performer at 8 years old. She says that one of her first moments of inspiration struck when she took the “legendary stage” at Moscow Conservatory.
Photo by Arthur Garcia
Since then, Astanova has played concerts in Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and Russia – both as a soloist and with orchestras. The Russian émigré arrived in the United States to study at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Texas. In 2005, she earned her master’s in piano performance, and now the world is her oyster. The talented young woman recently recorded her first CD, simply entitled Debut (available on iTunes), and her music has attracted the attention of Neiman Marcus; Astanova is collaborating with the department store to offer one of the ultimate fantasies for its annual holiday gift book, in which the gifts go beyond what many can imagine receiving. For $1,590,000, Astanova and the Kirov Orchestra under maestro Valery Gergiev perform pieces such as “The Nutcracker Suite” for you and 499 of your nearest and dearest friends. The exclusive evening is hosted by Regis Philbin, and the buyer gets to keep the Steinway concert grand – signed by all of the musicians. Astanova maintains a youthful innocence with mature humility. “My biggest opportunities and stages are still ahead of me,” she says. Though her 2008 tour schedule was not available at press time, she says of her upcoming performances: “I’m always looking forward to playing for audiences. People can be really nice to you if you play with your heart. “I am a Romantic,” says Astanova, whose repertoire includes Frederic Chopin. “Because of the emotional and technical side of it, it really resonates with me and my predilection.” Influenced by luminaries such as Rachmaninoff, Chopin, and British composer and conductor Joseph Horovitz (whom she says “has transformed this field”), Astanova has taken a cue from the masters and dedicated her life to her craft. “All the hard work that I’ve put in has finally paid off.” For more information, visit www.lolaastanova.com.
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The Cutting-edge Composer Vijay Iyer
Photo by Prashant Bhargava
By Kirsten Ott
Highly acclaimed for his innovative, forward-thinking vision, Steinway Artist Vijay Iyer knows a thing or two about music. He’s been named No. 1 Rising Star Jazz Artist of the Year and No. 1 Rising Star Composer of the Year in the Down Beat magazine’s international Critics’ Poll for both 2006 and 2007. Born to Indian immigrants, Iyer is a largely self-taught musician who grounds himself in the American jazz lexicon while drawing from a wide range of Western and non-Western traditions. Iyer’s music is what he calls “varied,” and also “improvisational, rhythmic, interactive, emotional, lyrical … always in progress.” He has released 10 groundbreaking recordings as a leader or co-leader, including the most recent Still Life with Commentator, which showcases his large-scale works. Iyer calls the album “an electroacoustic oratorio about the news media during wartime, created in collaboration with poet Mike Ladd, vocal artist Pamela Z, and others. The project has been performed a number of times; we had a nice run at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, and we’re taking it to Stanford University this winter.” In the age of Internet video and waves of consumers buying their music online in the form of MP3s, Iyer stands at the ready. “Of course, we’re moving into the post-CD world, and I’m thinking more and more in those terms, too,” he says. “When I upload live videos of my band on YouTube, they seem to circulate more readily than studio recordings!” Iyer recently finished recording an album of new compositions for his quartet and trio called
Tragicomic, which is slated to debut in early 2008. He says, “I’m also working towards a new recording with an experimental collective trio called Fieldwork; that will also come out in spring 2008.” Never resting while there’s music to be made, it seems, Iyer continues on with a string of other projects in which he’s involved. “I’m also wrapping up work on the score to a feature film called Teza, by the esteemed Ethiopian-American auteur Haile Gerima; that will probably be released in 2008.” Melding the sounds from two different parts of his parents’ homeland, Iyer says, “I’m very excited about a brand-new collaboration with two stellar Indian musicians, the South Indian classical guitarist and composer Prasanna and the North Indian tabla player Nitin Mitta. We’ve just started performing as a trio, called Tirtha.” Tirtha, pronounced “teer-tha,” is a Sanskit word that denotes a pilgrimage or a spiritual journey. “The group’s sound has this dynamism that surprised even us,” says Iyer. “It’s a new kind of global chamber music! I’m really looking forward to doing more with this group.”
A master of many domains, Iyer, who holds a doctorate in physics, often writes about music at great lengths. He once wrote, “Let us all vow to put ourselves at maximum creative risk whenever possible.” When asked where he finds the inspiration to continue to do this, Iyer replies, “I connect to the history of American creative music in this country, whose initiators – I’m thinking of people like Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Max Roach, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman – have seemingly always thought this way. To me, it just feels like the most productive choice as an artist – though obviously not the easiest!” Having collaborated with a notable coterie of artists, he says these relationships come about naturally. “They’re almost always connections made through artists. The real collaborative process doesn’t really work unless you have mutual respect, which is pretty hard to come by artificially! And friendship and trust are crucial ingredients, too. I’ve known and worked with most of my collaborators for many years, and I tend to stick by them.” For more information, visit www.vijay-iyer.com.
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Boris Blank, innovator of sound. Not a follower of music trends.
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The Trilogy of Talent Jon Regen By Kirsten Ott
Photo by Merri Cyr
Jon Regen possesses three distinguished musical gifts; he’s a talented singer, songwriter, and pianist of unparalleled depth. His career in jazz has been as both a sideman and a leader. Regen also steps out on his own as a versatile performer with an unforgettable voice. He’s currently touring in Europe, playing his newest album Let It Go. “I’ll be touring for the rest of 2007 and the majority of 2008,” Regen says. “My goal is to write another solo record while I’m on the road, and record it in the coming year. There is something about the solitude of the road that for me is very conducive to songwriting and piano playing – I am always finding new stories to tell.” Regen was raised in Maplewood, New Jersey. Originally self-taught on his family’s aging grand piano at the age of 5, Regen would lead his first professional group while still in his early teens. He studied piano and music theory at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Miami, and eventually returned to New Jersey to the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Regen graduated with a bachelor’s of music degree. Upon graduation, he quickly packed up and relocated to New York City to pursue his music career. Regen is focused and driven, taking full advantage of his opportunities. He says, “The artist Chuck Close once said, ‘Inspiration is for amateurs.’ And I think he is dead on. If you spend your life waiting for something to inspire you, you’ll lose sight of what’s happening right now – what you can accomplish today. I framed his quote and put it near my piano to remind me not to wait for anything. Now is the time.” As with many artists, Regen’s motivation toward accomplishing every goal he sets can be best explained with a childhood memory, where fostering a talent is of the utmost importance. “I
can remember being a child and feeling an instant connection to music – now, many years later as an adult, I still feel as excited about making music as I did back then.” Thinking back on his very first musical memory, Regen says, “There are so many that come to mind: picking out tunes by ear on my family’s ragged grand piano; my dad playing Elton John’s Greatest Hits endlessly on the car stereo; my sister’s annual flute recital – she actually played the Rampal Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano. My memory is full of musical snapshots like this.” Regen’s path to success has afforded him the chance to be in close proximity to noteworthy musicians such as Kenny Barron and Jimmy Scott, studying and apprenticing with them. Regen says, “These guys taught me about musical elegance and eloquence – about touch and time – and about leaving your ego at the door. And so I try to follow in their footsteps, focusing on the music, always searching for new ideas.” A Steinway Artist since 1997, Regen says, “The NY Steinway B is the beast of all pianos – I recorded Let
It Go with a B from the NY C&A [Steinway & Sons’ Concert and Artist Department] concert stock. There is also a B in the Rachmaninoff Room at Steinway on 57th Street that almost plays itself. It is incredible.” Regen owns a 1909 Steinway Model A, which he also calls “incredible.” He says, “I am currently having the Steinway Restoration Center restore it – I’m looking forward to getting it back.” Regen says his music is a snapshot of his personality. “I grew up listening to pop songs – Billy Joel, Elton John, Sting, The Beatles, etc.,” he says. “Then I took a 15-year detour into straight-ahead jazz, playing bebop and post-bop mainstream piano with Kyle Eastwood, Jimmy Scott, and others. I always had a hard time deciding what moved me more: the economy of a great pop song, or the freedom and adventure of instrumental jazz. So these days, I am making music that combines elements of both: pop songs with jazz textures and improvisational breaks. I have finally found a way to reconcile the many – and sometimes opposing – musical voices in my head!” For more information, visit www.jonregen.com.
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By Kirsten Ott
Photo by Steve Sherman
Pianist Jeffrey Siegel is determined to give his audiences insight into the classical music he plays on the stage with Keyboard Conversations, which he describes as “a commentary special of mine. They are primarily concerts – every work is performed in its entirety. What we’d like to think of as a plus is that, prior to the performance of each work, I speak to the audience a bit about the piece of music that I’m to play, and when I sit down to play the piece I just talked about, hopefully the audience really feels that they’re listening on the inside track. And they’re getting more out of the listening experience than they otherwise would.” The acclaimed Steinway Artist is constantly on the go with his rigorous concert schedule, but listening to him talk about it, it’s clear that the series holds his passion. “I do them in 21 cities in the United States as ongoing series and New York is one of 21,” says Siegel. He performs about three or four concerts a year in each of the 21 cities, as well as the traditional performances aside from Keyboard Conversations. “I’m in white tie and tails as a conventional piano recitalist or as a soloist with orchestra. I play about 90 to 95 concerts between Labor Day and Memorial Day, which I’m the first to admit is too much,” he says with a chuckle. Siegel celebrates Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Grieg with his signature Keyboard Conversations in 2008, with the last two events in a three-part series at the Scandinavia House’s Victor Borge Hall. In February 2008, Siegel performs the lyric pieces of Grieg and his homage to Chopin, as well as Chopin’s C minor Polonaise, the Barcarolle, and the F major Waltz. Later in April, Siegel explores Grieg’s Nordic G minor Ballade and his “Little Bird,” along with pieces by Schumann. Steinway was instrumental in aiding Siegel with the series at the Scandinavia House. “I’m a very proud Steinway Artist, and one of the reasons, if I may say so, Steinway is so encouraging about the Keyboard Conversations,” he says. “It furthers an interest and an appreciation of the great works that have been written for the piano. They listen to them more meaningfully, and also to introduce people to the great works of piano literature who have never heard them before.” Siegel has dedicated much of his career to Keyboard Conversations – and with good reason. “The longest running series is in Chicago at Northwestern University, and we’re going into year 38,” he says. “And the New York series in various different places has been going for more than 20 years. They develop a following. Not only of the avid concertgoer who would like to know, for example, why that ‘Moonlight Sonata’ that he’s heard all his life is really a shocking revolutionary piece. … So these programs reach out to the avid music lover who wants his listening to be more than what I call an ear wash of sound. But they also attract, thankfully, many new people to classical music in general and to piano music, specifically.” Reviving people’s interest in classical music and revving their excitement to try the piano for themselves is satisfying to
Seigel. He says that many of his audience members “decide they’d like to try to learn piano or to go back to the piano. Many of them go to the Steinway dealer after my concert and they’re enthusiastic again about listening to music and playing piano music.” Siegel keeps two pianos at home: Steinways, of course. “One of them is a concert D, which is 9 feet, and the other is the first piano I ever bought that took every cent I had, and it’s a 7-foot piano, a Model B. I can never decide which one to work on.” For more information, visit www.keyboardconversations.com.
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French Connection Jacky Terrasson
By Kirsten Ott
French pianist Jacky Terrasson is shaping American culture with his new standards in music. His albums have hit high marks in notable ranking systems, including The New York Times. Terrasson has resided in the Big Apple since 1990, but he’s been influencing people’s ears and hearts with music from an early age. It all began around the age of 5 – he’s 41 now – when he began taking piano lessons, which were inspired by his easy disposition whenever he was listening to music. Terrasson continued to hone his craft, and then, at age 16, realized that this was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. “I just knew I was spending a lot of time practicing. This was where I was happy and comfortable.” He feels fortunate to be able to make a living doing what he loves. Terrasson adds, “I’m really lucky to do this.” Photo courtesy of Jacky Terrasson
Growing up outside of Paris, he had a plethora of opportunities for exposure to phenomenal music, but discovered jazz through his American-born mother’s records. He gained additional exposure to American culture from summer vacations in New Jersey. He chose to come back to the United States for college at the Berklee College of Music. The year he spent there provided the opportunity for Terrasson to meet other like-minded young musicians. The friendships that formed led him to Chicago, where he landed a gig. “I called my parents to tell them I’d gotten this chance to play five sets on the weekends – it was lots of work. They said, ‘OK.’” Terrasson remained there until he had to return to France for his one-year mandatory stint in the country’s army. After that, he set up shop in Paris, vying for a chance to be heard in every jazz club in town. Almost 20 years ago, he packed up and jetted across the pond, settling in New York City.
“New York is great,” he says. “It’s a big mix of people that you play for. In general, every venue has its own flavor.” He resides in the Upper West Side with his wife and two kids (Margeux, 6, and Samuel, 9), whom he’s reluctant to leave. The family man is on the road about three and a half months a year. “I try to keep it balanced,” he says. “You have to be careful … you have to weigh everything.” When he’s not on the road, Terrasson plays to the New Yorkers. “I like to do two clubs in the city,” he says. “I like to play to packed clubs.” Jacky Terrasson’s latest solo album, Mirror, hit stores and iTunes this past August. New projects are already under way. He says he’s been writing music intensively. The Steinway Artist composes at home. “I like to write at the piano,” he says. His favorite? The Steinway D, of course. For more information, visit www.terrasson.com.
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All in the Family Michael Wolff By Kirsten Ott
Photo by John Abbott
Artists love being in the spotlight, so it takes a true lover of music to step to the side to allow someone else to shine. Jazz pianist Michael Wolff’s testament to his legacy is not only his successful jazz albums and acclaimed performances as a soloist and as part of a trio, but also his work with his two sons, Nat, 12, and Alex, 9. The work is a movie and a hit television show – both titled The Naked Brothers Band. “The way it came about is we had these two kids who are just amazing musicians. My wife Polly had this birthday party,” says Wolff. “And our oldest son, Nat, who was probably 7 or 8 at the time, and his younger brother, Alex, around 5, said, ‘Hey, we’re going to have a birthday party and we’d just like to do a TV show.’” The creative family got it rolling, with his wife Polly Draper (an actress who appeared on the TV series thirtysomething) at the helm. Wolff says of that poignant time – and of his wife, “What she really liked is to film them talking into the camera, talking about themselves and pretending to be famous stars. They were funny and she thought that’d be a great idea for a movie. So she thought if she could mix Spinal Tap with Little Rascals, and have a documentary thing where the kids are talking to the camera and they’re like a famous band, it would be really funny.” Musicality runs in the family. “Our son Nat has written many songs as a piano player, songwriter, and singer, and his brother’s a drummer, so we thought it’d be fun to base it around that. It just kind of came together and Polly wrote this movie,” says Wolff. “In the beginning, we decided it would be a good thing to get some of our friends in it who are stars, like Julianne Moore, Uma Thurman, and Tony Shalhoub. Julianne was available one day and so she just wrote a scene and that’s how we started. We started shooting with her, and Polly wrote a script. We raised the money as we went along and we made this little independent movie called The Naked Brothers Band. And that was the band the kids – Nat and Alex – had called themselves when they were really little kids, when they’d get out of the tub they’d say, ‘We’re the Naked Brothers Band.’” After the movie’s success in film festivals, Albie Hecht, former president of Nickelodeon and now an independent producer, saw Wolff’s film and said, “God, Nickelodeon would just love this! It’s perfect.” Hecht was instrumental in getting the film in front of the network’s brass, who offered Wolff and his family a TV show based on the movie. Wolff and his wife are co-executive producers, and Wolff plays the kids’ father and produces the music. Nat
and Alex write all of the songs while their dad writes the underscore, all while serving the role of a goofy dad who plays an accordion. The other stars of the film include preschool pals of Nat’s. The show’s second season has just wrapped, and now Wolff, who is thrilled for the opportunity to spend so much time with his family while he works, is off to do some work of his own before the third season starts up again in January. The versatile pianist/composer’s newest album, jazz, JAZZ, jazz, hit stores and the online music world earlier this year, featuring John B. Williams on bass and Victor Jones on drums. Wolff is touring from New York to the Midwest – staying close to home as the perennial father figure. For more information, visit www.michaelwolff.com.
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Steinway & Sons News Henry Z. Steinway Receives National Medal of Arts in White House Ceremony Compiled by Iwalani Kahikina Photo by Michael Stewart for the National Endowment for the Arts
President George W. Bush presented Henry Z. Steinway with the lifetime National Medal of Arts award in a White House ceremony November 15, 2007. The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the U.S. government in recognition of an individual’s contributions to the arts. According to a National Endowment of the Arts press release, the medal was bestowed upon Mr. Steinway for “his devotion to preserving and promoting quality craftsmanship and performance; as an arts patron and advocate for music and music education; and for continuing the fine tradition of the Steinway piano as an international symbol of American ingenuity and cultural excellence.” Created by Congress in 1984, the National Medal of Arts award honors the extraordinary accomplishments of persons engaged in the production and preservation of the arts. Honorees are nominated based on their contributions to the creation, growth, and support of the arts and are selected by the National Endowment for the Arts. Of the recipients, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia stated, “These individuals and this organization have made enduring contributions to the artistic life of our nation.” In addition to Henry Z. Steinway, other 2007 arts award recipients include: composer Morten Lauridsen; author, poet, and professor N. Scott Momaday; arts patron Roy R. Neuberger; theater director R. Craig Noel; guitarist Les Paul; painter George Tooker; the University of Idaho Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival; and painter Andrew Wyeth. The 2007 National Medal of Arts was awarded to arts patron Henry Z. Steinway and presented by President Bush on November 15, 2007 in an East Room ceremony.
New York TimesCenter Acquires Steinway Model D Compiled by Iwalani Kahikina The New York Times recently purchased a Steinway concert grand Model D to complement its new TimesCenter, a theatre facility and performance space in the heart of the Times Square district in New York City. The Steinway piano debuted for its first concert event, Broadway Close Up: Bound for Broadway VIII, on Monday, December 3, 2007. The eighth annual Bound for Broadway program was held in the TimesCenter while the Merkin Concert Hall undergoes renovations. This year’s event featured songs from new musicals and interviews with the creators.
TheTimesCenter, part of the world-class New York Times headquarters, was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, who also designed the New York Times Building. The TimesCenter is located on the ground floor of the Times Building located at 242 West 41st Street. The TimesCenter, which opened its doors in September 2007, features a state-of-the-art auditorium and banquet hall. Of the new center, Vice President of Brand Programs for The New York Times Alyse Myers said, “The TimesCenter is a wonderful addition to New York’s cultural scene and we are thrilled to call it home for our signature events.”
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STEINWAY ARTIST LEON FLEISHER AWARDED KENNEDY CENTER HONORS By Jesse Scaccia Photo by Joanne Savio
Pianist Leon Fleisher received the greatest American tribute available to an artist when he was selected for a 2007 Kennedy Center Honor. The award recognizes Fleisher’s lifetime in music and his lasting contributions to the arts in America. “Leon Fleisher is a consummate musician whose career is a moving testament to the lifeaffirming power of art,” said Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman. Fleisher, who is now 79 years old, was joined in receiving this year’s honor by actor and writer Steve Martin, singer Diana Ross, film director Martin Scorsese, and songwriter Brian Wilson. “With their extraordinary talent, creativity, and perseverance, the five 2007 Honorees have transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear, and feel the performing arts. We will forever be thankful for the great gift they have shared with us,” said Schwarzman. Fleisher’s decorated career has been marked by its great tragedies and successes. Throughout the 1950s Fleisher earned the honor of being called one of the great pianists of the 20th century. Conductor Pierre Monteux referred to him as “the pianistic find of the century.” In late 1964 the course of Fleisher’s career – and his life – took a drastic turn. Fleisher fell victim to a repetitive motion injury known as focal dystonia. The fingers of his right hand began to fold up involuntarily. He became unable to play with the hand, forcing him to completely stop performing in public.
“Having spent 35, 36 years of playing two hands and then have it denied, for me was an enormous blow,” Fleisher recently told National Public Radio. “And it took me about two years until I was ready to admit to myself that I should look in other directions.” Fleisher turned to teaching, conducting, and performing music for the left hand only. The injury did force him into a period of depression until he came to a new understanding of his relationship with the world of music. “My connection with music was greater than just as a two-handed piano player,” Fleisher explained on NPR. “And that allowed me to investigate the left hand literature, and it further refined my whole teaching attitude. I could no longer push the student off the chair and say, ‘this is how it should go,’ I had to describe it in words.” Fleisher would spend 30 years of his life experimenting with treatments to correct the disorder, none of which proved very fruitful. It wasn’t until he began receiving Botox injections that he gradually began to regain the full utility of his right hand. Though Fleisher doesn’t play as many concerts as he did in the 1950s, he is still a consummate performer when he does take the stage. Last spring he played the Shriver Hall Concert Series in
Baltimore, Maryland, where he ended the recital with a stirring rendition of a massive sonata by Franz Schubert. The Kennedy Center Honors, which are celebrating their 30th year, are awarded by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. They are widely viewed as a highlight of the Washington cultural year, and are broadcast on CBS. Fleisher, along with the other honorees, was seated with President Bush and the first lady at the December 2 ceremony. The award itself was bestowed the night before the gala on Saturday, December 1, at a State Department dinner hosted by the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The ceremony will air on December 26 at 9 p.m. eastern standard time. According to the Kennedy Center, the Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts – whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television. The honorees are selected by the center’s board of trustees, and the primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. Previous Kennedy Center Honorees include Edward Albee, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, Sean Connery, Bill Cosby, Kirk Douglas, Elton John, Mike Nichols, Smokey Robinson, and Steven Spielberg.
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STEINWAY & SONS IS HONORED BY AIDS SERVICES FUNDRAISER CLASSICAL ACTION
Photo by Stuart Brinin
By Jesse Scaccia
Jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch appeared at the home of Frank Jernigan and Andrew Faulk in Noe Valley, San Francisco, for a house concert to benefit Classical Action. The piano Hersch played was provided by Steinway & Sons.
Steinway pianos can play a good melody, but they are also played for a good cause. For the past 14 years, Steinway & Sons has been closely teamed with Classical Action, a notfor-profit organization which draws upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the performing arts community to raise vitally needed funds for HIV/AIDS service, education, and prevention programs across the country. “Steinway & Sons has been a tremendous source of support for us,” said Charles Hamlen, founding director of Classical Action. “The company has provided pianos for events across the country in cities ranging from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Chicago to Buffalo, Cleveland, Houston, and, of course, New York.” Classical Action honored Steinway & Sons’ efforts by featuring them in the “Volunteer Spotlight” section of their magazine. The organiza-
tion cited Steinway & Sons’ generosity in providing pianos for use at no cost, and also delivering, tuning, and picking up of instruments. Steinway’s efforts have helped keep Classical Action’s overhead costs low, while ensuring that the artists have the highest quality of instrument for their performances. “Needless to say, our appreciation to all those at Steinway & Sons, most especially Peter Goodrich, Bonnie Barrett, and Irene Wlodarski in the New York office, runs very deep,” said Hamlen. “Their unwavering and extraordinarily generous support from the very beginning of our fundraising efforts in 1993 has not only provided world-class instruments to world-class performers but has contributed tens of thousands of dollars in in-kind services, all of which we have been able to direct to the hundreds of AIDS service organizations we support around the country.” Pianists who have played Steinway & Sons’ pianos as part of Classical Action performances in-
clude André Watts, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Emanuel Ax, Fred Hersch, Ursula Oppens, Lang Lang, Natasha Paremski, Hèlène Grimaud, Brian Zeger, and Leif Ove Andsnes. Classical Action, which is part of Broadway Cares/Equity Fighting AIDS, raises funds through special events, private house concerts, recording and merchandising projects, individual donations, and foundation and corporate support. The organization has raised over $6 million since the group’s inception, including $415,000 donated to support AIDS and family services in the Gulf Region after Hurricane Katrina. A CD entitled Flesh and Stone: Songs of Jake Heggie was recently released to benefit the organization. The disc features an impressive roster of artists including Zheng Cao, Joyce Castle, Mary Phillips, and Jake Heggie. For more information on Classical Action, or to donate, visit their Web site at www.classicalaction. org.
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Steinway & Sons Announces New President Compiled by Iwalani Kahikina Steinway & Sons looks forward to new leadership, continued success, and a bright future as the torch is passed on.
Left: Thomas Kurrer will succeed Bruce Stevens as president of Steinway & Sons worldwide. Right: Ron Losby has been promoted to president of Steinway & Sons-Americas.
Thomas Kurrer, an 18-year veteran of Steinway & Sons and current head of Steinway’s overseas operations, has been promoted to president of Steinway & Sons worldwide. He will succeed Bruce Stevens, who is retiring after 22 years with the company. Mr. Kurrer will remain in Hamburg, Germany, but will actively manage all Steinway & Sons operations around the world. President and CEO of Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc., Dana Messina said of Mr. Kurrer, “Tom has done a terrific job over his many years at Steinway. He is a seasoned executive with a consistent record of success running Steinway’s overseas operations. I have tremendous confidence in Tom – he’s a remarkable leader who has built a great organization.” In addition to the change in leadership of Steinway & Sons worldwide, Ron Losby has been promoted to president of Steinway & Sons-Americas. Mr. Losby is also a long-time member of the Steinway family, having joined Steinway & Sons in 1987 as a district manager in the United States and, since 2005, managing Steinway’s European retail operations and Steinway UK. Mr. Losby will relocate to New York to assume responsibility for all of Steinway & Sons’ business in the United States and South America. Frank Mazurco, executive vice president and 25-year veteran as head of Steinway sales and marketing in the United States, also retired at the end of 2007.
All-Steinway Chautauqua Summer Music Festival Compiled by Iwalani Kahikina Chautauqua Institution, New York, has been added to the prestigious company of All-Steinway piano festivals. Like the music festivals held in Aspen, Colorado; Brevard, North Carolina; and Tanglewood, Massachusetts, among others, Chautauqua has chosen to use only Steinway-designed pianos. The institution will offer its Schools of Fine & Performing Arts students, faculty, and internationally acclaimed artists the opportunity to study, practice, and perform exclusively on Steinway-designed pianos. Chautauqua’s vice president and director of programming, Marty W. Merkley, is very happy about joining the All-Steinway family. In a letter to Steinway & Sons, Merkley stated, “Chautauqua is thrilled and honored to be included in the Steinway family. This relationship with Steinway, along with the completion of over $7 million in improvements to our school of music campus, places Chautauqua among the leading summer festival programs.”
A total of 41 new Family of Steinway-Designed Pianos, facilitated by Denton, Cottier & Daniels of Buffalo, New York, will be available on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution for use during its festival season. Denton, a Steinway & Sons dealer since 1860, has been recognized as the oldest Steinway retail dealer. Jim Trimper Sr. and Michelle Wlosinski, president and vice president of Denton, will be working with Merkley and his administrative and piano technical staffs for the final model selections and piano placement during the 2008 summer programs. Chautauqua Institution, founded in 1874, is a nonprofit education center and summer vacation destination. Chautauqua, situated on 750 acres of famous Victorian lakeside grounds in southwestern New York State, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. Chautauqua’s summer music program blends dance, theater, visual arts, opera, and other activities with its experienced instructors and Steinway-designed pianos.
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The Sound heard ‘round the world An Ever-growing roster of all-steinway schools spells an education at the keys of a steinway for students worldwide Photo by Evan Cantwell
By Laura Spinale In a way, you could say that George Mason University’s designation as an All-Steinway School began more than 60 years ago. Back then, Sidney O. Dewberry was a college student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. A professor of American literature asked Dewberry and his classmates to list 25 things they wanted to do before they died. A few years ago, Dewberry reviewed that longago list. He had accomplished much. Gotten married. Had kids. Even gotten rich. (In 1956, Dewberry founded an eponymous engineering and architectural firm, now based in Fairfax County, Virginia. Its sales topped $300 million last year.) But at least one of Sidney Dewberry’s adolescent goals had gone unfulfilled: that of learning to play the piano. Dewberry’s interest in the instrument would prove a catalyst behind his decision to spearhead a fundraising effort that landed the Fairfax-based George Mason University on the roster of 15 new universities to receive All-Steinway School designations in 2007. Other institutions to be so honored are the University of Alabama at Birmingham; Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee; the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York, Potsdam; Blue Ridge Community College; University of Montevallo in Alabama; Lake Michigan College; Waldorf College in Iowa; University of Minnesota, Morris; Valley Christian Schools in California; Gould Academy in Maine; Union College in New York; Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; Longwood Nagakute School of Music in Nagakute, Japan; and the Hamburger Konservatorium in Germany. To receive an All-Steinway School designation, 90 percent or more of an institution’s piano collection must be of Steinway design. By investing in Steinways, these schools have demonstrated, in the piano company’s words, “a commitment to excellence by providing their students and faculties with the best equipment possible for the study of music.” The All-Steinway School designation aids these colleges and, more specifically, their music programs, in several ways. Their reputations as centers of musical excellence blossom with the
investment in an All-Steinway collection, according to Sally Coveleskie, Steinway & Sons’ director of institutional sales. This reputation allows the institution to attract a more talented pool of student musicians. In atypical situations like Dewberry’s, students can actually attract the Steinways.
Sidney Dewberry and Linda Monson hold the All-Steinway School plaque that was presented to George Mason University. “Through the All-Steinway School designation, we’re attracting students. We’re attracting faculty. We’ve raised the level of excellence in the school,” Dewberry says.
A Goal Achieved Remember Dewberry’s 60-year-old list? A few years ago, he decided to start taking private piano lessons. As rector of George Mason’s board
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Photo c ourtesy of the Crane School of Music
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of visitors (one of the university bodies endowed with policy making and oversight powers) at the time, he was able to get in contact with Steinway Artist Linda Monson, associate chair of George Mason’s music department. “I took one lesson with Linda, and she was so enthusiastic, such a great teacher, that she sort of roped me in,” Dewberry said. Monson was similarly impressed. Many adult piano students, she said, begin enthusiastically but quickly lose interest in the vigorous practice needed to progress. Not Sidney. “He’s one of those people … when he makes up his mind to do something, he does it,” she said. (Hint for adult readers thinking of taking up piano: Both student and teacher believe that Monson’s willingness to rework some of Dewberry’s favorite piano pieces in arrangements appropriate to his skill level helped him maintain his interest in the instrument.)
Sidney Dewberry may love the piano, but when he first met with Monson the instrument he was actually playing left something to be desired. The Dewberry home houses a 99-year-old restored piano, but the sound of Dewberry’s initial fumbling practices sometimes disturbed his wife of nearly six decades. The answer for Dewberry seemed to be practicing in his office. On a keyboard. “Linda said to me, ‘You can’t keep playing on a keyboard,’” Sidney recalls. “She said, ‘You have money. You can afford the best.’” The pair visited George Mason’s Steinway dealer, Jordan Kitt’s Music in College Park, Maryland. Dewberry heard the legendary Steinway sound and was immediately hooked. He quickly had a Steinway instrument installed in his office, for, he said, his own convenience and “my wife’s sanity.” Monson knew that Dewberry couldn’t resist the rich, colorful timbre of a Steinway piano. As an accomplished pianist, she is “constantly” performing
Pianist and Steinway Artist Jeffrey Siegel joined, from left to right, Ray Rotuna, Steinway & Sons senior district manager; Sally Coveleskie, Steinway & Sons director of institutional sales; Alan Solomon, dean of the Crane School of Music; and John Schwaller, president of the State University of New York – Potsdam, to celebrate the Crane School of Music’s All-Steinway School designation as well as the single largest purchase – 143 pianos – in Steinway & Sons’ 154-year history.
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Photo courtesy of the University of Montevallo
“Inspired by the past, dedicated to the future” is the motto of the University of Montevallo, Montevallo, Alabama, which celebrated its new All-Steinway status at a dedication concert on the school’s campus. Shown left to right are French Forbes, Forbes Piano Company, Homewood, Alabama; Anthony P. Pattin and Cynthia Perry Jones, professors of piano; Glen Gough, Steinway & Sons manager of institutional sales; and Philip C. Williams, president of the University of Montevallo.
on Steinway instruments. For years she had wanted George Mason to become an All-Steinway School. She lobbied school administration, until, as she said, “a consciousness arose among our leadership that becoming an All-Steinway School was something we wanted to do.” Janet Adams Laird, director of institutional sales for Jordan Kitt’s Music, helped to get the ball rolling by performing an inventory analysis on George Mason’s existing piano stock, and then recommending what to keep or replace. (She would later visit Steinway & Sons’ New York factory with George Mason representatives to choose the school’s new complement of Model Bs, As, and Os.) Dewberry, meanwhile, understood the value an All-Steinway School designation would bring to the university. As a rector, he knew that George Mason, a public institution, is every year entitled to monies from an equipment trust fund established by the Commonwealth of Virginia. He made a deal with George Mason: If it raised $400,000 from those public funds, he’d find a way to match it. The match was accomplished through Dewberry’s own generosity, along with that of roughly 10 friends and acquaintances he lobbied. The delivery of the Steinway grand pianos to George Mason University was celebrated in
September with an inaugural concert. Students and staff played everything from Bach and Beethoven to Brahms and Strauss. “The Steinway,” Laird believes, “has the most expressive voice of any piano.” That voice was much in evidence during the inaugural concert. The prestige of becoming an All-Steinway School followed shortly thereafter. Monson holds that the All-Steinway School designation helps lure top-tier music faculty and students. “The faculty and student recruitment and retention issue is tremendous,” Monson said. “Being an All-Steinway School spells excellence. It shows our commitment to quality. It shows that we have a music program with top-notch students, faculty, and instruments.” Ask benefactor Sidney Dewberry what the All-Steinway School designation means, and he answers quite succinctly: “Everything.” “I don’t care what kind of musician you are, the piano is at the center of every musical program,” Dewberry added. “All [George Mason music students] have to learn to read piano music, to play the piano. And if you’re a piano major, it means that you’re serious about it. It means that you’ve been playing this instrument since you were 6 years old, and you’re dedicated to it. That level of dedication deserves the highest quality musical instrument.
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We have it now. Through the All-Steinway School designation, we’re attracting students. We’re attracting faculty. We’ve raised the level of excellence in the school.” The appeal of a school full of Steinway pianos isn’t merely an American creation: It extends across the pond.
Sounds of the Emerald Isle Founded in 1878, the Cork School of Music in Ireland is the oldest and largest music school in the British Isles. It houses roughly 2,400 students, fulland part-time, at levels of accomplishment ranging from grammar school to post-graduate. Its primary offering is a bachelor’s degree in music. Subjects include music history, music technology, traditional Irish music, and, of course, keyboard studies. Several years ago, the school, an arm of the Cork Institute of Technology, began working in a public-private partnership to build a new school. The facility cost roughly €60 million to construct and equip. No one can deny that the new facility, opened in September, is impressive. At 13,000 square feet, it houses a 500-seat auditorium, 100-seat drama theater, professional recording studios, a host of piano
teaching and practice studios, audio labs, and electronic music studios. Its existence merges what were once 17 disparate premises into a coherent whole. As of September, each of the school’s piano studios is equipped with not one, but two Steinway pianos. They are the largest segment of the school’s cache of Steinways, the vast majority of which are newly bought. Said to be the largest order ever to have been received by Steinway’s factory in Hamburg, Germany, the new pianos consist of 52 Steinway Model Bs (each built at a cost of roughly €80,000), two uprights, and a concert grand. The new Cork School of Music was built with the Steinways in mind, according to Gabriela Mayer, head of the university’s department of keyboard studies. “In the auditorium, we have a hydraulic system to move the pianos on and off the stage,” she said. “Also, the size of the classrooms, the size of the practice rooms, the size of the elevators and hallways were constructed to accommodate our Steinways.” Acoustics were also developed with Steinway pianos in mind. The company charged with outfitting the school and maintaining its instruments over the next 25 years chose Steinways in part because of their legendary longevity, Mayer said. A full-
The University of Central Missouri celebrated its All-Steinway School designation with a musical Steinway Day in September 2007. Present for the festivities were, from left to right: Bob Haugen, general manager of Schmitt Music in Overland Park, Kansas; Sam Eberwein, Steinway & Sons district sales manager – Midwest; Steinway Artist Antonio Pompa-Baldi; Sally Coveleskie, Steinway & Sons director of institutional sales; Dr. Aaron Podolefsky, president of the University of Central Missouri; Dr. Gersham Nelson, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Dr. Steven Boone, associate dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Dr. Lester Brothers, chair of the department of music; Dr. Mia Hynes, associate professor of music (piano); and Dr. Richard Smith, professor of music (piano).
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Image courtesy of Speciality- Imaging Intl. University of Alabama at Birmingham
Top: A number of All-Steinway School deans, directors, and chairs gathered at the National Association of Schools of Music Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City to pay tribute to Bruce Stevens upon his retirement as president and CEO of Steinway & Sons after a distinguished 22-year career. As of November 2007, 83 institutions worldwide were on the All-Steinway School roster. Above: The University of Alabama at Birmingham began its yearlong celebration commemorating its All-Steinway status with a concert on the school’s campus. Shown left to right are Jeff Reynolds, associate professor of music and chair of the music department; French Forbes, Forbes Piano Company, Homewood, Alabama; Sally Coveleskie, Steinway & Sons director of institutional sales; Carol Z. Garrison, president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and Steinway Artist Yakov Kasman, assistant professor of piano and artist-in-residence at the university.
time tech is on hand to ensure the Steinway pianos continue to deliver their legendary sound. And what a sound. “When people began practicing on the Steinways, other students would hear and say ‘Let’s pinch ourselves to see if it’s true.’” Mayer said. “Our students are fantastically happy.” Students and faculty are likely to appreciate the Steinways even more because of the prestige they bring to the institution. “We already have a high quality of faculty and students,” Mayer said. “A lot of our students have gone on to be professional musicians. People recognize that. That’s what got us a new school in the first place, she says. She adds that the Steinways have further raised the school’s profile: “It makes more people want to come here. It raises the recognition of what’s happening here.” Beyond the prestige factor, Mayer sees the purchase of the new Steinways as an important learning tool for Cork students. “The Steinway sound opens up a whole different dimension to teaching and playing for piano students, of course, but also for instrumental and vocal students. Students here used to be able to practice on and perform with the three Steinway pianos we already had, but having three just doesn’t compare to having [a school full].” The All-Steinway Schools program continues to attract universities, both at home and abroad. This fall, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, held a concert kicking off its All-Steinway School initiative. The school hopes to raise $2 million to put a Steinway in each of its concert venues, music classrooms, and practice rooms. In Europe, meanwhile, the Hamburger Konservatorium became Germany’s first All-Steinway School. Billed as the largest private musical institution in Germany, the Konservatorium teaches everyone from child learners to graduate musical students. The cache of new Steinway-designed pianos arrived just in time for the institution’s 2008 centennial. To celebrate its designation as an All-Steinway School, the Konservatorium held an inaugural concert and ribbon cutting on November 9. Steinway Artist Joja Wendt performed. This year’s All-Steinway School designations and major purchases reflect the confidence that music departments and institutions have in Steinway pianos as the best possible instruments on which students can learn, practice, and perform. Thanks to the efforts of these institutions of higher learning to provide the best, students around the world are honing their skills with the sound of Steinway.
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A L L - S T E I N W AY S C H O O L S All-Steinway Schools demonstrate a commitment to excellence by providing their students and faculties with the best equipment possible for the study of music. That is why the only pianos owned by these institutions – from the practice room to the recital hall – are designed by Steinway & Sons.
C O N S E R VA T O R I E S Oberlin College Conservatory (Since 1877*) Yale School of Music (Since 1897*) Cleveland Institute of Music (Since 1920*) Curtis Institute of Music (Since 1924*)
C O L L E G E S
A N D
Ball State University Bemidji State University Blue Ridge Community College Bluffton University Cardinal Stritch University Carl Sandburg College Carnegie-Mellon University, School of Music College of Mount St. Joseph Concordia University, St. Paul Converse College, Petrie School of Music De Anza College Duquesne University Fairfield University Franklin & Marshall College Franz Liszt College of Music Weimar at Kangnam University (Korea) George Mason University Gustavus Adolphus University Hastings College Indiana University of Pennsylvania James Madison University Lake Michigan College Loras College Middle Tennessee State University Millikin University New Jersey City University North Greenville University Oklahoma Christian University Oklahoma City University Philadelphia Biblical University Pomona College
O T H E R
S C H O O L S
City of Edinburgh School of Music (Scotland) Cranbrook School (Australia) Cushing Academy Episcopal High School Gould Academy Hamburger Konservatorium (Germany) Henry Mancini Arts Academy, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center Levine School of Music
The Juilliard School (Since 1924*) Academy of Vocal Arts China Conservatory of Music, School of Piano (China)
U N I V E R S I T I E S Portland State University Snow College Spelman College State University of New York - Potsdam Crane School of Music Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Teachers College - Columbia University Texas A&M International University Texas Christian University Tulane University Union College University of Alabama at Birmingham University of Arizona University of Central Florida University of Central Missouri University of Denver, Lamont School of Music University of Georgia University of Maryland University of Melbourne, Faculty of Music (Australia) University of Minnesota - Twin Cities University of Minnesota - Morris University of Montevallo University of Utah University of West Florida Vassar College (Since 1912*) Waldorf College West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Valley College Westmont College Wheaton College, Boston Youngstown State University
D I S T I N C T I O N
Longwood Nagakute School of Music (Japan) Novia Mavromoustake Music School (Cyprus) Pacific Northwest Ballet and School Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts Raleigh Conservatory of Music Valley Christian Schools Vestjysk Musikkonservatoriums (Denmark) * Denotes an All-Steinway School for over 80 years.
O n e S t e i n w a y P l a c e , L o n g I s l a n d C i t y, N e w Yo r k 1110 5 • 1 - 8 0 0 - S T E I N WAY • w w w. s t e i n w a y. c o m
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A White house treasure
Steinwayâ€™s newest legendary Collection piano re-creates the Gold Grand By Craig Collins Photos courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum
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Most musicians who played it knew it as “the White House piano.” To Lee Glazer, associate curator of American Art at the Freer Gallery of Art – part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. – it is the “Dewing piano.” For 35 years, the Steinway piano with serial number 100,000, created to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of Steinway & Sons, occupied the East Room of the White House and was the instrument of choice for state concerts. Many of the world’s most celebrated pianists, including Ignace Paderewski, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Josef Hofmann, played the “Gold Grand” for White House audiences, ushering in the age of the East Room “musicale.” “One of the things that I’m interested in,” says Glazer, “is that the cover of the piano was actually exhibited as a painting.” According to Glazer, the piano’s lid, painted by the New England artist Thomas Wilmer Dewing, was displayed in the spring of 1904 in New York’s Durand-Ruel Gallery along with works from fellow members of the group who called themselves the “Ten American Painters.” It was here that Charles Lang Freer – the Detroit railcar manufacturer and patron of the arts – saw the lid and considered it one of Dewing’s finest works. Interestingly, the entire piano would, about 80 years later, be exhibited in the gallery founded by Freer in 1923. The painting on the underside of the lid is titled “America Receiving the Nine Muses.” According to Gary Sturm, who oversaw the exhibit of the piano for several years as the curator of art at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, “The style of dress that Dewing selected for the young republic being received by the nine muses was a style of formal dress from about 1780, a gown that would have been popular around the time of the founding of the country.” Sturm says the idea for the piano was hatched in 1901 by Joseph Burr Tiffany, who oversaw Steinway’s art case department. The new occupants of the White House, President and Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, had just undertaken an extensive renovation in order to allow larger formal entertainments, and Mrs. Roosevelt had ordered an upright piano from Steinway through a representative in Washington, D.C. Tiffany wrote back to the White House, suggesting that a mahogany grand piano might be more appropriate for the executive mansion. President Roosevelt responded that something grander than a grand might be more suitable, something “national in conception.” The Steinway grand piano that was presented to the White House in 1903 – without its painted lid, which would later arrive from New York – truly was a Dewing piano, says Lee Glazer. Its case was designed by architects Richard H. Hunt and Jonathan H. Hunt, and its massive legs carved into the shape of bald eagles by Steinway & Sons artisan Juan Ayuso, but the decoration of the instrument was done entirely by Dewing – depending on whom you ask, with or without the help of his wife, Maria Oakey Dewing. “She was a noted authority on decorative arts as well as being a painter,” says Glazer. “And [Dewing] and she had helped Charles Freer with the decoration of his home in Detroit, so he knew something about gilding.” Dewing oversaw the gilding of the entire instrument: the case, the eagle legs, and the lid. In
watercolor, he also painted the 13 state seals and acanthus scroll that encircle the case. In 1938, when the piano was replaced in the East Room by another Steinway grand – serial number 300,000, which remains in the White House today – it was donated to the Smithsonian. It took a few decades, says Gary Sturm, for the Smithsonian to figure out what to do with it. “At first it went to our Museum of Natural History, and I think it was in the rotunda,” he says. When the Smithsonian Museum of American History was built in 1963, the piano was placed in the First Ladies Hall and used as part of an exhibit of formal gowns. It was later moved to a White House exhibit, and then to the Hall of Musical Instruments. After interest in the art of Thomas Wilmer Dewing began to grow in the late 20th century, the piano was moved to its current home in the Thelma and Melvin Lenkin Gallery at Smithsonian’s American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., in an exhibit titled “The Art of Thomas Wilmer Dewing;” it was loaned temporarily to the Freer Gallery in the late 1990s. As one of the most famous and ornate instruments ever to have been created by Steinway & Sons, the first White House piano was an obvious candidate to become the third instrument reproduced as part of Steinway’s Legendary Collection – the firm’s campaign to produce one-of-a-kind re-creations of the most historically significant Steinway pianos. The first in the series, produced in 2001, was a re-creation of the original Alma-Tadema Art Case Steinway – built in 1887 and described by Christie’s in London as “the most artistic piano ever produced.” The AlmaTadema was sold at auction for a record $1.2 million in 1997 to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute of Williamstown, Massachusetts. The second in the Legendary Collection, is a re-creation of the “Peace Piano” conceived by renowned art-deco designer Walter Dorwin Teague and displayed at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The original is now housed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; its Legendary re-creation, unveiled in 2003, has been traveling around the world. The Legendary version of the first White House piano is scheduled to be unveiled in January 2008. “We are establishing the fact,” says Steinway’s vice president of manufacturing, Andy Horbachevsky, “that we can build anything today, even the pianos that were created by the old masters: these tremendous carvers, these tremendous marquetry experts, people who were known as world-class artisans. We still have them available to us today as we did years ago.”
Opposite page: The Steinway & Sons Gold Grand piano, originally at home in the East Room of the White House, is now on display at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. This page: Detailed views of state shields and scrolling laurel on the Gold Grand piano case.
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Luxury Swiss Watches Luxury Watches by Swiss Fabrizio Cavalca by Fabrizio Cavalca
" Somewhere, Somewhere, " Understanding a Glance
Understanding a Glance Contemplating aa Whisper. Whisper. "" Contemplating Steinway Watches - 114c Rue de Lyon - 1203 Genève Switzerland - www.steinwaywatches.com Steinway Watches - 114c Rue de Lyon - 1203 Genève Switzerland - www.steinwaywatches.com pranoRR on temp.indd 1
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products & performance
STEINWAY & Sons ANNOUNCES its FIRST LICENSED WATCH COLLECTION By Jesse Scaccia
Photos by Crys David
When Steinway & Sons, long the vanguard in piano craftsmanship, decided to lend its name to a watch, there was only one place to turn: the capital of luxury watches, Geneva, Switzerland. Steinway & Sons has joined with Swiss designer Fabrizio Cavalca and his associates at RC WATCHES SA to produce the Steinway & Sons Watch. The timepieces will be made for both men and women. Cavalca has the heart of a musician. As a young man, he received many accolades as a pianist in Switzerland and Lyon, France. On a trip to Italy he became inspired by designs, so his passions led him to migrate to Milan to study music and architecture. It was there that he developed his theories on the relationship between sight and sound. “Visual design seemed almost inseparable from auditory creation,” Cavalca writes. “It is from this unusual dimension that this [watch] concept was developed. It is like contemplating a sound and listening to a glance.” According to Cavalca, the watch will bring together an alliance of technology and innovation, elegance and emotion. Because Steinway pianos and fine timepieces share the qualities of highly-skilled craftsmanship, precision, and elegance, it seemed only natural to go to the drawing board to develop a Steinway & Sons watch design. The watches, which will be handcrafted in Geneva, are inspired by the famous Steinway lyre symbol. They will be offered in yellow gold, rose gold, or white gold, offering a variety of styles for the distinguished man or woman who likes to accessorize with flair. Just as in the difficult and technically challenging endeavor to handcraft a Steinway
piano, the Steinway & Sons Watch will feature meticulous craftsmanship. The watches are self-winding by design. The hands of the watch are completely handmade and personalized, while the second hand has the shape of a tuning fork. All diamonds are full-cut and set by hand. The synergy between the watch-wearer and Steinway & Sons piano owner doesn’t stop with the name. The serial number of the wearer’s Steinway piano can actually be engraved on the side of the watch. In a new innovation Cavalca is currently designing specially for Steinway & Sons, a model of the watch will feature movement modeled after the metronome, a tool well used by anyone familiar with piano lessons. The name of the movement will be “The Metronomic Sound,” and the illusion of a metronome at the tempo of 60 will be created by the incorporation of double second hands. In 1996, Cavalca opened Prano watch company, which designed and sold a range of watches and leather goods. Inspired by the works of Debussy, Stravinski, and Satie among others, and enhanced by his emotional connection with music, Cavalca created watches that adopted the tempo of music. Indeed, with the new Steinway & Sons Watch collection, Cavalca has opened the doors to a world where music, design, and originality come together in an unexpected but surprisingly harmonious way. For more information visit www.steinwaywatches.com.
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Piano Competitions Choose Steinway
By Stuart Isacoff
Even earlier, Belgium’s Queen Elisabeth Competition had such stellar gold medalists as Emil Gilels, Leon Fleisher, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Malcolm Frager. But times have changed. Though careers used to be launched with a single win, some critics have dismissed competitions today as artificial platforms, and claim that they no longer deliver the goods because there are so many and winners can easily get lost in the crowd. Don’t tell that to Steinway Artist Ilya Itin, the 1996 winner of the Leeds Competition. “It has become fashionable to trash competitions,” he explains, “but every aspect of life is a competition. I’ve always felt that I was competing with myself, not with anyone else: that my job was simply to do the best I could. So there
Photo by Bruno Vessie
Piano competitions sometimes get a bad rap. Composer/pianist Bela Bartok famously said that competitions were for horses, not musicians. Yet they have been undeniably crucial in the careers of some of our most important artists. When Steinway Artist Van Cliburn won the coveted first prize at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958 at the height of the Cold War, he became a national hero, with ticker-tape parades and sold-out concerts at huge stadiums. Many other competition winners (and most are Steinway Artists) have gone on to musical fame: In the 1970s, Krystian Zimerman won Warsaw’s International Frederick Chopin Competition; Murray Perahia won the Leeds Competition in England; and Emanuel Ax won the Rubinstein Competition in Israel.
The 2007 Queen Elisabeth Competition first prize went to Russian pianist Anna Vinnitskaya, the second woman in the history of the competition to win in piano. Her final round program included Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 13 and Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2.
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Photo courtesy of Van Cliburn Foundation
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Drew Mays, an ophthalmologist from Birmingham, Alabama, took top honors at the Van Cliburn Foundation’s fifth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs. He bested 74 other amateur pianists to win a cash prize and recital engagements in Washington, D.C., and Laguna Beach, California.
is nothing particularly artificial about the circumstances. You can’t develop a special strategy for winning over the judges, because each person on the jury has a different opinion – believe me, I’ve been on juries myself. So in reality, it is a chance to be heard and seen, and it doesn’t hurt to win one.” As the renowned conductor James Conlon once said, “Regardless of how much preparation has gone into it, a performance is merely the endpoint of a process that begins again the next day.” In other words, there is no real finish line, and no race – only the ongoing attempt to fulfill one’s artistic vision. One of the other complaints against competitions is that they stifle individuality, forcing everyone to play within the same narrow standards. Yet, when individuality is coupled with technical flair and musical insight, the combination is often the
winning one. Consider those past winners, like Krystian Zimerman and Murray Perahia. The best pianists – and the best competition winners – demonstrate not only great mechanical ability, but also the creative fire that distinguishes a true artist. It may well be true, as the pianist Russell Sherman has pointed out, that young pianists should demonstrate a certain amount of anarchy rather than fit a cookie-cutter mold – that they should “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.” This is the ideal image of youth, breaking free of constraints and asserting a vibrant, independent identity. Yet demonstrating a readiness to play the big time by connecting with audiences while revealing a deep understanding of the masters is really not a bad thing. In addition to the bookings and prestige Itin received by winning Leeds, he has also received
tremendous support from Giselle Brodsky, founder of the Miami Piano Festival. She is known in the music world as someone who discovers and nurtures little-known talents – regardless of whether or not they have won a competition. But she is the exception that proves the rule. In the larger scheme, there aren’t many ways for a young artist to get noticed without entering a major competition. “It’s the only route to building a resume,” says Karen Knowlton, executive director of the Cleveland International Piano Competition. “We provide about 50 concerts to our winners. They’re not all major venues, but it’s a way for them to get started. It’s the only way for pianists to make themselves known to the public, unless they have great personal resources. But careers are built by climbing the ladder from local, to regional, to state competitions, and onward.”
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Russian pianist Konstantin Soukhovetski walked away with gold at the New Orleans International Piano Competition. He played Chopin’s Sonata No. 2, Mozart’s Sonata K.570, and Rocherberg’s “Carnival Music” among others.
neers to window installers and railroad workers. It has seen unlikely romances between entrants blossom into marriages, and the redemption of ex-convicts into ambassadors for the muse of music, St. Cecilia. The winner this year was Drew Mays, an ophthalmologist from Alabama. In addition to a cash prize, Mays also won a pair of Western boots and recital engagements in Laguna Beach, California, and Washington, D.C. This was one occasion when getting “the boot” turned out to be a good thing. As for the value of competitions, we can debate the issue all we want, but who could fail to celebrate the musical euphoria that prompted him to enter, or the personal rewards that he received? Stuart Isacoff is the author of Temperament: How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds of Western Civilization (Knopf/Vintage). He is the editor of the magazine Piano Today.
© Peter Schaaf
In the right circumstances, being heard at such competitions – by the public, the critics, and managers – can be life changing. Mindful of that potential impact, the Cleveland International Piano Competition is one among many organizations on a growing list of All-Steinway competitions. “Before 1999 we had several different piano manufacturers represented at the competition,” reports Knowlton. “However, 98 percent of pianists chose Steinway, which is fine with us because we want the best for our competitors.” Given the stakes, it’s not at all surprising that Steinway & Sons would be the brand of choice. “Steinway provides us with two of its concert grands, and the company has gone the extra mile for us,” she continues. “At the end of the competition, for the finals, we move to Severance Hall, to allow the pianists to play with orchestra. Steinway & Sons wanted our competitors to be able to stay with the pianos they had been playing, so they made it possible to move the instruments across town, and to give them the proper technical support along the way. When the doors are closed to the public, the technicians are there – the pianos receive a lot of TLC. These young people may never again have their interests looked after with such wonderful care!” The results in Cleveland have also been wonderful. Among past winners are such outstanding pianists as Antonio Pompa Baldi, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Sergei Babayan. Of this year’s winner, Alexander Ghindin, Knowlton exclaims, “He is 30 years old, and hasn’t been in the competition circuit since 1999, when he won second place in the Queen Elisabeth Competition. He has been performing all over Europe, but he was in America only twice. He wanted to find a way to perform here more often, and that’s exactly what he is getting. He’s a very exciting pianist with a huge repertoire, and Americans deserve to hear him.” Other All-Steinway competitions in 2007 included the Tchaikovsky, the William Kapell, the Queen Elisabeth, the New Orleans, the Van Cliburn Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, and the Hilton Head. Each is making it possible for all of their competitors to be heard on a prized Steinway concert grand. The Hilton Head International Piano Competition in South Carolina was won this year by Eric Zuber, a 21-year-old student of Leon Fleisher and Claude Frank at The Curtis Institute. The competition attracted pianists from 14 countries, ranging in age from 18 to 29, who were selected from among 176 applicants. As the first-prize winner, Zuber, who performed Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in the finals, will have several engagements, including a New York recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. At the Queen Elisabeth Competition, the top prize went to Anna Vinnitskaya of Russia, who performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Sofya Gulyak, another Russian pianist, took the top slot at the William Kapell Competition at the University of Maryland. Out of over 200 applicants, 25 were chosen to compete, and Gulyak took home the gold with her performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto. Gulyak had also won the Artlivre International Piano Competition and the International Franz Liszt Competition, as well as the Schumann International Piano Competition in Italy. At the New Orleans International Piano Competition, Konstantin Soukhovetski of Russia took the gold medal and $16,000, along with a performance with the Louisiana Philharmonic and other orchestras, and, among other appearances, a solo performance at London’s Wigmore Hall. The Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, with a rich history that includes such medalists as Steinway Artists Van Cliburn, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Grigory Sokolov, Andrei Gavrilov, and Barry Douglas, awarded no first prize this year, but pianist Miroslav Kultyshev took second place. The Van Cliburn Competition for Outstanding Amateurs has been the leading competition in the United States for adult amateurs – very often professionals in other fields – who love and practice pianism at a high level. If anything proves the universal appeal of music, it is a group of unlikely piano competitors joining in comradeship and engaging in friendly challenges while they share their favorite pieces, their frustrations and triumphs in executing the music, and their common striving for excellence (and recognition). The idea has intrigued contestants from all walks of life, from judges, doctors, diplomats, computer whizzes, and engi-
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Keys to the palace
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Keys to the palace
COLLECTIVE REASONING Insight, Inspiration, and Enlightenment Abound at Tallahassee Antique Car Museum By David A. Brown
Calling DeVoe Moore “a collector” is like dubbing Michelangelo “a painter.” Sure, the titles fit fundamentally, but there’s much more to the picture.
Photo courtesy of Tallahassee Antique Car Museum
Like the Sistine Chapel’s renowned ceiling, Moore’s Tallahassee Antique Car Museum emanates appreciation. “It’s the skill and craftsmanship that went into [early automobiles] that impresses me,” Moore said. “I look at these creations that were built in the early 1900s as workmanship – they’re art. You’ve got to go back in time and ask how our forefathers built automobiles without the technology of today. They didn’t have air conditioning and heating [on the assembly lines] or computers to create the designs.” Purpose aside, he ponders the passion of production. While some look at styles, Moore considers the soul. A little background: Born in 1939 in Greasy Branch, North Carolina, Moore grew up on a Greeneville, Tennessee, farm. His family moved to Tampa, Florida, while he was in junior high school after doctors recommended a change in climate to assuage his younger sister’s asthma. Tallahassee has been Moore’s home since 1962, when he went to Florida State University to pursue a degree in criminology. Midway through his courses, he dropped out to become a blacksmith – a well-paying vocation that provided
DeVoe Moore is the founder/owner of the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum in Florida.
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plenty of cash to pay for his subsequent return to FSU, and later real estate investments. Diligence and inherent business savvy established a cash flow sufficient to pursue the antique automobiles that Moore admired. “I started collecting because I had a little extra money and I loved the old cars,” he recalls. Over the next several decades, that love affair flourished and in 1995 – during a period when the federal Growth Management Act had slowed his real estate development business – Moore acquired a piece of property slated to become a strip mall and built the museum that has attracted domestic and international visitors.
DIVERSITY ABOUNDS True to its name, the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum boasts an impressive automotive assemblage. Models include a 1903 Stanley Steamer, a 1909 Hupmobile Runabout, a 1911 Ford Model T delivery truck, and a 1953 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Later model collectibles include a 1967 Mustang Cobra, a 1979 Rolls-Royce Corniche coupe, a 1983 DeLorean DMC-12, and a 1996 Corvette Grand Sport. No doubt, it’s a car lover’s dream, but Moore quickly notes: “I have a broader interest in other creations than just cars.” Indeed, museum visitors find a shrine to wondrous products of yesteryear; some functional, others formed for fun, all well worth a gander. Continuing the transportation theme, displays include antique bikes and motorcycles, pedal cars and aged outboard motors. There’s also an assortment of sports memorabilia, toys, cash registers, timepieces, and even old can openers. Each item is cleaned and restored for optimal presentation. One of Moore’s favorite pieces is a .71-caliber black powder gun that historians trace to Buffalo Bill Cody. (The legendary Army scout/buffalo hunter’s face is carved into the gun’s stock, while Indian Chief Yellow Horse’s visage adorns the chamber.) During the late 1800s, Cody’s exploits included confronting Indian uprisings and thinning out the massive herds of buffalo that often interrupted railroad progress by blocking the tracks. “If you hold this gun, it’s just like having the spirit of Buffalo Bill in your hands,” Moore said. There are also a few oddball items – like a cave bear skull – that always seem to turn a few heads. Moore saw an instant connection when he bought the skull from a Leesburg, Florida, collector. “I just thought it was an interesting piece,” Moore said. “We have a very large collection of Indian artifacts, so I thought it was a good complement. “Again, how did the Indians make those arrowheads without [modern tools and machinery]? I look at the history behind how these items were made without the technology we have today. So that’s very intriguing to me.” While many items in his collection speak to personal interests, DeVoe Moore is a businessman who understands the value of broad appeal. Case in point: One of the museum’s most consistently popular exhibits is the Batman collection, including a Batman motorcycle, three Batmobiles,
A COLLECTION OF FACTS Tallahassee Antique Car Museum Located: 3550A Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32308 Details: 100,000-square-foot facility. New location (opened fall 2007) replaced original museum (35,000 square feet) built in 1995. Founder/owner: DeVoe Moore Owner’s first antique car: 1931 Model A Ford Item of historical significance: Abraham Lincoln’s horse-drawn hearse (1860) Personal favorite car: 1894 Duryea – the first gasoline-powered automobile built in America. The prototype resides in the Smithsonian Institution, but Moore owns the initial production model. Most difficult car to acquire: 1948 Tucker – the subject of a Jeff Bridges movie, The Man and His Dream, which told the story of independent automaker Preston Tucker, who took on the big three automakers to market his own vehicle. Tucker only made 50 cars, so finding and acquiring one is no easy feat. Most prized item: An authentic American Indian medicine bag (worn around the neck). “A lot of people will come into the museum and not even notice that item, but it’s a really interesting piece,” Moore said. Contact: (850) 942-0137, www.tacm.com
and the Penguin’s duck vehicle. Warner Brothers donated Batman’s jet boat in 2000. “I think the attraction is that a lot of people are interested in [these items] because of the movies,” Moore said. “There are a lot of people who are just fanatical over the Batman [franchise].”
IN TUNE WITH DETAIL Complementing his fascination with memorabilia and objects of old, Moore also appreciates aesthetics. Therefore, it’s easy to see how two Steinway & Sons Legendary Collection pianos – one-of-a-kind re-creations of historical Steinway Art Case pianos – have made their way into his museum. First to arrive was the Alma-Tadema grand piano, the Legendary Collection’s initial re-creation. Moore acquired the Alma-Tadema Legendary Steinway piano in October 2002. With no musical skills and probably
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Photos courtesy of Tallahassee Antique Car Museum
Keys to the palace
an average interest in pianos, Moore initially had little inclination to add a high-end musical instrument to his museum. A visit to the Steinway & Sons factory changed his mind. “The local Steinway dealer, Jim Sims, knew that I look for real value in my collections, so he asked me if I’d come take a look at this piano,” Moore recalled. “We were walking through row after row of pianos and all of the sudden this one piano just seemed to have spotlights on it. The skill and the work that went into it just intrigued me. It’s a piece of craftsmanship that you just don’t see every day.” Moore’s is no exaggerated description. A precise replica of the original piano created more than a century ago with the work of world-famous artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, the namesake recreation features intricately hand-carved case, lid, and legs, mother-of-pearl inlays, and an elaborate rendering of Edward J. Poynter’s “The Wandering Minstrels” topped by an arched brass lyre above the keyboard. Considered one of Steinway & Sons’ most ambitious undertakings, the Alma-Tadema re-creation required more than 20 months to complete. Notably, this piano’s serial number is 554,538 – exactly 500,000 later than the 54,538 numbered on the original. For Moore, the Alma-Tadema re-creation is No. 1 in beauty. “If you asked me if there’s one item that I’d take out of the museum and put it in my home, it would be the Alma-Tadema Steinway piano,” he said. “There’s so much [craftsmanship] in that piano, it’s really amazing. I don’t think there will ever be another one like this.” About two years later, the Steinway & Sons Peace Piano found Moore’s favor, as much by coincidence as for its magnificence. During a discussion about Florida State’s music program with FSU administrators and Steinway & Sons’ Executive Vice President Frank
Mazurco, conversation turned to the original Peace Piano and its creation. Moore’s intrigue piqued when he heard “March 1939.” “I asked Mr. Mazurco, ‘What date in March 1939?’” Moore recalls. “He said, ‘March 27,’ and I said ‘that’s my piano because March 27, 1939, is my birth date.” The Peace Piano – second in Steinway & Sons’ Legendary Collection – models the original Steinway concert grand piano first exhibited at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, the renowned art deco designer from the early 20th century, the original creation resides at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Flags of the world’s 195 nations encompass the piano’s bottom edge. Across the front, 35 flags represent developed nations, such as the United States, Great Britain, and other European countries that have supported global relief efforts. (For two years after Moore’s purchase, the Peace Piano
The Tallahassee Antique Car Museum’s impressive automotive collection features models such as the styling landmark 1929 Auburn Boattail Speedster (top) and the full-size luxury 1953 Cadillac Eldorado convertible (above).
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The Steinway & Sons’ historical Art Case AlmaTadema grand piano re-creation is on display in the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum.
Champion of Free Enterprise
toured the world in a series of special events including concerts with world-class musicians and “perform-a-thons” by local children raising funds for global relief programs.) Moore said his Steinway & Sons pianos add a distinct element of meticulously detailed splendor to his museum. “It means a great deal for our diversity to have something like these pianos,” he said. “We’ve had people travel great distances to see them.”
TIMELESS ATTRACTION Passion without purpose is a vapor easily dispersed by the winds of change. So, what’s the endearing and enduring strength of the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum? For Moore, words like insight, inspiration, and enlightenment work well. “I think the value is in knowing that we are contributing something back to society by providing an educational value,” Moore said. “When you look at what we’re trying to get across, it’s very moving. There’s so much history here that people find it overwhelming. “The average individual will never see the items and artifacts that we have in the museum. This is an educational benefit to the community because where else will they see these items?”
Moore recalls a young boy studying an antique vacuum tube radio, turn to his father and ask: “Dad, what’s that light bulb doing in the radio?” Of course, it wasn’t a light bulb, but a firsthand look at this antique device cemented the lad’s lesson of technological development. As Moore notes: “It’s not just the kids, but a lot of adults who are also intrigued by this collection. If I had ever known that I would own such a collection of Indian artifacts in high school, I would have been more interested in studying about this subject.” Preserving the integrity of historic items is also important to Moore. Many of the museum’s Indian artifacts were previously owned by another collector whose dying wish was that his collection would remain intact, rather than end up scattered through random sales. When Moore learned of this, he purchased the collection to ensure its intact future. Moore stays busy, so he visits his museum less than he’d probably like to. But when schedules allow, he’ll stroll the aisles and reflect on a time when the young farm boy from Greeneville couldn’t even buy baseball cards. “I didn’t build this museum as an ego trip,” Moore said. “I never forget where I came from.” And he has the hardware to prove it – his original set of blacksmith tools are on display in the museum. Personally reminiscent – it’s a subtle reminder that for him, collecting is more about appreciation than accumulation.
Ask DeVoe Moore about politics and he’ll quickly share his disaffection with what he believes have become overly restrictive governmental regulations. The Tallahassee real estate developer is no anarchist, mind you. Rather, he’s a staunch proponent of free enterprise – the course he credits for his business achievements. Fearing that modern growth and business restrictions will impede young entrepreneurs from mirroring his achievements, Moore has become an outspoken proponent of putting the “free” back in “free enterprise.” “It will be difficult for a young person today to accomplish what I’ve accomplished,” Moore said. “When I die, if there’s one thing that can be said about me, it’s that I was for the young people.” His commitment runs deep – so much so that in 1998, he founded the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University. An interdisciplinary unit in the College of Social Sciences, the center imparts public understanding about the role of government in a market economy by bringing the insights of economics, political science, and public administration to the study of state and local regulations. Recognizing his contributions to Florida State University, Moore received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters on February 4, 2005. Contact the center at (850) 644-3848 or visit www.fsu.edu/~policy.
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Surprising Nashville By Vera Marie Badertscher
A world-class symphony hall. An art museum that brings the best visual art of the world to town. Ever-growing subscription lists for opera, ballet, theater, and Broadway road shows. Can this be Nashville, Tennessee? The city’s recent burst of cultural activity, particularly the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, redefines the nickname “Music City.”
Photo by Rick McBride
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) fosters performing arts in Tennessee. Among its many operations, TPAC presents a series of Broadway shows and special engagements, and administers a comprehensive education program. TPAC is home to three resident performing arts organizations: the Nashville Ballet, the Nashville Opera Association, and the Tennessee Repertory Theatre.
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Courtesy of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts
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As arts patron Martha Ingram points out in her book Apollo’s Struggle, the city nearly abandoned the arts for several generations after the Civil War. In the mid-20th century, commercial music began to dominate the Nashville music and entertainment scene with country music broadcasts and recording and publication of country, gospel, jazz, and rock. Now, commercial and traditional musicians support each other as the city makes room for the best of classical along with music with American folk roots. Like Ray Charles said, “There’s two kinds of music – there’s good music and there’s bad music.” Long before the Grand Ole Opry beamed across America on radio station WSM, people called the capital of Tennessee the “Athens of the South.” According to Alan Valentine, executive director of the Nashville Symphony, founders of the city envisioned “an oasis of learning and culture in an otherwise agricultural region.” The town still houses 21 accredited four-year and postgraduate institutions that helped earn it the reputation of a cultural leader.
For a long time, the only city art museum hid in a below-ground gallery at the full-sized replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park. There the city parks department still displays the James Cowan collection of early American painting plus changing exhibits. American masterpieces on display include paintings by Albert Bierstadt, Winslow Homer, George Inness, Thomas Moran, and Benjamin West. Specialized collections, like that of the Parthenon and other small collections at the Tennessee State Museum and Teakwood Botanical Garden and Museum, lacked space for large touring exhibits. In order to bring the best of the world to Nashville, the city and private contributors banded together to create a new museum. In April 2001, after about 18 months of renovation, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts opened in an old post office building. The availability of this architectural gem from the federal building boom during the Great Depression saved the arts community the expenditure for a new building. Even so, it
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is housed in what used to be a main post office. With 24,000 square feet of gallery space, the museum hosts major U.S. and international exhibitions as well as works by local, state, and regional artists.
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Photo courtesy Hedrich Blessing
Interior view of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center located in downtown Nashville.
poured $45 million into the renovations, with the first $19.9 million coming from the city, and the rest from private contributors led by Dr. Thomas Frist and the Frist Foundation. The exterior of the building, with its orderly arrangement of blocks and squared columns, adopts the impressive classical style favored for government buildings of the period. Inside décor, following government manuals of the time, features spare and graceful art deco designs symbolic of the industry and transportation of the area. Architecture fans, particularly those fascinated by art deco, may have to be dragged from the lobby into the main gallery. There, the historians among them will be looking down at the minutiae of the past life of the gallery. Paper clips, foot scuffs, and scraps of daily life at the post office remain under the varnish on the original floors in this National Historic Landmark Building. Because this museum started with an idea rather than a collection, it brings outstanding assemblages of art from leading museums around the world to Tennessee in constantly rotating shows. The year 2008 brings paintings from the Cleveland Museum of Art, for the exhibition “Monet to Dali;” Tiffany glass art from the Neustadt Collection; “Color as Field” featuring American paintings from 1950-1975; and 60 bronzes by Rodin. Although a visitor may be surprised to find outstanding visual art in Nashville, everyone expects to hear music. Musicians play free concerts at the airport. Recording devices hang on light poles at intersections so pedestrians do not have to endure a red light in silence. The clubs and bars along Broadway open at 10 in the morning and reluctantly shut their doors around 2 a.m. After all, Nashville became the Music City when first the Grand Ole Opry and then a wave of performance venues and recording studios brought musicians of all kinds flooding into the city. Bill Metcalfe, owner of the Nashville Steinway Gallery has observed the cultural scene in Nashville since he came from Indiana in 1989. “Nashville is pretty much the [music] publishing capital of the world. Consequently, we have a lot of musically educated people who look to the arts in a much broader spectrum than just one genre,” Metcalfe says. “We have a wonderful, wonderful country music venue here but it is only a portion of all the arts we really have.” Kyle Young heads the Country Music Hall of Fame. From his office in a modern downtown building that houses a museum and an extensive scholarly library of musical artifacts, he has observed the synthesis of music in Nashville. He believes that the available work for musicians helped build a strong base for the symphony. “Nashville Symphony musicians worked on country recordings as early as 1952,” says Young. “Owen Bradley used string players from the symphony to back [his recording]. The song was ‘Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes’ that became a huge country hit in 1953.” Young credits his counterpart at the symphony, Alan Valentine, with programming that reaches across genres. For example, “At the opening of the symphony it was Bela Fleck and Edgar Myer. Edgar Myer is a classical composer as well as a bass player who did a ton of session work at one point,” Young says. Valentine scheduled a concerto composed by Fleck and Myer on opening night. Young gives another example of the cross-fertilization in Nashville. “Mark O’Connor, who at one point was a childhood prodigy and a fiddle contest winner, moved to Nashville and made a great living playing sessions and has also been very active with the Nashville Symphony and other symphonies around the country. It is pretty normal in this town.” To further underline the blending of genres, O’Connor composed a piece for the Eroica Trio based on the life and works of Johnny Cash. But then, classical musicians have long borrowed from “people’s” music. Chopin wrote mazurkas based on Polish folk music, Dvorak used African folk songs in his “New World” Symphony No. 9, Mahler used many German folk tunes in Symphony No. 9, and, of course, Aaron Copland adapted American Western folk for such symphonies as “Rodeo.” Even Bach and Beethoven got into the act, adapting various folk music. “There is a really vibrant creative city here across all types of music from country to classical. We have what I think is an unparalleled creative community that virtually no other city can hold a candle to,” says Young.
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“ B e c om i ng a n
A L L S T e in way s c hool s ho w s t h e c om m i t m e n t of t h e
un i v er s i t y of mon t e va l l o to p r o v i d e o u r s t u d e n t s w i t h t h e f i n e s t P i a nos o n w h i c h to p e r f or m .” ~ Robert E. Wright, Chair, Department of Music University of Montevallo
With the purchase of 25 new pianos, the University of Montevallo now has the added distinction of being an All-Steinway School. The Department of Music has a rich tradition of giving students a high level of personal attention and many opportunities to perform. In the words of piano major TaDarius Dukes, “The University of Montevallo has a superior faculty and great pianos to go along with them, what more can a student ask for?” Incomparable sound and enduring value make Steinway pianos the overwhelming choice of renowned universities and music schools around the world. If you would like
more information on Steinway Institutional Programs, please call the Director of Institutional Sales at 718-204-3118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
One Steinway Place, Long Island City, New York 11105. 1- 800 -366 -1853. www.steinway.com ©2007 Steinway & Sons. Steinway and the Lyre are registered trademarks.
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“It doesn’t hurt to have someone who is as astute a business person and as generous a philanthropist as Martha Ingram to lead the charge,” says Young. “She supports the arts in general – including this museum [the Country Music Hall of Fame].” The symphony joins other arts organizations in Nashville that owe their growth over the past 25 years, and in some cases their very creation, to a woman who Steinway dealer Metcalfe calls “the angel of the arts.” Martha Rivers Ingram, chairman of the board of Ingram Industries, puzzled over why citizens of Nashville had not developed the interest in the
The Schermerhorn Center’s gala Laura Turner Concert Hall, which seats 1,900 guests, is set for a Steinway performance. The Schermerhorn Center is home to the Nashville Symphony.
Photo by Steve Hall of Hedrich Blessing
Young points to the fact that both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Schermerhorn Center located buildings in downtown, almost adjacent to each other. “There is no other city in the country in which there is that juxtaposition. I think it is more than symbolic,” he says. Those who prefer cello over fiddle, harpsichord over keyboard, Wolfgang or Johan instead of Dolly or Garth, cheered the arrival of the new stateof-the-ear Schermerhorn Center, which opened in late 2006. Like many overnight success stories, the Nashville Symphony’s took a long time to mature. Many people credit one woman with the Renaissance of Nashville arts.
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Visiting Nashville Asked where she would take a guest in Nashville, Martha Ingram says that the first thing she would show guests is the Schermerhorn Center (www.nashvillesymphony.org). Then she suggests TPAC (www.tpac.org) and Tennessee’s capitol building (www.state.tn.us/generalserv/psm/ capitol.htm), which is on the same block as the Performing Arts Center. She says, “I like them to know about our lovely downtown library – which is extraordinary, and has opened within the past few years in this beautiful new building” (www.library.nashville.org). She wants people to see the Frist Visual Arts Center (www.fristcenter.org). “I also insist they see Vanderbilt University” (www.vanderbilt.edu), says Ingram, adding that, as chairman of the board, she is “very proud of where Vanderbilt is now and what we are doing.” She notes that Nashville has 100 parks and greenways, encompassing more than 10,000 acres within 20 minutes of downtown. In the middle of one of those parks, Ingram would stop at the Parthenon – a replica of the real thing (www.nashville.gov/parthenon). Although Ingram’s tour concentrates on cultural sites, to see the commercial music that made Nashville famous, be sure to visit Ryman Auditorium (www.ryman.com), the Country Music Hall of Fame (www.countrymusichalloffame.org), and the Hatch Print Shop, a vintage poster printing operation still going strong as a branch of the Hall of Fame. To get a glimpse of the visiting artists and conductors that perform at the Schermerhorn, or the actors, dancers, and opera stars at TPAC, choose one of two downtown hotels – the Hermitage (www.thehermitagehotel.com), a historic property, or the Hilton Downtown Nashville (www.hilton.com). The newly restored Union Station Hotel, a Wyndham Historic Hotel, shares a parking lot with the Frist Center for the Arts (www.unionstationhotelnashville.com). Christy Crytzer, director of communications for the Nashville Symphony, shares a list of her favorite restaurants: “My favorite restaurants in town are Watermark [www.watermark-restaurant. com]; Radius 10 [www.radius10.com]; Sole Mio [www.solemionash.com]; and for great Southern food I would recommend Monell’s [www.monellsdining.ypguides.net].”
arts that she saw in her fellow alumnae of Vassar College who came from the Northeast or the Midwest. She wanted her children to have the benefit of good music, theater, opera, and dance. Word of her interest in the arts reached Washington, D.C., and the president appointed her to the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts’ Board of Advisors shortly after it opened in the ’70s. Ingram says, “When I saw that wonderful place, I thought, my goodness, if they can have that in Washington, why can’t we have that in Nashville?” In 1972, the state was planning a new office building in downtown Nashville. Ingram headed a group of citizens who suggested that the state alter their plans and build a performing arts center on the lower levels and the offices on top. The money to outfit what became the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) would come from private donations. After eight years of political and funding struggles, the center opened. Ingram says, “At first it was a struggle … We had a modest symphony, we had a community playhouse, so we realized that it was not just building the building; we were going to have to get the money together to pump up the symphony. And then we had to invent the opera and we invented the ballet and we had to invent the professional theater. And [now, 28 years later] we
have all of those things operating at full tilt, and all with multimillion dollar budgets.” Groups presently using TPAC include the Nashville Opera, the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, and the Nashville Ballet. Additionally, TPAC presents touring Broadway shows and hosts numerous smaller arts organizations and meetings and a fullfledged educational program. When TPAC started to be overwhelmed by its own success, Ingram and others realized that the performance spaces were overbooked and something would have to change. In 2000, Kenneth Schermerhorn, then-conductor of the Nashville Symphony, challenged symphony supporters to raise $2 million so that he could add 16 full-time string players. If they did, he promised, the orchestra would go to Carnegie Hall. Ingram again headed a successful fundraising effort. The orchestra received rave reviews at Carnegie Hall, and the mayor of Nashville asked, “What are you going to do next?” “We want to build a concert hall,” said Ingram, “a Carnegie Hall for Nashville.” She adds, “And we opened almost six years to the date from that concert.” The new Schermerhorn Center carries the name of the conductor that Ingram credits with building the orchestra “in an unbelievably competent manner.” And incidentally, this classical music conductor’s career started in jazz. Although
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A PIANO’S ODYSSEY Of the five Steinway grand pianos and two Boston uprights that the Nashville Symphony purchased for the new hall, the 9-foot Model D made in Hamburg provided the most sleepless nights for Director of Operations Tim Lynch. Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet volunteered to help find the Steinways that would contribute the most to the new venue. At a dealership in Paris, he found one made at the Steinway Hamburg factory that he liked. Tim Lynch tells the story. We purchased the piano from the [Paris] dealer and had it shipped here. And that is pretty much when all of the strangeness started. The piano was immaculately packed, as you would expect from Steinway anywhere. However, a regulation promulgated sometime earlier in 2005 took effect at the end of May 2006, and our piano was en route during that period of time. The export company hired to ship the piano used an exterior shipping container – not the one that Steinway packs, but the exterior one – made of wood. All wood, according to this new regulation, had to be treated to make sure that no parasites of any kind could get into this country. At the conclusion of that treatment process, the shippers must place a stamp [on the crate]. The stamp, about two or three inches long, looks like a little tree. For some reason, according to what I was told, they treated the wood properly but never put the appropriate stamp on the wood. The piano made its way from Paris through New York and arrived in Nashville on May 24 and all of that time it stayed “in bond,” which means they shipped it across the ocean and all the way to Nashville without ever clearing customs. It would clear customs here in Nashville. Due to the backlogs at the customs warehouse and the Memorial Day holiday weekend, we were not able to get an appointment for clearance until after June 1. At the end of May the word came down: “We no longer let things slip through.” From June 1 forward, anything that comes in, no questions asked, goes right back if it does not have this stamp on it. So we were sort of in limbo. It was here, but was an illegal alien as far as customs service was concerned. The local head of enforcement for these [customs department] regulations here in Nashville said, “Look, I understand. This is a very delicate instrument. It has been shipped all the way over here.” He realized that we were stuck between a rock and a hard place. The official said, “I’m going to let you take it from the unair-conditioned warehouse here to your concert hall storage, but the container must go back to Paris. You will have three days to make the arrangements, but if you don’t comply the way I’m telling you to, we will get that piano out of your symphony hall and it will go back as well.” As I recall, the piano stayed in the [customs] security lockdown until June 9 when we finally liberated it and brought it to the hall. … I was quite concerned all that time that the piano still sat propped on its side in a shipping case in a warehouse with forklifts zig-zagging around it. I could imagine a forklift tong going right through the crate accidentally. So there was a mad scramble to make sure that we got all the paperwork done on time. Basically, we had to unpack the piano [at the airport customs warehouse] before we brought it to the symphony hall. We had to repack the [outside shipping] crate and export the crate back to Paris. The container was what was in contention, not the piano. So the container went back to where it was supposed to go because the treatment had not been properly documented, but they allowed us to keep the piano, which was a great relief. When the piano movers brought it to the Schermerhorn, we immediately called in our technician, Candace Wilkin. She was the first person to actually get her hands on the piano after it had been shipped in here. She had to tune it and sort out a few things resulting from the rigors of its storage and its trip. It was in such good condition, even right out of the box, that there was not a great deal to do to it. Our pianist, the orchestra’s keyboard player, Charlene Harb, was the first to actually play on the instrument when it arrived. Jean Yves Thibaudet played the first concert on the new piano in the new hall. At the first classical subscription concert on September 14, 2006, he played the Liszt Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major for piano and orchestra. While it may have been a coincidence, Lynch expresses gratitude that the customs inspector in Nashville was the son of a piano teacher.
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Photo by Steve Hall of Hedrich Blessing
Schermerhorn Courtyard and “Birth of Apollo” statue.
Schermerhorn broke ground for the building, he died before the hall opened. Tim Lynch, director of operations at the Nashville Symphony, says of Ingram, “One-of-a-kind. A large number of people made this [the Schermerhorn Center] possible, but she is a unique individual.” The Schermerhorn reminds audiences and musicians of great European halls and for good reason. Building on the fundamental principle that there would be no compromise when it came to sound, David Schwarz, the architect, and audio engineers from Akustiks, LLC, in Connecticut, along with board members and staff, traveled to Europe to “develop a common vocabulary,” Valentine, explains. “We saw a total of seven concert halls in five countries in a five-day period.” The visit reinforced some decisions, like using “a traditional architectural vocabulary.” While Nashville had modern architecture at the arena and the new Country Music Hall of Fame, the symphony supporters wanted the neoclassical architecture that evokes the Athens of the South. The tour confirmed the acoustical superiority of a shoebox-shaped auditorium. The tour also sparked some new ideas, like clerestory windows to allow outside light to stream in and a plaza setting on the outside. They learned how to plan the choral seating so the people with that unique viewpoint do not feel isolated. They weighed the immense formal lobby areas in places like Berlin against the smaller, intimate spaces of the Musikverein in Vienna, and decided on cozier spaces where, as Valentine puts it, “people wanted to hang out.” “We learned that we were setting about the process of changing the whole experience of going to concerts for the audience,” says Valentine.
The clerestory window idea “made the acousticians crazy because it is hard to make them soundproof,” says Valentine. “So we have 30 clerestory windows, soundproof, with 3-inchesthick glass on the outside, 2 inches on the inside and 24 inches of dead space between.” The major acoustical trick consisted of constructing a building within a building. The Laura Turner concert hall remains isolated from the exterior building that wraps around it by 8-inch-thick granite-filled concrete walls inside another set of 12-inch-thick walls with a 2-inch gap between. With these double walls and double windows, outside sounds do not have a chance to impinge on moments like the nightingale song in “The Pines of Rome.” Season ticket sales nearly doubled in the first year. After the first concert for all the construction workers and craftsmen who contributed to the project, the symphony threw a big party for the whole community. Now Nashvillians join tourists lining up for a midday tour given five days a week. Townspeople use facilities for educational projects, corporate meetings, and weddings in addition to various concerts. A visit to the Schermerhorn can include a gourmet meal in Arpeggio restaurant before each concert, or visitors can dine at the Café pre-concert and from 10 to 2 on weekdays. These restaurants and catering for events operate out of a 4,000-squarefoot kitchen with a full-time staff of seven people headed by Chef Roger Keenan, who previously supervised the kitchens at Pinehurst Country Club. Like a chef’s skillful blending of spice and sugar, smooth texture and rough, Nashville blends popular music and the glitter of solid gold Cadillacs with the best of classical music and fine art.
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Shedding Light on the 2008 Olympics, Sights, and Sounds By Claudia Jannone AP photo by Kin Cheung
Chinaâ€™s success in winning the bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing reminds me of that old saw about politics creating strange bedfellows. Ang Lee, the New York-based director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, was appointed as arts and culture consultant for the opening and closing ceremonies â€“ in spite of his citizenship in Taiwan. Lee chose controversial Fifth Generation film director Zhang Yimou and American director Steven Spielberg for his creative team. In 2006, China announced that Zhang would be the director of the opening and closing ceremonies. Lang Lang, the renowned concert pianist, will perform on a Steinway concert grand piano in the opening and closing ceremonies.
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Reuters photo by Ina Fassbender
Keys to the world
Three Zhang films should be required viewing before jetting to the summer games. Raise the Red Lantern, originally set for release in China in 1991 with a government-approved script, met political opposition when officials deemed it an allegory against Chinese communist authoritarianism. Although Zhang maintained it made strong points against bourgeoisie Chinese values, which communism had overthrown, it was banned but garnered international acclaim. Zhang’s 1994 film To Live has never been shown in China because of its fictional account of a family experiencing the historically accurate hardships suffered by the Chinese during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution and because it reveals the inadequacies of Mao Zedong’s hard-line government. In 1995, China pulled Zhang’s Shanghai Triad from the New York Film Festival when it learned that his new film in production constituted a scathing documentary about the Tiananmen Square massacre. With visions of hosting an Olympics dancing in the heads of Chinese officials who realized that Zhang had directed some of China’s best films, the government asked him to accept official cinematic duty to promote China’s Olympic bid. The splashy intensity of those brilliant minutes of celluloid made history. “Only one film I’ve done in my life has not been attacked,” remarked Zhang in 2004 about his promotional film for the games. Part of understanding China and actions that, to the Western mind, might seem contradictory, comes with knowledge of the nation’s grand past. Imperial dynasties were thought to stretch back to the beginning of time, with the emperors wielding power over everything under heaven. China may be the first developing nation to host the Olympics, but its proud past derives from its status as the oldest continuous civilization in the world – some 4,000 years – and the oldest centralized state, since 221 B.C. In 1793, the Qianlong Emperor received Lord George Macartney, an East India Company tradesman of King George III. The emperor was impressed neither with the gentleman nor his gifts to the court. Macartney did not wish to kowtow – a huge faux pas. Not wishing to insult, the emperor accepted the useless gifts because what constituted undreamed luxury in the West were everyday products in China. Macartney had hit the wall of a closed nation. China required no trade but sold trifles of silk and tea from two highly regulated ports. Macartney noted the £10,000,000-a-year Imperial income, roughly two thirds of Britain’s entire revenues. China possessed revenues quadruple those of Great Britain, so when Macartney asked for increased trade and to send an ambassador to oversee trade, he was turned down flat. Throughout the centuries, China has repelled commercial traders and foreign political invaders. Politics has always been part of the Olympics, much more so since the games were revived in 1896 with the aim of sending a political message that might reconcile squabbling nations. In the eyes of the International Olympic Committee, the gathering for competition meant working toward the cooperative goal of world peace. Pierre de Coubertin, who reinvented the games,
Opposite page: After winning the Olympic bid, a countdown ceremony in Hong Kong celebrates the upcoming 2008 Summer Olympics in China. The Olympics organizing committee revealed the official games’ medals at the event. Above: Steinway Artist Lang Lang will perform in the opening and closing Olympic Games ceremonies in Beijing.
designed the interlocking “Olympic Rings” in 1914 as a representation of five interlocked continents. Carrying the torch from Greece to the host city revealed connections across the globe stemming from ancient times. The parades by teams showed cross-cultural cooperation while recitation of the oath suggested peace through internationalism. The games were between individuals and teams – not nations. China has adopted Coubertin’s Olympic spirit with its theme, “One World One Dream.” The medals draw inspiration from bi, an ancient piece of Chinese jade inscribed with dragon motifs. Beijing’s emblem for the games – “Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing” – symbolizes trust and self-confidence, expresses the capital’s hopes and commitment to the world, and celebrates the city’s hospitality to visitors from across the globe. China knows the Olympics will propel Beijing to global recognition and prominence. The economic powerhouse hopes its own athletes can win some gold, and a booming economy has allowed the Chinese to direct unprecedented funds into a revamped infrastructure. Beijing boasts of having the world’s largest air terminal, and the city has extended the subway system. As one of
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Keys to the world
The Forbidden City is the best-preserved imperial palace in China and the largest palatial structure in the world. The Forbidden City houses many Chinese cultural and historical relics, such as this imperial guardian lion.
the world’s most polluted cities, Beijing has taken measures to create cleaner air. The city’s organizers have vowed to close factories and take 1.3 million of its 3 million vehicles off city streets from August 8 to 24, measures that may lighten the foul air. The government has cracked down on infamous habits like spitting, queue jumping, littering, and swearing in public, and Olympic organizers have taxi drivers studying English so they may better serve foreign guests. When visitors arrive, China does not want to lose face. On August 8, 2007, China celebrated the one-year countdown to the Olympics with a festival in Tiananmen Square, the site slated for beach volleyball during the games. Near the Forbidden City, Olympic Forest Park houses the 80,000-seat National Stadium, scene of many events, with others to be held in new venues around the city. Promising safety for the games, Chinese officials have worked with security counterparts in the United Kingdom and the United States and dispatched delegations to Athens for security training and intelligence sharing. Athens spent $1.5 billion on its Olympic security, an unprecedented yet expected amount given that Greece hosted the first summer games since the terrorist attacks of September 11. Seeking to avoid the low attendance that Greece suffered in the wake of price-gouging accusations from foreigners that decided to skip the event, Olympic organizers say 58 percent of all tickets will cost $12 or
less, with some priced around $1 for Chinese students. Sold on the Internet and at 1,000 Bank of China branches, officials set a limit of two tickets per person for locals. I love China and have felt safe and at home there even when traveling alone. At every turn I bumped into history and found a population of dynamic forward thinkers. Loud, witty, and open, Chinese masses pile aboard sleek modern buses and in traditional quarters venture out in unorthodox yet modest pajamas to shop or play chess with cronies in a park. Although Beijing will host the majority of Olympic events, I recommend catching competitions in Tianjin and Shanghai in order to see more of China’s cultural heritage. For unrivaled natural beauty, visit the Li River in southern Guangxi Province; with verdant rice paddies and the mist-haloed Karst Mountains, it is the China of dreamy postcards. Here are a few suggestions for city attractions. Beijing’s Temple of Heaven Park – a walled, approximately 660acre park with gates at each compass point – was once the site of sacred rites performed to ensure good harvests and to atone for collective sins. The Temple of Heaven illustrates the Chinese belief in the power and heavenly significance of single-digit odd numbers. The white marble arrayed in three tiers of its Round Altar (representing man, earth, and Heaven) is based on the number nine. Its top tier is
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a mosaic of nine rings, each comprised of multiples of nine stones. Stairs and balustrades are present also in multiples of nine. The ceiling design, intricately carved and painted, reveals the Imperial Vault of Heaven. In China, even décor carries symbolic meaning. Tiananmen Square, where Mao reviewed parades of up to 1 million people, is a Mao tourism cliché, but locals stroll there on nice days and have photos taken with Mao’s portrait. On the western side of the square, the Great Hall of the People, where the National People’s Congress convenes, contains the 5,000-seat banquet hall where President Nixon dined in 1972. On the southern side of the square, the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall exhibits the mummified corpse in a crystal cabinet draped in the red hammer and sickle flag. China looked to Russia and Vietnam’s preservation of Lenin and Ho Chi Minh when doctors embalmed Mao, but just in case also made a wax replica. Each night Mao’s form is lowered into a refrigerator – a huge political irony as the chairman wanted to be cremated. North of Mao’s hall stands the Monument to the People’s Heroes. The 39-meter obelisk of granite is carved with patriotic and revolutionary events, like Lin Zexu destroying the opium that ruined Britain’s opium trade in 1839. This Chinese version of the Boston tea party led to the Opium War of 1840-42, in which superior British naval and firepower allowed England to triumph and gain an extremely lucrative hold on Hong Kong. The Forbidden City contains China’s largest and best preserved ancient buildings. Home to Ming and Qing Dynasties, the rulers enjoyed every luxury imaginable. Plan a full day there because its splendors are aptly titled – from the grandiose Supreme Harmony, Middle Harmony, and Preserving Harmony Halls to the Palace of Heavenly Purity and the Imperial Gardens. The Summer Palace – an opulent spread of palaces, temples, gardens, and lakes – formed a playground for the imperial court that offered refuge from the heat of the Forbidden City. As Beijing’s most magnificent Buddhist temple, the Lama Temple also ranks as the best Tibetan temple outside of Tibet. An architectural wonder, it has elegant roofs, decorative arches and portals, frescoes, tapestries, and two statues of Chinese lions. Situated on Beijing’s outskirts, the Marco Polo Bridge, a stunning 266 meters of gray marble with 485 carved stone lions, should not be missed. The oldest sections of the Great Wall date from 685 to 645 B.C. Construction to repel invaders and times of destruction continued through periods known in the West as the Dark Ages, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Victorian Age, and through sundry rebellions, wars, revolutions, and the paltry need to build modern highways and rail tracks. President Nixon walked there, and it received World Heritage designation in 1987. In 2003, China’s first astronaut confirmed the 1938 assertion of Ripley’s Believe It or Not that it “would be visible from the moon.” Both were wrong. Just 70 kilometers northwest of Beijing, getting there is easy with tour companies or non stop luxury air-conditioned buses (one hour). China’s most popular destination, it is wise to avoid it on weekends.
Beijing’s historic Temple of Heaven, constructed during the Ming Dynasty, dates back to the 13th century. The temple is situated in southeastern Beijing in the Xuanwu District.
For games outside the capital, the delicious cities Tianjin and Shanghai rank first for me. Tianjin offers an architectural feast of early 20th century European structures with concession-era details – stately banks, French churches, sprawling warehouses, and businesses with grand wooden staircases – redolent of Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene overtones. The central part of town is easy to wander on foot, with Five Large Roads, a residential area to the south of the city, offering expanses of European villas owned by the big money of Tianjin early in the 20th century. My true Chinese love is Shanghai, the “Paris of the East,” a city that has rolled out a welcome to quick
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Keys to the world
The Beijing National Stadium, which will seat 100,000 guests, is still under construction. The stadium is set to be one of the main venues for the 2008 Summer Olympics and will host the opening and closing ceremonies.
riches, ill-got booty, and shattered dreams. Like no other place in China, Shanghai beckons with sights like the Bund, Old Town, the French Concession, and the vibrant neon excess of skyscrapers across the river in Pudong. The Bund, the most historic slab of real estate, offers former foreign concessions, pedestrian shopping streets, trendy clubs, bars, and bistros, stately neo-classical structures, and the restored art deco building that houses the Peace Hotel. Near West Nanjing Road, I window-shopped on avenues with shrines to contemporary commerce – Chanel, Prada, Rolex. Not far from this shopper’s paradise is the Jade Buddha Temple, home to the 1.9-meter-high Jade Buddha in pale green jade that sits upstairs in his own hall. South of the Bund, Shanghai’s Old Town offers glimpses of the traditional Chinese neighborhood life that has been destroyed in the capital’s spiff-up to make room for new Olympic venues. Small lanes with temples exhaling incense provide amicable walking and pajamas-as-pantsuits sightings. With pavilions, pools of shiny carp, and bamboo stands, Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar provide an urban oasis, home to Huxinting Teahouse, the most famous in China. West of Old Town is the former French Concession, a quarter with a strong Parisian ambience comprised of leafy avenues with shops, bars,
and cafés frequented by expatriate foreigners and well-heeled locals. Another hot realty market like the Bund, the Concession contains the finest historic homes in China, restored French villas, art deco blocks of flats, artist cooperatives, and historic hotels. Pudong sprawls with busy roads that demand delivery there via taxi. The Oriental Pearl Tower, Asia’s tallest tower and the world’s third tallest, is pure Jetsons, a metallic spire with bubbled-out areas containing a museum and observation platform. In July 2007, it hosted China’s part of former vice president Al Gore’s Live Earth concert. A taxi hop away is the Jin Mao Tower, another landmark structure, with 130 elevators within the skyscraper. I hate elevators, but Jin Mao’s express elevators rocket to the observation deck on the 88th floor without any disorientation. The concrete, steel, and glass pagoda-shaped spire rises 420.5 meters, with floors 53-87 a Grand Hyatt. I hit the observation deck in late afternoon on floor 88 to experience a cityscape of skyscrapers as far as my eyes could see – to the horizon. I popped down to floor 87 for a cocktail at the Cloud 9 Bar – in the cumulous – and shot back up to catch the glittering nightscape of Shanghai. The opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics will be sold out, in part due to the presence of piano virtuoso Lang Lang,
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Keys to the world
The futuristic Oriental Pearl Tower dominates Shanghai’s Pudong District skyline. The tower, Asia’s tallest tower, has a museum and observation platform.
whose life, he says, was changed by Tom and Jerry. The television cartoon’s “Cat Concerto,” in reality Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C sharp minor and composed by Franz Liszt, yanked the 2-year-old Chinese toddler into Western popular and high culture. Lang Lang began winning piano competitions at age 5, and by age 11 took first prize at an international piano competition in Germany. At 14 he soloed in a symphony before an audience including President Jiang Zemin, the next year studying at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute. Lang Lang recently scored piano work for The Painted Veil, a British film set in early 20th century rural China that reveals the lovely countryside near the Li River.
Known for technical skill wed to dramatic presentation by his early 20s, Lang Lang described touching the keys of the Steinway piano as an electrical force. As the youngest Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, Lang Lang’s presence imparts a patina of historical significance to China’s Olympics. He has proven to international piano circles that Chinese musicians can excel. Lang Lang believes that classical music has endured because of its charm and the ability to inspire emotions and enlighten the minds of even those not schooled in classical modes. He was pegged by Esquire as one of the “Best and Brightest” figures of 2005. A Steinway Artist, Lang Lang resides in Hong Kong. The musician represents the traditional Chinese emphasis on respect for elders, citing the sacrifices and support of his parents as the reasons for his success. When he was 2 years old, his father spent $300, half his annual income, to buy his son a piano. An obedient son, Lang Lang has purchased homes for his parents and includes time with them in his schedule of up to 200 concerts a year, in venues that have included the People’s Great Hall. That hallmark performance occurred in China’s largest auditorium (seating 10,000) beneath the communist red star nestled among twinkling ceiling lights, bearing witness to his nation’s greatness. Where to dine is never a problem in China. Bistros in cities range from regional dishes to international favorites; same with hotels – home to the finest names in luxury. In such a huge nation, jetting between cities is the only way to travel. According to airsafe.com, the following airlines (flying smaller craft) have had no fatal passenger events since recordkeeping began in 1970: Fujian Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, and Zhongyuan Airlines. In Beijing I suggest the St. Regis Beijing for boutique service that rivals that of hotels in Hong Kong; the Marco Polo with luxurious grand rooms; or the China World Hotel with a fusion restaurant where Chinese power brokers meet. A roundup of other plush hotels includes the Shangri-La, Kerry Center Hotel, and Palace Hotel. International Club Hotel features Jacuzzi tubs and Grand Hotel Beijing overlooks the Forbidden City – both are five-star establishments – but I would choose Raffles Beijing Hotel or the JW Marriott that opens in 2008. Tianjin choices range from the five-star Sheraton Tianjin, in a garden at the edge of a park, to the Hyatt Regency, near Euro architectural wonders. Historical adventurers should try the Astor – luxury with an old British ambience in a 100-year-old mansion – or Tianjin Number One, another grand colonial place with art deco details, expansive public areas, and soaring ceilings. Shanghai’s Peace Hotel, where Noël Coward checked in, means going native in suites with East India Company themes, it is home to the famed Jazz Bar. The superbly located Ruijin Guesthouse comprises eight Tudor villas scattered in gardens that include lawn tennis and a Japanese garden. President Richard Nixon slept in the sprawling history-filled Jinjiang Hotel in the French Concession. Okura Garden Hotel, with lush gardens in the French Concession, is a luxury Japanese property. Impeccable service in the heart of the shopping district means the Westin Shanghai, or the posh five-star JC Mandarin. As the Olympics constitute China’s international debut, its planning has taken on the guise of a film set – lights, camera, and lots of celebrity action. Dedicated to meeting world-class standards, Chinese officials have mended political fences in drawing on the nation’s talent resources for hosting a successful event. China wants Olympic guests to witness a milestone in Chinese history through well-organized competitions and an excellent infrastructure. It hopes visitors enjoy themselves to the degree that they will return to explore more of this ancient and proud land.
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Keys to the world
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THE PIANO ON THE BEACH ON LUsCIOUS ST. LUCIA By Vera Marie Badertscher
Photo courtesy of East Winds Inn
On the East Winds Resort’s dessert table, the aroma of rum hovered above a dome of golden cake attended by a deep bowl of whipped cream and a cordon of rum bottles. “You take some cake, pour on the rum, and everyt’ing gonna be al-l-l-right,” said our waiter, flashing a big smile, the common currency of St. Lucia. He was right. My husband and I went to St. Lucia in the British West Indies to find a Steinway piano that lives on the beach and learn out how a delicate instrument can survive outdoors in such a climate. The 7-foot Steinway & Sons grand piano dominates the dining room at the East Winds Inn on the northwest side of this lush island. Many dining rooms in fine hotels have Steinways, but few have settings like this one. While there is a roof overhead, no exterior walls separate the diners, or the piano, from the beach. Mere steps away, waves swish rhythmically onto the sand. A roof of braided palm fronds under a sturdier upper roof peaks over the circular building. The ocean breeze rattles through the palm trees arching overhead. Piano technician Michael Lipnicki travels from Calgary, Canada, to the Caribbean to care for island-dwelling pianos. To his knowledge, East Winds Inn was the first resort in the Caribbean to invest in a Steinway. “Certainly it is the only outdoor Steinway at a Caribbean resort,” he says. “It is a bold move.” Owners George and Marilyn Reti, frequent visitors to East Winds from Canada, bought the property in April 2006 and added the Steinway piano shortly thereafter.
“Our interest in Steinway pianos goes back a long way, and was highlighted by our 1997 purchase of No. 90/200 in the 200th anniversary model Limited Edition Piano Series, J.B. Tiffany Design, in African rosewood,” George Reti wrote in an e-mail. “In fact, it was attending the [St. Lucia] Jazz Festival over the years, that inspired us to actually consider bringing a Steinway piano permanently to our resort … Steinway & Sons sends at least two concert pianos to St. Lucia for the Jazz Festival. ... So why couldn’t they send three? “We immediately called Irene Besse, the Steinway dealer we knew so well from Calgary,” Reti goes on. “As it turned out, the official piano tuner for the Jazz Festival for all these years, Michael Lipnicki, was also from Calgary.” The owners hope to have regular events like a special one that the St. Lucia School of Music arranged last year. At a master class for 10 people at East Winds, Michael Voskresenski, Russian piano master, used the Steinway. East Winds’ 30 rooms in pastel cottages or round cabins scattered through a seaside garden accommodate only 60 people. When Welsh native Gareth Leach arrived in 1991 to oversee the razing of a prior hotel and the building of East Winds, he thought he would only stay a short time. However, like many guests, he stayed longer than he planned; he is now the inn’s general manager.
Guests can enjoy listening to the Steinway grand piano at the East Winds Inn’s Flamboyant Room restaurant.
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Keys to the world
Photo courtesy of Discovery Resort and Marina
Discovery Resort and Marina at Marigot Bay
Steep hillsides form a deep bowl around Marigot Bay and a spit of land almost closes the entry, creating a “hurricane hole” that protects from coastal storms. During World War II, local fishermen watched in shock as a German submarine surfaced in their midst. Today, captains sail super yachts into the super deep water. Present owner Judith Verity says, “Marigot Bay is a bay of stories. It has a lot of history.” The stories mix with legend. The British and French fought a fierce battle here, and a doubloon that washed ashore fueled rumors of pirate ships and hidden treasure. Adventurer Walter Boudreau first sailed into the bay in 1949 and built a hotel and bar that attracted celebrities looking for a place to hide. Visitors included Hollywood stars, American presidents, and Winston Churchill as well as the cast and crew of Rex Harrison’s Doctor Dolittle, which was filmed here. When Boudreau returned to his native Nova Scotia in the 1980s, he left behind a massive stone building and walls now incorporated into the Discovery Resort. The renovated Hurricane Hole Bar still welcomes people looking for a tropical hideaway with its original sign and copper lamps from Boudreau’s dinghy. In 2006, British sailing enthusiasts John and Judith Verity celebrated the opening of their dream resort and marina. Besides the resort, Lapli Spa, and shops at Marina Village, future plans include banquet and meeting rooms, a gymnasium, and other enhancements. Wooden stairs climb through lushly landscaped hillsides to the 57 suites and 67 rooms in four- and five-story buildings. Suites, for sale as condo units, feature completely equipped kitchens and laundries. Hardwood floors, ceiling fans, and plantation shutters evoke a traditional island look in the otherwise spare modern decor. Judith describes the décor chosen with
the help of daughter Olivia Gavin as “sharp-edged and modern in contrast with the exterior,” which “should disappear into the landscaping.” Veronica Shingleton Smith, landscaper of Discovery, left her fledgling British theater career for a “delicious” man she met in St. Lucia back in 1952. “I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I started a garden,” she says. That became Mamiku Estate, which she later opened to tourists. Smith walks through the Discovery gardens and introduces a visitor to some of the “300 to 400 varieties” of plants as though they were members of her family. Some contribute a certain color. Some cover disturbed soil over pipes. The neen tree repels bugs. Many varieties of hibiscus lend an exotic air. The government protects Marigot Bay’s mangrove-lined shores in a conservation area. Discovery Resort treads lightly on the land by conserving water, using native products, promoting a solar-powered ferry, and keeping the bay pristine. John and Judith’s son Sam Verity sunk a boat in the bay to facilitate the creation of a reef. He scouts out locations for trails through the surrounding jungle where guests can learn about native flora and fauna. Another son, James, a chef, owns the Rainforest Hideaway Restaurant across the bay. While John handles the business, Judith concentrates on programming with an emphasis on her long-time interest in self improvement programs, like the upcoming life coaching class, Big Leap. www.discoverstlucia.com
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Photo courtesy of East Winds Inn
Keys to the world
The new garden alone took seven months to establish. He says, “Nine people on staff tend the gardens, constantly watering, trimming, replanting.” And the reward comes when the well-named flamboyant tree bursts into flame-colored bloom, and tropical flowers dodge mangoes and coconuts falling from native trees. Guests with a deeper interest in botany can peruse a booklet that identifies the plants throughout the property. The golden strip of beach stays as spotlessly clean as the rest of the resort. Each morning we peek out from the shutters in our ocean-view room to reassure ourselves that the postcard view is real. And each morning we see a man in black pants and a white shirt raking the sand to clear away any debris of nature or man. The sand will remain sugar soft between our toes as long as he is on duty. Guests can opt to include all meals in their plan. Morning and noon, cooks pile tables with tropical delights like soursop, custard apple, mangoes, and bananas by the ton beside spicy island
concoctions. More formal service in the evening includes a weekly fish fry on the barbeque. Guest Ingvar Svenson from Sussex came with his wife, Anna, for a few days one year and came back for two weeks the following year. When asked about restaurants in the vicinity, he claimed to have no knowledge. “We didn’t go out,” he said. “With the wonderful food here, why should we?” Dinner includes entertainment – steel drum bands, jazz trios, or pianists playing on the Steinway. Eugene Peyne, a retired aircraft company executive, returned to his first love – piano – when he retired. He now plays his beloved jazz and pop standards two nights a week at East Winds, alternating with two other pianists. Peyne never played a Steinway piano before coming here. He says, “Sometimes you are not in the mood, but this piano changes your mood because it is such a nice instrument. It spoils you for playing other places.” Music enveloped the island in May when my husband and I visited. While high humidity might
Nestled among 12 acres of lush tropical gardens, East Winds’ cozy cottages promise relaxation.
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damage a musical instrument, hurricane season seemed far away, and anyhow, the worst storms tend to miss St. Lucia. So as we roamed the islandâ€™s tropical forests, banana plantations, and brightly colored villages, we were not thinking of such things as high winds and storm surges. At the Derek Walcott Square in the center of nearby Castries, the entire grassy block had nearly disappeared under an enormous stage for Jazz in the Square. In a tent, technicians fiddled with amps and tuners, and booths sold everything from ice cream bars to batik scarves to rum drinks. For a week in May, St. Luciaâ€™s native drums, fiddles, and banjos are joined by the wail of saxophones and the rhythms of keyboards at venues all around the island for the St. Lucia Jazz Festival. Free programs at Derek Walcott Square attract a mix of office workers and tourists from noon until dusk Monday through Friday. The statues of poet Derek Walcott and economist Sir Arthur Lewis, two St. Lucian Nobel Prize laureates, hid behind the festival fencing. Tiny tots sat
on the ground in front of the stage in their blue and white outfits, the girls with hair braided and beaded. Rain sprinkled down, interrupting activity as though someone had pushed a pause button. When it abruptly stopped a few minutes later, life started anew. As viewers vied for bits of shade, an announcer ushered on students of about 10 years old in orange shirts and jeans. They filed on the stage with their violins and sawed back and forth conscientiously as backup to Black Antz. The young jazz group started at St. Lucia Music School. The music thrummed with a strong beat, a mixture of Caribbean rhythm and jazz tunes. The on and off rain continued as we wandered away from the jazz performance area. Two blocks away, along the bay where cruise ships dock, the modern architecture of a three-story duty-free shopping mall, La Place Carenage, contrasts with the older surrounding buildings. Nothing is really old in Castries except the cathedral on the square
Photo courtesy of East Winds Inn
East Winds Inn offers golden beaches, scenic views, and beachfront gazebos.
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Around the Island TreeTop Tram Founded in Costa Rica, Rainforest Aerial Tram provides a 60-minute adventure through giant ferns, trailing vines, and towering trees. Local guides provide commentary on the environment as you glide in an open car suspended by cables. Or unleash your inner Tarzan with a zip-line adventure. Hike a trail from the top of the tramway, don a hard hat, and hang on to the harness as you glide from one platform to the next. Those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground can hike one of the many trails into this unspoiled area and marvel at the 200 species of plants and 400 kinds of tropical birds. Just a half-hour from Castries, St. Lucia Sky Rides can arrange to pick you up at your hotel. www.rfat.com
A drive around the Island If you feel comfortable with driving on the left side of the road on narrow, steep, winding roads, rent a car and explore on your own. Wimps like us opt for taxi drivers, all of whom are trained as guides. A circle drive takes you to most of the high points of the 238-squaremile island, including Mamiku Gardens, the Pitons, colorful villages, banana plantations, and a drive-in volcano. There are many choices for taxi companies, and all the drivers must qualify as guides. We chose Nerv’s Taxi Service, firstname.lastname@example.org (758-716-1893).
Dining East Winds Inn, Gros Islet www.eastwinds.com Non-guests can reserve for dinner in the open-air Flamboyant Room restaurant and hear the Steinway performance. Caribbean Pirates, Castries www.caribbeanpiratesltd.com Reputation for the best local food, particularly seafood, in Castries. Dasheene restaurant at Ladera Resort www.ladera.com/dining.html Clinging to a mountainside 1,000 feet above the sea, the Ladera Resort looks straight out at the green Pitons and the blue sea. The diner has a balcony seat on the most dramatic scenery of the Caribbean – if he looks up from his plate of native seafood, plantains, and chocolate flan served in a coconut shell. At Dasheene restaurant, Chef Orlando Satchell strives to put Caribbean, “the true fusion cuisine,” on the international map. Rainforest Hideaway Restaurant www.rainforesthideawaystlucia.com/home.htm Hop on the ferry for a two-minute ride across Marigot Bay and come early to grab a seat on the very edge of the open pier that forms the main room of the restaurant. You can watch fish glide by as you savor the inspired cuisine created by Jim Verity and his friendly crew.
with its streaked concrete and squat bell tower. Multiple fires over the decades destroyed most of the former colonial buildings. Modern bank buildings in the downtown area alternate with older balconied residential buildings painted in bright colors. A short distance away, the sprawling St. Lucia market attracts shoppers looking for everyday
items as well as unique St. Lucian crafts. Curious about the school that teaches classical music on an island steeped in traditions of calypso and “soca,” or soul calypso, I paid a visit to the St. Lucia School of Music. Started in 1988 by a group of volunteers, the School of Music offers classical music training to everyone from pre-school children to senior citizens. Continued on page 106
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Music Festivals in the Caribbean St. Lucia is not alone in sponsoring a music festival. No matter the genre, if it is music, there will be a festival featuring that music. Here, in alphabetical order by island, are some of the biggest. ANGUILLA Moon Splash Annual Music Festival, March Rock, jazz, reggae, and blues www.anguilla-vacation.com www.bankiebanx.net/moonsplash.html Tranquility Jazz Festival, November www.anguilla-vacation.com www.anguillajazz.org BARBADOS Jazz Festival, January www.barbados.org/events Digicel Barbados Reggae Festival, April www.barbados.org/evnmus.htm Barbados Gospelfest, May www.barbadosgospelfest.com The Holders Opera Season, February 23-March 15, 2008 Opera, theater, cabaret www.holders.net DOMINICA Annual World Creole Music Festival, October or early November www.festivalmusiquecreoledominique.com/english.htm DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Santo Domingo) The Latin Music Festival/Presidente Festival, June Festival del Merengue, late July or early August www.godominicanrepublic.com Jazz Festival, October or early November www.drjazzfestival.com www.godominicanrepublic.com GUADALOUPE (Marie-Galante) Festival Terre de Blues, May www.lesilesdeguadeloupe.com/2/home-guadeloupe.htm GRENADA Carriacou Maroon Music Festival, April Big Drum Nation Dance, string band music, and quadrille dancing www.spiceisle.com/drumkrumah
JAMAICA Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, late January http://airjamaicajazzandblues.com Reggae Sumfest, July www.reggaesumfest.com MARTINIQUE Jazz a la Martinique, early December, odd numbered years, with a guitar festival in even-numbered years. www.cmac.asso.fr ST. BARTHELEMY The Saint-Barths’ Music Festival, January Classical music, opera, ballet, and jazz www.st-barths.com/guidepgs/musicfstvl.html ST. KITTS St. Kitts Music Festival, June Wide variety of popular music types – R&B to reggae www.stkittsmusicfestival.net ST. VINCENT Bequia Music Festival and Mustique Blues Festival, January Blues and Rhythm Festival, March Gospel Music Festival, April Nine Mornings, December Carol Singing Competition, December www.insandoutssvg.com/article.aspx?articleid=259&Sone=festiv als TORTOLA BVI Music Festival, May Reggae, gospel, blues, and salsa www.bvimusicfest.info TRINIDAD Perhaps the most unusual musical event in the Caribbean takes place in Trinidad: Pan Is Beautiful – every two years, World Pan Festival alternate years (schedules not set for next competition). In the final competition, bands play one classical and one soca piece. Orchestras may be composed of 100 steel drums, with the players in full evening dress. They play little numbers like Mozart’s G minor Symphony or Gershwin’s “American in Paris.” www.worldsteelbandfestival.com
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East Winds Inn is proud to be the first resort in the Caribbean to feature a Steinway piano. Here you will experience world-class service and award-winning cuisine all set in an elegant, yet authentic, St. Lucian retreat.
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ANTIGUA • GRENADA • ST LUCIA TOBAGO • BARBADOS
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Photo courtesy of Rainforest Aerial Tram
Rainforest Aerial Tram provides a guided adventure through St. Lucia’s towering trees in an open car suspended by cables.
The school occupies some crumbling buildings set on a hill high above the town of Castries with a beautiful view of the sea. Fading murals depicting musicians decorate the outside walls and students and faculty make do with a rickety wood building for recitals. An enormous flamboyant tree dominates the space between the two main buildings. Although the school started with no instruments at all and now has many, including five upright pianos, British Director John Bailey says, “It would be nice to have a small grand for recitals.” In the beginning, everybody worked for free. Boo Hinkson, now a well-known musician, taught guitar. Eventually, with government support, they grew to the present staff of five full-time and 20 parttime teachers. About 400 students a term attend in the evening and on weekends. While one-third of the students are adults, the children must fit classes around academic school and work.
The impact and influence of the school far outreach its physical plant or the supply of instruments teachers have to work with. Bailey says although no one from the school has become a concert performer, there are 15 different St. Lucian bands playing on cruise ships, and musicians are in demand at the many resorts on the island. Perhaps one-tenth of the students intend to pursue a profession in music, but Bailey says, “A part of the job or service of the School of Music is to educate an audience. We try to develop a love for music and for different kinds of music.” The city has approved plans for additions to the school that would expand classrooms and provide a decent recital hall but with constant repairs needed on the old buildings, the fund for the new school grows slowly. In addition to the benefit recital for St. Lucia Music School performed by the Russian master, Voskresenski, Vladimir Ashkenazy has given three benefit
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concerts. Ashkenazy has a part-time home on the island. After our conversation at the school, Bailey gathered up some staff members and went to Derek Walcott Square to sell raffle tickets. He and I continued around the bay and up to the island’s cultural center, a plain block building on a high hill. At one concert for which Lipnicki tuned, “Chi Chi Rodriquez wanted a super percussive sound. Right after him on the program, Ibraham Abrams, who plays mellow jazz, wanted a totally different sound.” When Abrams heard the piano he said, “The piano sounds nervous.” So between sets, Lipnicki retuned the Steinway grand. “I’ve never worked on any other brand that would let me go to such extremes,” Lipnicki says. “Here [in St. Lucia] many times on the outdoor stage the sun bakes the piano during the day. I go early in the morning. The light is beautiful, the sun on the water, and I feel like I have the best job in the world. I check later in the day and the pitch is changed. I have to resist the temptation to adjust at that point, because it will change again in the evening. The challenge is to figure out how much to float the pitch so you are right at 440 [the ‘A’ pitch in music physics].” The heat and humidity conspire to destroy fine instruments on a tropical island. Lipnicki tunes the East Winds Steinway piano twice a year to keep up with the atmospheric challenges. He advised the installation of a humidity control system. The dehu-
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midifier sits inside a contained area created by the piano’s fitted cover that reaches to the floor. A special string cover, that does not touch the strings, protects them from rust. They have drawn up plans to guide reaction to a hurricane. And soon East Winds would have to act on those plans. But for now some wind would be welcome to counter the May heat. The St. Lucian National Trust manages Pigeon Island, which sticks out like a beak on the northwest of the main island. Workers swarmed over the tree-shaded park, normally a quiet retreat, on Friday afternoon before the evening concert that opens the main show of the Jazz Festival. Walking in on the dirt road, we saw some tumbled stone walls on the right that formed a backdrop of an enormous modern amphitheater stage. We were looking at the setting for “Jazz among the Ruins.” With its huge light stanchions, sound booth, and dressing rooms below the stage, this could be a year-round theater rather than a temporary venue. To our left we saw a lawn circled with wooden booths, each bearing the name of a community or area of the island and each painted in a brilliant color. After watching for a bit as technicians did sound checks and Lipnicki pinged a tuning fork, we marched uphill past more ruins. There, Fort Rodney stood guard over the bay of the same name. Built for 18th century tussles between the French and English, the fort also had a workout during World War II when American troops
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Photo courtesy of www.stlucia.org
St. Lucia’s most famous landmarks, the twin peak Pitons, stretch more than 2,000 feet skyward.
operated here. Back at the foot of the hill, we visited a small museum that illustrates native, pirate, and warring factions that have used this land. The next day it seemed that half the Caribbean population had donned their most fashionable clothes and taken the shuttle bus to Pigeon Island. The crowds streamed in to sit under umbrellas shading them from the relentless sun. While the larger crowd occupied the field in front of the stage, another group preferred the side area around a secondary stage. A student band of steel drums played there inside the circle of food booths. Enormous screens gave a better-than life-sized view of the acts on stage. The Jazz Festival, managed by Paxton Baker of New York City, features jazz with a few local performers mixed in with visiting stars. The Pigeon Island shows run Saturday and Sunday from two in the afternoon until well after dark. The festival attracts big names to perform and in 2007, Natalie Cole closed the show.
Postscript Three months after our visit, the system put in place to protect the East Winds’ Steinway grand piano got a test when Hurricane Dean roared through the Caribbean. Assistant general manager of East Winds, Pearl Rambally, told me by phone that guests pitched in and helped the staff move all the furniture out of the dining room and bar area and rooms close to the sea. Although water entered the dining room and trees and branches fell, Gareth Leach reported in an e-mail, “The piano was protected by a cover provided by Steinway, just like the waterproof jackets used on race horses in training on a wintry dull day in England on the gallops.” By noon the next day, the dining room was back in business and the Steinway was ready to play. “Everyt’ing gonna be al-l-l-right.”
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WINDOWS. TELL YOUR ARCHITECT YOU WANT LOTS AND LOTS OF WINDOWS.
Over 1,000 acres of pristine Sonoran desert define a residence so private and exclusive, its only entry is through a mountain passageway. Saguaro Ranch brings unparalleled views and the aura of true Western heritage into today’s modern ranch lifestyle. All of which premier an unrivaled experience that’s pure, natural and vastly undisturbed. Saguaro Ranch, north of Tucson — where the desert’s true story is just outside your window. To schedule your private tour, call 520-498-2300.
Brokers Protected. Obtain the property report required by Federal Law or other applicable government authority and read it before signing anything. No Federal or other governmental agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. This shall not constitute an offer to sell in any state where prior registration is required.
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Leaving Your Mark Technology can’t hold a candle to the romance of a pen, as many consumers are beginning to understand By Julie Sturgeon
Americans have fallen into a curious dichotomy of style: The Corporate VIP wears $3,000 Armani suits into the boardroom, but uses a Papermate disposable pen to ink the deal. A hedge fund manager owns a yacht, a second home, and travels the world, but sends birthday cards (and the check inside) signed with a promotional ballpoint pen.
Image courtesy of Pelikan Pens
That habit, trend watchers say, is about to change. Fine writing instruments are once again becoming a fashion statement, with manufacturers racing to find innovative ways to catch the discerning eye. Hang the cost – this is a status symbol we’re talking about, or as Randy Spicer at Pelikan, a German manufacturer of fine pens, dubs it, an image accessory. “Men and women on the move want designer shirts, cuff links, and watches to show they’ve made it or [are] aspiring to great things. A luxury pen is part of that package,” he says.
Piccadilly Circus pens from the Cities series by Pelikan.
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Image courtesy of Pelikan Pens
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Of course, there have always been pen aficionados among us – avid collectors whose first question is how many bands are on the cap of a 1936 Parker. Meanwhile, the average consumer pursued Palm Pilots, Blackberries, and now iPhones to fill in his or her grasp, and fell back on keyboards to communicate. The current attraction to fine writing instruments is a not-so-subtle backlash against the impersonality of those electronics, says John Mottishaw, owner of Classic Fountain Pens in Los Angeles, California. “Pens satisfy a need that [a PDA] can’t – getting in contact with your ideas on the paper,” he points out. Case in point: Patrick O’Brian, who wrote Master and Commander, is all the buzz among the younger generations – and yet this young author told a National Public Radio reporter that he writes his first drafts in longhand using a fountain pen. The same is true for Neil Gaiman and his now famous fairy-tale novel, Stardust, despite the fact that he owns an iPod and blogs frequently on the Internet. “There is something to the flow of ideas through a pen,” says Mottishaw. “I like to think of a fountain pen as a little river that ink is flowing out of. You press a little harder, you get a little more ink. Your arm moves across the paper, your hand moves, and all of these things contribute to a tactile sense of what writing is about. I think the way we are made is more in tune with that in a physical sense.” Or perhaps it isn’t that ethereal, muses Spicer, the vice president of sales for Chartpak, which distributes the Pelikan brand in the United States. In his experience, the motivation stems from the simple fact that handwritten anything stands out in the crowd these days. His friend at the Pew Foundation has admitted that with the hordes of enve-
lopes that stack up in her inbox on a daily basis, she gives top priority to anything addressed to her using a real pen as opposed to a computer font that fakes a cursive style.
A Fount of Blessings Certainly a fine writing instrument costs more than the pens for sale at the nearest office supply store, but price alone doesn’t drive the mystique. You can pay top dollar for a ballpoint version, for instance, and still not achieve the status statement you desire, experts say. That’s because when it comes to impressive moves, what was old is new again: Fountain pens today, like those crafted by Montblanc, deliver the elusive panache most buyers seek. Older generations will discover little has changed from their childhood. A fountain pen’s construction remains the same basic process as it was at the turn of the 20th century. The feed is either a hard rubber or an injection molded plastic (a more modern addition in the 1940s) that runs a stream of ink to a gold nib – whether that metal is 14-karat, 18-karat, or 21-karat gold is irrelevant to performance, Mottishaw claims. (The real secret to smoother nibs lies with the shape of the tip as opposed to its material, he says.) A good fountain pen has an inner cap that creates a valve just like a corked container. The average person can carry it around in his pocket without embarrassing shirt stains and expensive dry cleaning bills. “I just flew to and from D.C. with mine in my pocket on the airplane,” Mottishaw says. “I had no problem, and this was one with a hard rubber feed, a fairly primitive system. In fact, I used it on the airplane and it was OK.”
Nib Talk According to Yair “Jerry” Greenberg of California-based Yafa Pen Company, the type of nib you choose for your fountain pen directly correlates to your level of enjoyment. A broad or double broad nib produces a forceful signature – the perfect choice for a governor or CEO who intends to use his work of art to publicly sign important documents. Most people prefer to write their correspondence, however, with a medium size nib or an italic. Women in particular gravitate toward fine or extra fine points to better suit their tighter penmanship. As for ink, it now comes in converters that pop into the pen similar to printer ink cartridges. This technology means that owners can switch colors within seconds, and thus have a wider range of ink colors at their disposal. It also enables business people to travel more easily with their fountain pens. “You don’t have to carry ink bottles all over the world,” says Greenberg. “In fact, airport security won’t let you take it on – I’ve had mine confiscated out of my luggage.”
Wonders of Nature series Niagara Falls fountain pen by Pelikan has a rhodium plated solid 18-karat gold nib.
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Look for the finest in luxurypens from these retailers: A Pen Lover’s Paradise 2488 North Landing Road Virginia Beach, VA 23456 (866) 588-7367
Image courtesy of YAFA Pen Company
Berliner Pen 928 Broadway, Suite 203 New York, NY 10010 (212) 614-3020 Bromfield Pen Shop 5 Bromfield Street Boston, MA 02108 (617) 482-9053 Classic Fountain Pens 717 N. Highland Ave., Loft #27 Los Angeles, CA 90038 (323) 655-2641 www.nibs.com Jeffrey Stone, Ltd. 5000 Westheimer – 610 Houston, TX 77056 (800) 818-7440 Delta’s limited edition Giacomo Puccini design is made of a combination of ivory and ruby-red resin and offers a specially designed 18-karat solid gold nib enriched with seven rubies and six diamonds.
“People write with fountain pens that cost thousands of dollars every day and don’t even think about it,” Spicer assures. Still, as important as convenience and reliability are, these traits aren’t a fountain pen’s selling points. Savvy consumers buy because of its esoteric benefits. “It’s a story I hear over and over again: When you have a fountain pen in your hand, you have a different relationship with your mind and what it is thinking,” explains Mottishaw. “[Thoughts] are slowed in their delivery, and that slowdown makes a more coherent idea form on the page.”
Then there’s that distinctive sound of faint scratching as the nib rubs across the paper – a comforting background resonance, many writers claim. But perhaps the most practical perk of all: Fountain pens can automatically improve one’s handwriting. That’s because an italic point in particular (and sometimes an oblique point at an angle that makes a thin line in one direction and a thicker one in the opposite) offers enough precision to clean up the lines and render them crisp. “I have never seen anyone whose handwriting didn’t look better using an italic nib,” Mottishaw reports.
Madison Art Shop LLC 17 Engleberg Terrace Lakewood, NJ 08701 (732) 961-2211 Pendemonium 619 Avenue G Fort Madison, IA 52627 (319) 372-0881
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Steinway Winter 2007
Frosianiss reeminence Ivan Davis
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ahrneyâ€™s Pens celebrates the creative genius of Antonio Stradivari with this new limited edition from Montegrappa. For over 75 years, Fahrneyâ€™s has served as the nationâ€™s premiere pen retailer, offering the worldâ€™s best writing instruments including Montblanc, Parker, Pelikan, Waterman and many more. Youâ€™ll find everything you need for great writing, backed by our expertise and outstanding customer service. For a free copy of Fahrneyâ€™s catalog call 1-800-624-PENS (7367) or visit www.FahrneysPens.com Visit our store: 1317 F St., NW, Washington, DC (near the White House) For orders, please mention #SNS1207
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So it’s no surprise he predicts Americans will soon see a wider use of fountain pens than we have in decades.
red pen. The surface, however, develops a patina that exposes the black ebonite underneath over a number of years. The company hired the artist who worked on restoring the emperor’s throne, Takamijura, as a signal of just how important the pen artistry is to the brand. On the other hand, its Four Seasons of the Mount Fuji series, which retailed for $35,000 for the four-piece set when it debuted in June 2007, features elaborate paintings on the pens’ ebonite bodies. Want to take it even more upscale? Urushi is merely the foundation; Sailor offers a version with a hand inlay of mother-of-pearl across the barrel to add yet another level of display to the pen. The Asian influence is strong at Delta Pens, too. Yari “Jerry” Greenberg, founder and CEO of Yafa Pen Company in Canoga Park, California, is energized by the possibilities the ancient Chinese art of snuff bottles present. The painting on the inside of the glass – a delicate procedure that requires manipulating the brush through the neck of a bottle only fractions of an inch wide – works that same magic when done on the inside of a clear, polished acrylic. Even the “ordinary” fountain pens he commissions are handmade by artisans in Italy who pour a slab of resin, then fashion the shape from that hard mass weeks later. Similar to a glass blower who fashions fine Waterford crystal, the process is wrought with complications that can send the entire piece back to the drawing board. Thus Delta pens can take weeks to produce, as opposed to the injection
1930. Offered in 10- or 14-karat gold filled or 23-karat gold plated, it doesn’t need to be ostentatious to draw attention, as Tom Peterson, director of global marketing for Cross, points out. “We have artists literally sprinkling gold dust to make dragons and creating pens with great stories,” says Pelikan’s Spicer. “We want to bring the romance back to pens.” That’s why his company displays pens designed in recognition of little known goddesses, or made of wood taken from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond. The Cities series pays homage to great cities around the globe: Berlin, Stockholm, Madrid, San Francisco, and Chicago. The newest incarnation will feature places such as Piccadilly Circus, “which is a ‘wow!’ pen,” Spicer describes. Wonders of Nature is also on the drawing board – a limited edition series that will capture the aura of wonders like Niagara Falls. Still, executives know it would be a mistake to disregard their signature green and black pinstripe version. Like Cross, they recognize that a big part of a fountain pen’s allure does lie in the fact that it reflects a different age. Greenberg is hopeful this nostalgia will include a renewed interest in giving luxury pens as special gifts at milestone occasions. “Pens used to be the best gift in the world. Today people reserve that for electronics and clothing,” he notes. “But as fountain pens become visually exciting again, that familiar oblong box should again project a classy gift.”
The Cross Century II 23-karat gold plated fountain pen.
Image courtesy of A.T. Cross Company
And while the operational system may remain old-fashioned, the visual impact of today’s fountain pens are moving light-years ahead of our grandparents’ writing instruments. These days, most owners consider their fountain pens moving works of art. Japanese sensibilities are a strong influence in this market, with men preferring the simplicity that Asian designs offer. Sailor’s model King of Pens Urushi, for example, is at first glance a plain
molding machines that can kick out millions of pens each day. Most of the fine pens in the world have fittings made from either vermeil, a sterling silver gilt, or solid gold. Those precious metals can also decorate the barrel (some brands boast diamond encrusted designs) although paintings seem to be the more popular direction in 2007, perhaps because of the wide range of individuality they can represent. For instance, A.T. Cross Company launches seasonal stories several times a year: geometric pop art designs or garden gala celebrations using the heat transfer sublimation process to print their eye-catching patterns. Still, its upper end line, the Century II, harks back to the slender, gold pen that denoted class in
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Modern Muses The changing face of contemporary sculpture By Kirsten Ott
Image courtesy of Jim Budish
Nearly a century ago, Pablo Picasso used little more than bits of cardboard, string, wire, and sometimes metal to depict guitars. The Spanish artist changed conventional views of what sculpture should be. The days of Greco-Roman portrait sculptures and Gothic reliefs faded with the 20th century. No longer were marble busts one of the few forms considered viable sculpture. Instead, abstract expressionism became a vehicle for sculptors to explore and challenge concepts and forms. Since the early days of Modernism, a coterie of artists have been born and educated with the knowledge that art is an aesthetic exploration that knows no boundaries. Sculpture doesn’t have to be plaster or stone; it can be metal, wood, foam, plastic, or found objects. The materialization of such realization encourages our modern-day artists, such as Jim Budish, Adrian Butash, Deborah Butterfield, Linda Fleming, and Roger Phillips, who make sculpture in decidedly abstract modes, transforming familiar notions of what their materials can say and what they mean.
“Horse V,” 2002, Jim Budish, cast bronze, 78 inches tall. Budish is photographed here riding “Horse V” with his arms in the air, a pose in homage to his hero, Italian sculptor Marino Marini.
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Image courtesy of Jim Budish
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“Chauncey,” Jim Budish, cast bronze.
Animalier sculptor Jim Budish draws his inspiration from life around him. His sculptures are whimsical in nature, usually depicting rabbits, horses, dogs, and moose. “I really am searching for something just marvelous,” he says. “Something life-astounding that I believe exists in all of us, an inner happiness. I find it more often than not in the animal world.” Budish has been sculpting his entire life, beginning his professional work 10 to 12 years ago. He sculpts in clay and casts the majority of his work in bronze, though he’s beginning to experiment with glass casting. He’s done pieces that have taken years to complete, but more commonly, he usually works between a week to several months on creating the original clay piece (maquette), and then the casting can take 12 weeks or longer, depending on the complexity. “Sometimes I’ll study my subject for months or longer and sketch them more in the classical, traditional fashion. Other times, I’ll see just a fleeting gesture that exists for 30 seconds and it leaves such an indelible mark in my mind that I may mold a sculpture from that.” Budish finds his subjects in the wild. “I view them in the field. … I used to sculpt very representationally. Early on, I made the determination that I didn’t want to create photographs in bronze. I really truly wanted to create what I saw as the essence of the personality of the piece I was sculpting. Just to capture that inner beauty, if you will.” Budish’s works range from 6-inch-tall pieces you can hold in the palm of your hand to those monumental in sizing. This fall, Budish installs larger-than-life bunnies in the “Chauncey” style at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado. Denver had always been home to Budish until he relocated his creative studio to Chicago/Highland Park, Illinois, about five years ago. Budish is often on the road, as he does all of his casting in Tucson, Arizona. His work is known worldwide; he has created installations all over the map, from England, Canada, and Mexico to Asia, Belgium, and Luxembourg. For Budish, sculpture is more open to change than in the past. “It gives us freedoms and flexibilities in creating that never in history have existed before. It causes me to be awe of those that preceded me. When you look at what they accomplished with incredibly limited
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Image courtesy of Greg Kucera Gallery, Inc., Seattle
“Hermit,” Deborah Butterfield, 2004, unique bronze with patina finish, 92.5 x 127 x 43 inches. tools, in comparison to what we have, I absolutely marvel at what those sculptors, even at the turn of the last century and back, what they accomplished with the tools that they had.” Budish finds inspiration in one particularly notable sculptor from the 20th century. “My hero is Marino Marini. He was prolific in the ’40s and ’50s, an Italian sculptor.” Budish pays tribute to Marini in one particular photograph in which Budish is riding his “Horse V” sculpture, his hands thrown up in the air. “There’s a very famous photo of Marini sitting on a donkey with his arms thrown up in the same manner. This is my homage to him.” For more than three decades, Deborah Butterfield has been sculpting life-size horses. During the years, she has varied in style and materials, from plaster over steel armature; to mud, clay, and sticks over metal armatures; to junk metal and industrial materials, such as barbed wire, pipes, and fencing; and most recently, since the late 1990s, she has cast her horses in bronze from models of wood and other organic materials.
All of Butterfield’s horses are mares, which she conceived from the first as symbolic self-portraits. “I first used the horse images as a metaphorical substitute for myself,” she says. “It was a way of doing a self-portrait one step removed from the specificity of Deborah Butterfield.” When Butterfield began making horses 30 years ago to express feminist and anti-war concerns, she found herself being encouraged by mentor Manual Neri. Over time, gender and politics have come to matter less, while her fervor for the animal fueled her on. Butterfield sculpts the original piece by piece by fastening logs, branches, sticks, planks, and boards onto an armature that gives the basic posture of the particular horse. After fashioning the horse out of wood and organic material, the piece is photographed from all sides and angles, particularly the areas where individual pieces are joined. These photos are used to reconstruct the various elements after casting. Butterfield has had numerous museum exhibitions from coast to coast, including the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Norton Museum of Art,
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Homage à Steinway
Homage à Mozart
New Piano Sculpture Creations from AdrianArts Unique copyrighted design combines the iconographic concert grand silhouette with an undulating profile. A sculpture concept that simultaneously depicts the piano instrument and the musical sound waves it produces. Colorful painted keyboard themes honor pianists, composers and music. Sound wave amplitude profile
Attention Art Collectors, Art Galleries Music Lovers Everywhere Now commissioning sculptures in various materials in sizes 18" and 36" and large outdoor sculptures, 10' to 16' in bronze, stainless steel, marble and painted aluminum. Pre-publication orders now being accepted. Contact: Adrian Butash at www.AdrianArts.com or email email@example.com.
Sculpture design ©2007 Adrian Butash. There is no business relationship between AdrianArts and Steinway & Sons.
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Image courtesy of Adrian Butash
“Homage à Steinway – Opus 1,” Adrian Butash, 2007, polychrome and painted aluminum, 36 inches tall.
the San Diego Museum of Art, the Bellevue Art Museum, the Dallas Museum of Arts, and the Seattle Art Museum. She also is sometimes commissioned for large public outdoor works. Her sculptures are deeply moving, but Butterfield, who works on her equine sculptures in her Montana studio, says, “My work is not so overtly about movement. My horses’ gestures are really quite quiet, because real horses move so much better than I could pretend to make things move. For the pieces I make, the gesture is really more within the body; it’s like an internalized gesture, which is more about the content, the state of mind or of being at a given instant. And so it’s more like a painting ... the gesture and the movement is all pretty much contained within the body.” Butterfield has an intimate connection to the residents of her Montana ranch stables, and it shows in her art. Natural depiction and realism does not interest her, though the spirit of her work recalls the bronze broncos of turn-of-the-century sculptor Frederic Remington. In the history of equine art, the noble creatures have traditionally been depicted with nostrils flared, bucking wildly, or serving in work, hunt, and war. Contrastingly, her peaceful horses are without reins, fury, and unbridled passion, but instead spiritually restful. Adrian Butash, a New Yorker now living in California, is creating a myriad of piano-inspired sculptures collectively entitled “Opus.” “There are very few piano sculptures in the art world,” says Butash. “The sculpture is a dual composite aesthetic statement: a piano
and the visualization of the sound a piano makes. A piano is a stringed instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. A vibration in a piano string is an actual wave form. Vibrating strings are the basis of the sound produced and are characterized by the action of a sound wave whose properties are frequency, wavelength, amplitude, and velocity.” Of “Opus,” Butash says, “Musically, the two views in one also make the statement about the affinity of classical and contemporary music, namely, a celebration of the joys of all piano music, and the many musical legends that have made life so worthwhile. The wood of the sculpture grounds man and music in nature, and is the material that pianos have always been made in to this date, since it was created in the medium of all pianos.” Production of the sculptures is still in the early stages of design, but Butash has already mapped out the road to success for “Opus.” “The sculptures will be commissioned around the world over the next year for specific venues that range from large pieces [18 feet in bronze, stainless steel, and marble] for art parks, corporate campuses, and music venues [concert and opera halls, university campuses, and art museums],” he says. “Smaller works [36 inches to 6 feet] will be commissioned for art museums, private collectors, and schools, in bronze, stainless steel, marble, aluminum, and colored acrylic. These will be sold as limited editions. A small 10-inch lead crystal version will be produced as awards to important people in music: legendary living performers, music-school teachers
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SARA GREENSPAN SCULPTURE
“DOLPHIN RIDER” Bronze, 24"
“WATER NYMPH” Bronze, 30"
“RETREAT” Bronze, 17"
Galerie Michelangelo Caesars Palace Hotel, Las Vegas 702.796.5001
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Courtesy of Linda Durham Contemporary Art; Santa Fe, New Mexico
Top: “Cloak of the Motion,” Linda Fleming, 1993, fabricated steel, 92 x 132 x 132 inches. Bottom: “Green Lace,” Linda Fleming, 2004, steel and enamel, 31 x 59.5 x 59.5 inches.
and students, and for corporate executive excellence awards.” Butash’s piano sculptures, the first of which is entitled “Homage à Steinway – Opus 1,” are currently available for private purchase through the Web site www.adrianarts.com, with delivery of the first sculptures – limited editions – early next year. His creative background lends itself to artistic sensibilities. “I have been an artist and designer since my teens. For 30 years, I have been a writer, creative director, marketing professional for Fortune 500 corporations.” He also has authored a book, out this fall, Bless This Food: Ancient & Contemporary Graces from Around the World, (New World Library), and has produced films and television shows. The former gallery director (Knoedler & Co., New York) approached Steinway & Sons for the “Opus” project. “Many years ago, out of curiosity, I visited the Steinway factory in Astoria and was given a tour. My visit was social, not business. As I was leaving, I asked for a pattern of the Steinway Concert D piano. The shape intrigued me. The company kindly gave me a full-scale paper pattern. I lived with that shape in my mind for several years and then decided to design some piano sculpture sketches and wood samples. The master design, which is now copyrighted, grew out of a creative mélange of music and design that was subjectively stewing in my mind for many, many years.” Over time, sculpture has evolved in perspective, though California-based artist Linda Fleming continues to use age-old scientific, mechanical wonderments to craft complex constructions in steel, wood, glass, bronze, and aluminum. Her work reflects her fascination with structure and mechanics. “My works hint at the coexistence of the mundane and the cosmological to create a place where two realities simultaneously exist, including the possibility that the past is also present,” Fleming says. “The structures are diagrams of thought that provide a glimpse of the strangeness beyond the world to which we cling; opening a place where thought becomes tangible, history leaves a trace, and information exhales form.” These forms, Fleming’s abstract sculptures, can be seen at museum exhibitions, sculpture parks, and gallery shows across the country, from California to New York. As is often the case for large sculptures, Fleming’s work is frequently commissioned for public installations. She has pieces at the Oakland Museum in Oakland, Calfornia, Laumerier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, Missouri, at the state capitol in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and countless others. The artist has received numerous awards from prestigious institutions, such as the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Inc., in New York, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in New York, a Distinguished Faculty Award from the California College of Arts and Crafts (where she currently teaches) in Oakland, California, Art Matters (New York), and the Athena Foundation in Long Island City, New York. She counts notable artists among her friends, such as Mark di Suvero, an American abstract expressionist sculptor, and she
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Images courtesy of Roger Phillips
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helped to create Libre, a community of artists on 360 acres of land in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where she designed and built a 40-foot geodesic dome as studio and home. Her 1991 residency at La Vie des Formes, an artist residency founded by di Suvero, in Chalon-sur-Saone, France, led her to see Caesar’s stone bath being uncovered. The oculus shape began to appear in her sculpture, such as “Cloak of the Motion,” demonstrating that though contemporary sculpture is carving out its own path, the old still inspires the new. “Physical sensation and perception are interdependent and we sometimes wonder if what we are seeing is an indication of something outside of what we know or blood vessels coursing through our eyes,” says Fleming, whose work was on view earlier this fall at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art in “Refugium: Work from 1980 to 2007.” The exhibition brought together key works spanning three decades, focusing on the ephemeral made physical. Her sculptures, drawings, and maquettes were combined with objects from daily life to transform the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art into a contemplative space that reflected the inside of the mind and the way the world is seen through the filter of thought. “Material can never fully communicate thought, which makes these elaborate constructions more poignant in their attempt than they would ever be in their articulateness,” Fleming says. Roger Phillips was born in New York City. He was educated as a metalsmith and has worked in metal every since. His studio/ workshop is located in Stuyvesant, New York – about 100 miles north of New York City. A constructivist, Phillips’ work is primarily kinetic, made of stainless steel and brightly painted aluminum. Many pieces are commissioned for specific outdoor sites, and maquettes for some of Phillips’ sculptures have been replicated in small editions. His work has been shown at galleries across the country and across the pond in Salisbury, England. Phillips creates freestanding painted aluminum-and-stainlesssteel sculptures and has always been fascinated by grids and repetition. “They have a sacred quality,” he says. “I think they echo the most fundamental aspect of life: the ability of nature to replicate itself and create order.” In his kinetic works, Phillips creates a contrast between the rigidity of the frame and the fluidity of the moving elements. Each moving part, flat geometric shapes such as yellow squares, white disks, or red triangles, is attached to its armature in two places and can turn on a vertical axis. When the parts revolve, their shiny painted surfaces reflect their surroundings. “In my non-kinetic work, the grids are obvious,” he says. “In the kinetic pieces, the rigid stainless steel frame is minimally grid-like. It is a strong environment whose existence allows the discs, squares, or triangles to move in their own orbit. They are not totally free. They are free within limits, as are we all. My work is never created to illustrate anything. I simply try to make something beautiful. The insight comes afterwards. That is the way I would like the viewer to see it.” Whether they work in steel, marble, clay, bronze, aluminum, plaster, or recycled plastic, extracting forms from their materials or building up new shapes, these artists, in their own ways, have redefined what sculpture can be, and what it may express. Their efforts have historic precedents, but as a rule, these experimenters tend to look toward their next discoveries more than they look back, thus the constantly evolving process that many artists abide by, allowing their ideas to take compelling, abstract form.
Top: “Three Yellow Squares Diagonally,” Roger Phillips, 2004, stainless steel and painted stainless steel, 75 x 38 x 23 inches. Bottom: “Open Disc in Circle,” Roger Phillips, 2004, stainless steel and painted aluminum, 76 x 66 x 19 inches.
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FUTURE WISE A Guide to Building and Protecting Funds for Your Future and Planning for the Distribution of Your Estate By Carol Oldham O’Hara
Have you heard? People spend more time planning their vacations than planning their economic futures and the eventual distribution of their assets. Certainly it’s more fun to figure out a fling than to spend hours fretting over our later years. Yet making certain we’re financially fit for our retirement and that our assets are conserved and passed down according to our wishes is one of our most valuable investments of time. It’s intriguing learning the great number of ways to create and protect funds for the future and to properly hand down excess assets. However, this article can’t address every situation, every investment, or every way to distribute your excess wealth. Rather, it’s a guide you may refer to as you follow your own thoughts and feelings on ways to live well once you’ve found retirement. It may also be helpful as you choose methods for the eventual distribution of property and cash to people, institutions, or charities of your choosing. Building assets can be exciting or unsettling, depending upon the investment avenues you choose and those whom you select as professional advisors. Thus a first consideration should be the credentials of your estate planner and your attorney, who can be one and the same.
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If you don’t have a counselor, look for someone who is a licensed estate planner with several years of experience in the field. Find out whether or not he or she is a member of the American Bar Association and has state bar certification, if that is a requirement of your state. That person should possess adequate professional liability insurance, offer a free initial consultation, be involved in continuing education classes, and be very clear as to a fee structure right at the beginning. Personality also plays a role. You need someone with whom you can develop rapport to help you establish your needs and objectives – someone who’ll design and implement the right plan for you, then draw the documents you’ll need as you reach for your goal. Ask colleagues and trusted friends for recommendations and interview more than one potential advisor, making certain you select someone with whom you can work well. Don’t be afraid to change advisors, should you become dissatisfied with that person’s service to you. No two personal situations are alike and everyone has individual investment ideas, yet there are basic thoughts for investment diversification, aside from various company pension and retirement plans like 401(k)s – all present household words. Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., a well-known investment firm, offers on its Web site models for asset allocation based upon your risk level and ranging from conservative to aggressive. Charles Schwab’s conservative strategy suggests holding 50 percent of your assets in different types of bonds, 30 percent in cash (such as CDs), 15 percent in large-cap stocks (companies with a credible history and a market value of more than $10 billion), and 5 percent in individualized foreign investments. On the other end of the spectrum, the company’s suggestion for high risk takers, which often offer a higher rate of return, is to invest 50 percent in large-cap stocks, 20 percent in small-cap stocks (newer companies with a market value of less than $1.5 billion), 5 percent in foreign offerings, and 5 percent in some form of safe cash holdings. Other types of investments are available to help you create a comfortable retirement. Among them are individual real estate holdings and real estate investment trusts (REITS). REITS are investment opportunities created by Congress in 1960 to allow individuals to make small investments in professionally managed large-scale income producing properties including shopping malls and apartment buildings. You can also look at annuities – usually purchased from life insurance companies and often tailored to offer you the option of converting a portion of your savings into an income stream guaranteed to last throughout your lifetime. Besides the structure of these retirement tools, you’ll want to look at annuities’ safety and management fees. While traveling toward your target retirement portfolio, avoid any “get rich quick” offers, some-
times referred to as “Ponzi Schemes,” now making an unscrupulous comeback in many forms via the Internet. These schemes take their name from Charles Ponzi, a 1920s Italian immigrant and later a Boston-based crook, who swindled nearly 40,000 investors by taking new money to pay earlier investors – a “rob Peter to pay Paul” system. History notes those who trusted him received less than 30 cents on the dollar, and at least six banks closed their doors when his deviousness was uncovered. By far, the better way is to steadily work your way toward the goals you envision for yourself and your family, investigating investments in which you’re interested before you leap forward so you won’t be monetarily damaged. As your portfolio grows, keep track of the ups and downs of your money. After an ever-so-hectic day, it’s too easy to crawl into bed at night without checking the Web or calling your advisor to see how well your wealth is building. Remember, too, you may want to change your investing habits as your life situations change. Children grow up, new or midlife marriages fail, and doors close to lifetime marriages because one partner is left to live out his or her life alone. Each event may necessitate a change in your investment plan. While you’re reaching for your pot of gold, watch for ways to protect your investments from the unexpected curves life tosses all too frequently. One sudden disaster can wither your wealth to zero. To this end, insurance companies sell umbrella policies to help protect your assets. Medical professionals are well aware of malpractice insurance, and if you’re a business owner, you can create a limited liability company, allowing you to separate
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i n v esT m en Ts
often have nothing to do with money.
Stock indexes and asset allocations are one thing. But in the end, what really matters are the investments we make in the lives of those around us. At the Private Client Group, we help you manage, grow and preserve your wealth, so you can provide for those you care about most. We offer strategies and solutions for personal trusts, estate administration and charitable giving to ensure you leave your legacy and reach your personal goals – ones that enrich and enhance your life and the lives of those around you. To experience the Private Client Group, please call 1.800.628.8151.
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the profits and losses of your business from your personal assets, making it impossible for creditors to take your home, your car, or any other private assets. If you have a business partnership, consider a buyout agreement, and it might be appropriate to form a limited liability partnership, which protects you from the negligent acts of your other partners or from any employees not under your direct control. In a number of states this structuring protection is only available to professionals – most notably accountants, architects, attorneys, and those in the medical profession. Family limited partnerships come into play to hold a family business and/or its investments. They must be used properly, which includes among other necessities, funding them correctly and following their operating agreements, to be beneficial tools for estate and asset protection. Two other asset protection possibilities are an offshore asset protection trust or a domestic asset protection trust (DAPT). If you move some of your assets to an offshore locale, you do so with U.S. government sanction, and you receive some personal privacy and asset protection from former spouses or business clients, to name two examples. DAPTs are similar to offshore asset protection trusts, yet they are not held in as high esteem. DAPTs are most appropriate if you live in a state that allows them – Nevada, Delaware, or Alaska, to name three – if you keep all your assets in one of those states, and if you comply with other necessary laws, which should be explained by your attorney. These two trusts are not tax-evasion tools. All U.S. citizens must declare and pay appropriate taxes on all their holdings wherever they are in the world. You have more asset protection options, including long-term care insurance – to help defray nursing home expenses – and life insurance policies. Both bear looking into. Whichever ones you select, obtain professional advice to reassure yourself you’re making right choices in this arena. As you mark the years, months, and days to retirement – when leisure hours will let you whisk a grandchild to Dublin; cruise the Danube on a music-filled riverboat; see New York City, where, in 1853, Steinway & Sons was founded; visit Hamburg, where Steinway & Sons’ European factory opened in 1880; or immerse yourself in the timeless compositions of master artists pouring forth from your own home’s personal music system – remember to plan for the time when your heirs will receive their share of the benefits of your lifetime achievements. It’s hard to believe: Not everyone has a will or a trust. Some do not have a durable power of attorney for health care, describing their wishes for life or death should they become physically incapacitated. Many haven’t considered a durable power of attorney in the event they cannot handle their own
affairs for physical or mental reasons. Others don’t have the beneficiaries of their pension or retirement plans and insurance policies up-to-date. A majority have not made final burial arrangements or provided for funeral expenses. Too many have not written a letter of instructions for funeral arrangements and information regarding the location of important documents and the names of people to contact when death occurs. A letter like this, given to someone who is trustworthy, or left where it can easily be found, saves immeasurable worry and headaches for those making your final arrangements and caring for your estate. When planning for distribution of your unspent assets, consider every available option, choosing carefully with your attorney’s advice those right for you. Trusts are a common vehicle for distribution of your estate without that lengthy, expensive judicial probate process that gives a district court power to determine who receives ownership to your property. However, if you prefer not to have a trust created, it’s possible to avoid probate without one. First and foremost you need a will, which negates any possibility of your state distributing your assets or determining guardianship of minor children. Further, you’ll usually avoid probate by naming beneficiaries for your life insurance,
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retirement and pension plans, stocks and bonds, and bank accounts. Banks have forms you fill out, naming whomever you wish as recipient of your money upon your death. Until then, it’s your money, no one else’s. If you live in one of the community property states, including Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, you and your spouse may hold property as “joint tenancy with right of survivorship.” In that instance, it will pass immediately to the surviving spouse, unless both spouses die simultaneously. Other states vary in their statutes regarding property holdings. Thus it’s a good idea to know your state’s laws, so you can properly structure the titling of your assets and estate planning documents. At the present time, a trust seems the best way to hold your assets. If drawn correctly, it virtually ensures safe, private, and quick distribution of your estate as you desire. You’ll find a number of trusts, each serving a different and important purpose. Perhaps the most common is the family revocable trust. In this instance, your assets are owned by the trust, yet you have full control to use and manage them as you see fit for as long as you live. You can amend this
trust and change beneficiaries should you have the need or the desire, and you name trustees to carry out the instructions of the trust, which can also include guardianship of any minor children. Proper follow-through to the creation of this trust is a “pour-over will,” designed to catch at your death most property intentionally or inadvertently left out of the trust, enabling it to be distributed as a part of the trust. Spouses, to minimize tax issues, often use an “AB trust” whereby their assets are divided, with each spouse leaving his or her half to this trust. The surviving spouse can use the other’s assets, but he or she doesn’t own them outright. Thus, when the second spouse passes, the property owned by the first one to die is not liable for federal tax, because the second spouse didn’t own it. This trust is valuable for couples with large estates. If you own highly appreciated real estate, investigate private annuity trusts (PATs) to soften the blow of capital gains taxes and fatten your retirement wallet for your lifetime. This document lets you transfer property you own into a trust before selling it. The trust sells your property, then, based upon the Internal Revenue Life Expectancy Chart, pays you funds in regular installments from the sale
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for the remainder of your life. PATs allow you, as a seller, to pay any capital gains each year based upon the annual income received from the trust, as opposed to paying the gains immediately upon the sale of your real estate. Legacy trusts are interesting vehicles that serve as wealth-protectors for children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. This irrevocable trust, used by some of America’s most affluent families including the Kennedys and the Rockefellers, allows you to create a second protected estate, for it removes a portion of your assets from your estate, keeping them from creditors and the IRS. You fund it through annual gifts, and it’s managed by trustees that you select. Its assets can pass tax-free through as many as three generations, and it can remain in force through the lifetime of the youngest beneficiary, plus 21 years, which could total more than 80 years. You can create a special needs trust specifically to care for a child or other family member when you are no longer able to do so. Leaving money or property to a disabled person without benefit of this trust could jeopardize any benefits, such as Medicaid or supplemental Social Security, he or she receives. But with this type of trust, you can leave any amount of money you choose – for almost any reason, including homes and vacations – to your special needs person without financial damage to him or her since the money is left to the trust, not directly to the person. A personal letter to the trustee noting information about the recipient, as well as a formal letter to the trustee clearly explaining that person’s role in carrying out your requests, are valuable adjuncts to this document. Create a spendthrift trust if you wish to leave an inheritance to someone who has no conception of money management. This is an irrevocable trust, exempt from creditors, except for the monthly income the heir receives from it. It’s completely legal and a comforting way of knowing that person will have funds on a regular basis as long as he or she lives, or until the trust funds have been fully used. Consider a charitable remainder trust or a charitable lead trust if your desire is to leave money to charity. A charitable remainder trust is an irrevocable trust whereby you receive an immediate tax deduction and a lifetime income – usually from the earnings of the principal amount – for you or for a designated beneficiary. Eventually, when your life or your beneficiary’s life is over, the remaining funds go to the charity you have chosen. With a charitable lead trust, the opposite is true. The charity receives tax-deductible income from the principal until the trust terminates, at which time the full principal returns to you or to your estate. Lastly, consider giving a one-of-a-kind gift through the creation of an “ethical will” – a letter you write to those close to you whom you’ll leave behind. Within its pages, impart your personal values and beliefs, the lessons life taught you, your spiritual feelings, and your hopes and dreams for the family members who mean so much to you. For most, it’ll mean more than the gifts of cash or property they’ll receive. As one who has spent a great number of hours expending effort becoming “future wise” both for my leisure years and for my heirs, I’ve discovered peace of mind. No doubt you’re planning well also, and because you are, you know you’re securing your future – and you know, too, your heirs will gratefully receive your gifts as you intended.
Estate-planning Resources You’ll find a plethora of information on wealth-building, conserving assets, and creating your estate plan on the Web and in books and periodicals. As you read, note the Web and the publication dates. Much information is timeless. Much is time-sensitive. Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., a tried and true investment firm, offers easy to understand financial information on investing and estate planning. Visit them at www.schwab.com or telephone 866-232-9890. Nolo Press, Berkeley, California, specializes in legal concerns of all types. They offer in-depth information, books, software programs, and names of competent estate-planning attorneys in many states for all legal matters. Peruse their site at www.nolopress.com or telephone 800-728-3555. Chris Riser, current chair of the American Bar Association’s Asset Protection Committee, and Jay Adkisson, expert witness to the United States Senate Finance Committee, have a top Web site (www.assetprotectionbook.com) or you can call 888-359-8851. Their book, Asset Protection: Concepts and Strategies (McGraw Hill, 2004), is the all-time best-selling book on asset protection.
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Part of Life Fractional ownership allows you to live like the super rich By Laura Spinale
You know what they say about fractional ownership? It’s a purchase that allows moderately rich people to live like really rich people. The concept was pioneered in the mid-1980s by the Woodbridge, New Jersey-based NetJets. Faced with the daunting costs of owning, maintaining, and staffing private jets, corporations, with NetJets’ encouragement, turned away from buying private planes. Instead, they began purchasing shares of NetJets’ private planes. Each share guaranteed the purchaser a particular amount of flight time. NetJets, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, sold the shares, maintained the airplanes, staffed them, and otherwise assumed the innumerable headaches that come with jet ownership. Corporate honchos got hassle-free flying, at only a fraction of the cost of outright ownership.
NetJets’ Hawker 400XP is an ideal entry-level business jet. As the fastest jet in its class, it guarantees to save time on long trips.
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The fractional ownership concept proved so popular that a handful of other companies arose in the United States to allow the friendly skies to be flown privately (Flexjet, CitationShares, and NetJets all operate today). Fractional ownership of aircraft expanded from the corporate realm into the consumer realm. NetJets and other companies found a new market in folks who’d just rather take a private plane for their Hamptons getaway. Slowly, the concept expanded to other means of transportation: yachts, luxury coaches, and limousines. As everyday consumers, or at least wealthy everyday consumers, began to accept fractional ownership, this purchase option grew in popularity for products and services beyond the transportation realm. Today, fractional ownership opportunities can be found in the fields of luxury real estate (especially in real estate situated in warm, exotic locales). You can even buy shares in such unexpected items as fine art and luxury handbags. Still, a private plane would be nice.
The Term, the Perks, and the Pitfalls Let’s examine fractional ownership and understand how some companies touting “fractional ownership” are actually asking you to rent a product. Industry pioneer NetJets offers a true fractional ownership model for investment in its planes. You buy as little as a 1/16th share, or as large as a onehalf share, in an aircraft. Your investment goes into an actual, specific plane: something with a serial number. (As of this writing, prices start at $412,500 for a 1/16th interest in a Hawker 400XP, plus associated fees.) For that investment, NetJets guarantees you 50 hours’ flying time per year. You have access to your NetJets plane 24 hours a day, 365 days each year. (If your plane is in use by another owner, NetJets flies you on a comparable aircraft in its fleet.) You agree to maintain your ownership for a set period of time, two to three years, depending on the type of plane you purchase. At the end of that time, your share is yours to sell. NetJets will even buy it back. (Keep in mind that airplanes, like cars, depreciate over time.) This is a fractional ownership model in the aviation industry. To understand fractional ownership in the real estate industry, look at Ritz-Carlton. Introduced in 1999, the Ritz-Carlton Club now boasts more than 3,000 members. These homeowners enjoy true fractional ownership of vacation
Top right: The Falcon 2000EX, offered by NetJets, is one of the most popular large cabin jets with ample headroom and passenger seating space. Right: NetJets’ Hawker 400XP’s luxurious interior seats up to eight passengers in its roomy cabin.
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Image courtesy of Flexjet
Flexjet offers the newly redesigned Bombardier Challenger 605 with a cutting-edge cabin entertainment system that includes XM Radio, enhanced AIRBORNETM Office, DIRECTVTM, and audio/video-on-demand.
properties. Typically, owners buy a 1/12th share in a vacation property, allowing them roughly 28 days’ use of that property each year. (This differs from the time-share model in which consumers buy not a portion of a property, but time in the property.) Prices range from the low $100,000s to more than $800,000, along with associated fees, depending on the size of the property and its location. Each owner’s share is deeded. He or she may sell the share, transfer the share, or will the share as part of an estate. Both Ritz-Carlton and NetJets rightly call their buying plans fractional ownership. However, the term “fractional ownership” is often tossed around in the media to describe products or services offered on a rental basis. Take, for example, Marquis Jet. It’s a terrific company, but its programs are sometimes mislabeled as fractional ownership (although not, it needs to be said, by Marquis Jet itself). Through its exclusive alliance with NetJets, Marquis Jet offers companies and individuals time on NetJets’ private-aviation aircraft. Time is sold in 25-hour increments, starting at about $119,000 per year. It’s a great way to fly, but people holding Marquis Jet cards do not have any ownership interest the aircraft they’re using. It’s an important distinction to make. NetJets owners can sell their share in their aircraft. Marquis Jet customers have no share to sell.
The distinction between fractional ownership and rental program becomes more important as fractional ownership gains in popularity. The Web site www. fractionallife.com, links to what it calls fractional ownership programs, covering everything from aviation to art, handbags to classic cars. However, many of the companies listed on that site are in essence renting their goods, or encouraging the consumer to join clubs that allow them use of certain products, without any actual share in them. You may think it’s a great deal to have a month’s use of a Gucci or Rosiblu handbag for $175 (available through Bag Borrow Or Steal, www.bagborroworsteal.com); just know you don’t actually have any ownership of the purse. While generally laudatory, the financial press has levied certain criticism against fractional ownership programs, particularly in the field of fractional home ownership. The numbers, it seems, don’t always add up. Consider this hypothetical scenario. A company is selling 1/15th shares in a vacation villa that would sell for $2 million on the open market. Each owner pays $147,000 for his or her share. Together, these 15 owners have paid a total of $2.205 million, plus a host of fees, for a $2 million home. Perhaps because of this, would-be buyers often find it difficult to obtain a mortgage for their fractional ownership homes.
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© 2007 NetJets Inc. All rights reserved. NetJets Inc. is a Berkshire Hathaway company. NetJets and Executive Jet Management are registered trademarks. The Marquis Jet Card is a registered service mark.
7,000 EMPLOYEES 700 AIRCRAFT AND GROWING 15 AIRCRAFT TYPES 2 GLOBAL OPERATING CENTERS 370,000 FLIGHTS ANNUALLY 220,000,000 MILES FLOWN ANNUALLY 150 COUNTRIES VISITED 2,400 AIRPORTS VISITED 40,000 UNIQUE CITY PAIRS 4 HOUR MINIMUM NOTICE 24 HOURS A DAY 7 DAYS A WEEK 365 DAYS A YEAR ONLY NETJETS HAS THE GLOBAL INFRASTRUCTURE TO FLY YOU VIRTUALLY ANYWHERE YOU WANT, ANYTIME YOU WANT.
MOST EXPERIENCE | MARKET LEADER | WORLD’S LARGEST FLEET | MOST AIRCRAFT TYPES | HIGHEST SAFETY STANDARDS | SUPERIOR OWNERSHIP EXPERIENCE | GLOBAL OPERATIONS | A BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY COMPANY
NETJETS FRACTIONAL JET OWNERSHIP PROGRAMS
THE MARQUIS JET CARD
EXECUTIVE JET MANAGEMENT
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Keys to the Collection
Photo courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Club
Those are some of the pitfalls to fractional ownership programs. Now let’s look at a host of benefits.
The Skies are Friendly Again Some consumers and corporations by now may be wondering why they should invest in fractional ownership or private-aviation rental programs rather than just flying first class. Well, there’s the luxury factor and the convenience factor. If you need to get from Manhattan to Boise on the spur of the moment, none of the carriers flying out of John F. Kennedy Airport may be able to accommodate you. Even if they can, lastminute business travel on commercial airlines often means ponying up exorbitant fees for reservations. Limited space and, it seems, unlimited noise, make working in the commercial air difficult. And forget about collaboration: If you’re traveling from Orlando to Philadelphia, no commercial airliner is likely to stop to pick up your colleague in Atlanta so the two of you can work out the details of the big presentation. The loss of the Concorde makes trans-Atlantic flights particularly hard to take. Private aviation puts these hassles to bed. The commute to the airport is quicker: Typically, you travel down uncrowded roads to smaller airparks with ample parking. You don’t have to stand in seemingly endless check-in lines. Multiple stops are allowed – just in case you need to pick up that colleague. You have more than enough room, privacy, and technical support to work en route. And forget the seemingly endless security checks mandated by commercial airliners in the wake of September 11. Concurrently, the allure of outright ownership has begun to lose some of its sparkle. Everyone wants the experience of traveling in style. Far fewer want the hassles of outright ownership (staffing the plane, overseeing its upkeep, etc.). And many corporations and individuals understand that just having money is no excuse to waste money. If you’re only going to log 25, 50, or even 100 hours of air time each year, it may not make fiscal sense to buy a $40 million plane outright. NetJets has proven a godsend to some corporations and individuals. It is still the standard bearer of private-aviation fractional ownership, although several other corporations operating in the industry – including Flexjet and CitationShares – are also well respected. It may not be too far off to say that the increasing popularity of NetJets signals the increasing popularity of fractional ownership programs as a whole. The company in July ordered 96 new planes from Cessna, at a cost of $1 billion. NetJets’ revenues have increased nearly 600 percent since 1998. In Europe, the company garnered 589 new customers in 2005 and 2006. Its 694-aircraft fleet consists of Cessnas, Hawkers, Gulfstreams, and Boeing business jets, among
Home away from home, the Ritz-Carlton Club & Spa in Jupiter Beach, Florida, offers to stock the kitchen and bar with refreshments; unpack, launder, and press your vacation wardrobe; and decorate the Club home with personal photographs and mementos. others. Together, these planes offer light cabins, midsize cabins, and large cabins. The company has operations in the United States, Europe, and the Far East, and flies to more than 150 countries. A full 25 percent of its customers are individuals, rather than corporations. NetJets’ owners pay for the privilege of fractional ownership. Fifty hours’ flight time each year starts at $412,500, and owners incur additional acquisition fees, monthly management fees, occupied hourly fees (fuel, maintenance, catering, landing fees), and miscellaneous fees (taxes, fuel surcharges, etc.). For those traveling less than 50 hours each year, the much-publicized alliance between Marquis Jet and NetJets may prove a better choice. Marquis Jet is a pioneer in the realm of jet cards. You pay between $119,900 and $399,000 per year, depending on the type of aircraft selected, not so much for the card itself as for the fact that it entitles you to 25 hours private air time on NetJets aircraft. (Again, you do not actually own a share in the plane.) Marquis Jet offers its clients guaranteed
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availability, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If the type of plane you’ve paid to fly is already in use, you receive an automatic upgrade. (A new type of program, called the Combination Card, gives you 12.5 hours in each of two types of planes.) Planes include: • Cessna Citation X, billed as the world’s fastest business jet; • Gulfstream 200, known for having a particularly roomy interior for a smaller plane; • Falcon 2000 and 2000EX, which boasts non-stop coast-to-coast range; and • Gulfstream 400/450, considered the world’s premiere large-cabin jet. For a rental fee above $399,000, you may also choose to travel in the Gulfstream 550, considered by many to be the best ultra-long-range business jet in the world. In describing Marquis Jet’s appeal, Ken Austin, the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said, “Commercial aviation has become a harrowing experience: the long lines, the flight delays. People who value their time don’t want to be aggravated. At Marquis Jets, we’ve helped to make private aviation a reality for the common wealthy, not just the billionaires.” As people work longer than every before, these quality-of-life issues prove increasingly important. Marquis Jet customers, for example, are able to choose the airport from which they want to fly, and the time between entering the plane and takeoff seldom runs more than 10 minutes. In smaller airports, you can drive right out to the tarmac, and a Marquis Jet staffer will park your car for you, and ready it for your pickup once you land.
When You Land
Image courtesy of Marquis Jet
As comfy as private aviation is, you can’t stay in the skies forever. Fractional ownership is also becoming hot in the second-home market. While fractional ownership homes are available from foreign companies, in locales as exotic and diverse as Mallorca and Marrakech, Switzerland and Southern France, many buyers may be interested in starting with companies they know. Ritz-Carlton both offers an increasingly popular fractional ownership program. The fractional ownership programs themselves offer many of the same perks as those offered in the aviation industry. Consumers who may want a vacation home often simply don’t want ongoing maintenance hassles. Also, some consumers question the financial wisdom of paying for a place at their disposal 52 weeks a year that they only use two or three weeks a year. Often, these same consumers are often leery of the time-share concept. In buying a time-share, you typically purchase the right to use a property (or family of properties) for a number of weeks each year. In a fractional ownership program, you enjoy the right to use a property for a set number of weeks each year. You also own a share of the bricks-and-mortar structure itself. Organizations such as the Ritz-Carlton Club further entice fractional homebuyers with hotel-like amenities that you couldn’t expect in a traditional vacation home. Your own personal cabin in the mountains probably doesn’t offer concierge service. There’s probably no one there to stock the fridge before your arrival, or plan out a vacation itinerary for you. For prices ranging from the low $100,000s to more than $800,000 (depending on the home size and location) Ritz-Carlton Club homeowners typically enjoy about 28 days each year in their residences. Time of residence is allocated on a rotating basis. This means that, at some point, you’re going to spend your Colorado vacation in May, not exactly prime ski season. (This is why fractional ownership opportunities abroad are almost always located in warm climates, places where there is no true off-season.) A typical Ritz-Carlton Club consists of 40 to 80 residences, situated in prime vacation areas. A limited reciprocal agreement also exists with
47 Park Street by Marriott Grand Residence Club, a building consisting of 49 one- and two-bedroom apartments in the Mayfair section of London. (More generous reciprocal agreements exist among Ritz-Carlton Clubs.) Club members also enjoy special privileges at Ritz-Carlton hotels, including, with appropriate advance notice, up to 30 percent off the hotels’ lowest published rates. At the time of this writing, Ritz-Carlton operates four clubs: • Ritz-Carlton Club St. Thomas is situated on its own half-mile stretch of beach, surrounded by tropical forests. All residences boast an ocean view. • At the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa, situated in Jupiter Beach, Florida, owners enjoy an 18-hole course designed by Jack Nicklaus. • Two Colorado clubs, Aspen Highlands and Bachelor Gulch, offer ski-in, ski-out access. Additional clubs are planned for Kapalua Bay, Maui; Kauai Lagoons, Hawaii; North Lake Tahoe, California; San Francisco; and Miami’s South Beach. It’s more than glitzy locales, though, that lure Ritz-Carlton customers, according to Bob Philips, senior vice president of business development for the Ritz-Carlton Club. He describes Ritz-Carlton Club clientele as among the most affluent consumers in the United States: Most fractional homeowners have a net worth of $3 million to $5 million. Typically ages 45 and over, these professionals, business owners, and retirees want the luxury of a second home without the upkeep hassles. They also appreciate the Ritz-Carlton Club’s staff unpacking for them, and storing their clothing and belongings from year to year. Philips also believes club members want to “spend smart,” when investing in second homes: not paying for a 365-dayper-year commitment that they may use for only a week or two. Most of all, Philips said, club members want “a place where they feel pampered. A luxury space where they are known by the staff as they come back time after time. They want to know that they’ll be treated to the RitzCarlton level of service, in a more private and exclusive environment than they’d find at a hotel.” The desire for places to be used for family get-togethers, and travel security concerns in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks are also important to club members. The Ritz-Carlton Club, like other fractional ownership programs, offers stress-free pampering for those who can afford the good life. And they make the good life affordable to more people than ever before.
The Marquis Jet card, an alternative to fractional ownership, entitles clients to 25 hours of air time on NetJets aircraft 365 days a year.
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You can’t see it or hear it. But you can feel it. – DETAILS, SWISS MADE. –
A ﬂight is only as good as the sum of its parts. Like our personal service, our undivided attention to your every need – or something as simple as a smile. Take, for example, our SWISS Taste of Switzerland promotion, where on selected ﬂights we spoil our guests with the latest creations from Switzerland’s newest top chefs. Call 1-877-FLY SWISS, contact your local travel agent, or visit SWISS.COM to ﬁnd out more about all the things we do to make each and every ﬂight as comfortable as possible for our guests.
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Just Frank A collection of Sinatra photographs by Terry O’Neill
MILLENIA FINE ART Miami 1967 (cropped) 20” x 24” and 72” x 48” lambda print
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James Toseland Motorcycle Champion and Steinway Enthusiast By Michael A. Robinson
Photo courtesy of HANNspree Racing World
When heâ€™s not traveling to or competing in races, champion motorcycle racer James Toseland likes to spend quality time at the keys of his Steinway piano.
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For a champion motorcycle racer, what could sound more thrilling than a powerful bike as it roars down the raceway? Or the applause of the crowd as he stands there holding the winner’s trophy? James Toseland can answer both those questions with one word: Steinway. Indeed, the 26-year-old Brit who recently electrified a crowd of 126,000 with a double win near Kent, England, dreams of pursuing his passion for music when he finally hangs up his leathers and helmet. Of course, that isn’t likely to be any time soon. So, Toseland does the best he can: He plays every free moment he gets when he returns home from the race circuit. He performs about 25 gigs a year with a rock cover band he has played with for the past four years. And when he is alone with his 2003 concert grand Steinway, Toseland says he often returns to the classics. “I enjoy classical music because it is very relaxing after returning home from a busy weekend with the racing,” says Toseland, who rides for the team HANNspree Ten Kate Honda. “I enjoy playing the slower pieces like classical and ballads. “One of my favorites is ‘Le Lac de Come,’ but I also enjoy the rock and roll because it’s just really good fun to play with the band and entertain people when we have gigs. I give the band my schedule for the racing season and we fit in the gigs around that. “It’s very difficult racing in a world championship and trying to play consistently. So, no, I can’t say I play every day. Every time I go home, as soon as my suitcase hits the floor, the first thing I do is play the piano for half an hour to relax after a chaotic race weekend. I have played a lot of different pianos in my life and every time I sit down to play my Steinway, the tone and the feel of the piano are just amazing.” Toseland started playing when he was age 5 or 6, getting some pointers from a grandmother who played piano. A couple of years later he started formal lessons and dreamed of attending a music college with the hope of making a career out of music. He says he didn’t even know what a motorcycle was until he was 9 years old and his mom met a new boyfriend who rode a bike. He loved the machine and stuck with it. He also continued his piano lessons but downplayed that to his friends at high school and in the racing world because he was concerned he might lose street credibility with the motorcycle crowd. In fact, his sideline as a pianist remained largely private until 2003 when he acquired his Steinway. The BBC learned that Toseland was shopping for a Steinway and aired a segment on his search for a piano. And to think all this came about because of an Elton John video! As he recalls, that’s what he was watching at a raceway hospitality suite one fateful day in 2002. One of his sponsors came in to talk with him after the team had had a disappointing day on the track.
Seeing Toseland’s enthusiasm for the piano, the sponsor told the young racer he would buy him a piano if Toseland won a World Superbike race. The next year, Toseland did just that and found himself at a Steinway dealership a short time later shopping for his dream instrument. Not everyone reacted favorably to the BBC publicity, Toseland recalled in a recent e-mail interview during a break from racing in Germany. “It was quite difficult at the time because there is a reputation of a pianist and a reputation of a motorcycle racer and you couldn’t get two different personas,” Toseland says. “I’ll always remember a banner at Brands Hatch in 2003 that some bike fan took the time to make. It said, ‘[Neil] Hodgson is no pianist, he is World Champion.’ “Obviously that fan thought that, being a pianist, I was not aggressive enough to be capable of becoming world champion. Hodgson was the 2003 World Superbike Champion, but I was pleased to say I beat him in both races that day at Brands Hatch and I proved them wrong by claiming the title the following year. “I think everybody has two sides to them and these two disciplines reflect both sides of my personality. I am just fortunate that I am able to do both. It would be devastating if I injured myself racing and couldn’t play the piano, but I can’t think this way. I just have to get on with the job in hand. I appreciate it is a dangerous sport but the rewards are high.” Meanwhile, Toseland found a way to combine his love of the piano with motorcycling. He played in the Bennetts Bike Orchestra, billed as the first symphony orchestra composed of motorbikes. Bennetts, the UK’s leading motorcycle insurer, sponsored the orchestra to raise awareness of riders among car drivers in the hopes of reducing the collisions between cars and motorcycles that result in nearly 6,000 deaths in the UK each year. Stephen Montague, an internationally known composer and conductor, was commissioned to compose a piece of music for the orchestra that would incorporate the sounds of motorcycle engines. Montague has composed pieces for the London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic and also is a motorcycle enthusiast. He has toured much of Europe, Central and North America on motorbikes. Toseland says each of eight motorcycles is tuned to a different pitch and their riders performed with a piano and 12-piece orchestra. Toseland played the piano introduction. “This was quite an interesting project,” Toseland says, adding that Montague “did a great job” in composing the motorcycle piece. “It was difficult to learn a brand-new piece of music with no experience of playing with an orchestra before. But I really enjoyed the challenge.”
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Green with Luxury Hybrid Automobiles as Aspirational Vehicles By Jan Tegler Photos by Jan Tegler
Up to now, few consumers associate the term “aspirational” with hybrid vehicles. Hybrid cars as Americans have come to know them are exemplified by the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and Ford Escape Hybrid – relatively small (though not inexpensive) cars and SUVs that lack the cachet, style, and excitement that luxury cars usually combine. In short, few of us are green with envy when we see these hybrids rolling down the road. But a growing number of automakers are applying hybrid technology to vehicles consumers already recognize as aspirational. Just as the word is becoming a familiar part of the American lexicon, manufacturers hope to make hybrids a familiar part of the luxury car landscape. The luxury hybrid segment is, as yet, a small one. For 2008, consumers really have only two manufacturers to choose from for high flying hybrids: Toyota and General Motors. The world’s two largest automakers have embraced hybrid technology in greater measure than any of their competitors, boasting a combined five brands (Lexus, Toyota, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Saturn) that offer hybrid vehicles. We selected three of the most decadent – two from Lexus and one from Cadillac. Each of these vehicles proves that being green doesn’t have to
involve sacrifice. You can choose a vehicle others aspire to, a car that makes you green with luxury.
Lexus GS 450h As luck would have it, I had an errand to run that suited the world’s first rear-wheel-drive, high-performance hybrid to a tee. With some racing and ontrack testing to do this winter and beyond, it was about time I procured a new helmet. It’s a 45-minute trip from my pad to the local purveyor of racing supplies. In between, there’s residential territory to be navigated, a freeway romp, and finally, urban gridlock around the outer fringes of Baltimore to wade through. The combination would provide a good test for the GS 450h’s split personality.
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Opposite, above, and right: The Lexus GS 450h, part of the still-small luxury hybrid segment, combines performance and comfort, all in an ecofriendly, elegant package.
On one hand, this handsome 4,134-pound sedan is an eco-friendly citizen. Rated at 25 mpg city/28 mpg highway, the GS 450h is also classified as a Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV), green enough to please even California legislators. A high-output, permanent-magnet, electric-drive motor (PMEDM) aided by an ultra-lightweight boost converter sends power to the rear wheels via an Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT). Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes bolster the electric component of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system, charging the GS 450hâ€™s batteries through regenerative braking. The combination constitutes the fuel-saving/emissions-reducing part of the hybrid equation.
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Photos by Jan Tegler
On the other hand, the GS 450h has credentials that encourage the kind of spirited driving generally shunned by avid environmentalists. Its gasoline-powered 3.5-liter, four-cam, 24-valve V6 produces 297 hp. Teamed with the PMEDM, total system output is pegged at 340 hp. Lexus says this gives the GS 450h enough muscle to run to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds on the way to an electronically limited 131 mph top speed. That puts it at the sharper end of the performance sedan ranks in straight line performance. When the road bends, the GS 450h pushes back with standard Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS, with Normal or Sport setting, which increases shock-damping) and quickens or slows the sedan’s steering ratio in response to speed via its Variable Gear-Ratio Steering system (also standard). With the foregoing in mind, I stepped on the brake, pushed the green ringed (indicating system readiness) starter button, and floated silently out of my driveway. With gentle throttle input, the GS 450h will accelerate up to 15 mph on the PMEDM alone, perfect for stealthy getaways. Enter the highway and mash the gas – err, gas and electricity – and this buttoned-down four-door responds impressively. With both the V6 and PMEDM pulling simultaneously through the ECVT, one gets a magic carpet-like sensation when accelerating. The absence of the upshift-stutter conventional transmissions transmit exaggerates the feeling. Passing power is abundant. Prod the GS at 30 mph and 60 mph comes at you before you know it. With the AVS in Sport mode our black tester responded confidently in corners. It’s no sports car, but it will keep up with rivals in its class. Braking is similarly effective, stopping
The Lexus LS 600h L is the height of luxury among hybrid vehicles but also holds its own in the luxury sedan market.
the 2-ton sedan in a fine 123 feet. Pedal feel is consistent and progressive without the choppiness exhibited by braking systems on earlier generation hybrids. The isolation one feels in any luxury car is a bit heightened in the GS 450h. Combine the usual library-grade quietness common to all Lexus vehicles with the silent running (the gasoline engine shuts off at stoplights) capabilities common to hybrids and you have cabin-noise levels well below any other vehicle on the road. All the better to enjoy the extensive list of amenities this luxury hybrid offers. From its 16speaker Mark Levinson audio system, 7-inch multi-information touch screen, and optional voice-activated GPS navigation with integrated Bluetooth hands-free calling to its adaptive cruise control, heated/ventilated seats, red walnut wood accents, and perforated semi-aniline leather, this eco-cruiser provides more than enough content to satisfy well-heeled, green-minded consumers. The overall driving experience is best described as smooth. Like all Lexus products, the GS 450h aims more for refinement than raw performance. Two notable demerits included seats that were not as comfortable as might have been expected and surprisingly small trunk capacity
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due to the hybrid battery-pack’s location behind the rear seats. We returned 20-22 mpg in real-world driving, coming up short of EPA estimates in part because of this hybrid’s addictive power. As tested, our GS 450h added $4,360 in options and a $695 “handling fee” on top of a $54,900 base price to ring in at $59,955. Some might say paying $60,000 for a hybrid seems a bit over the top, but it depends on your perspective – more on that later. With a new Bell helmet in hand (which I briefly considered wearing), I strode back to the GS 450h looking forward to the trip home and more hybrid performance.
Lexus LS 600h L Here’s some perspective – $115,412. That’s the total for the Verdigris Mica (a pleasant green) 2008 LS 600h L sedan that arrived in my driveway one rainy afternoon. As hybrid luxury goes, it doesn’t get any more luxurious, advanced, or pricey than this. To say that the LS 600h L leads the luxury hybrid segment is an understatement. It’s really more fitting to think of it in terms of the cream of the luxury sedan market – think Mercedes S-Class, Audi A/S8, Maserati Quattroporte, BMW 7-Series, or Jaguar XJ. While the GS 450h is attention-getting for its combination of performance and green credentials, the LS 600h L goes several steps further, offering levels of luxury, refinement, efficiency, and
environmental friendliness that surpass almost every one of its rivals. Yes, I enjoyed this car – so much so that after a week of coddling in its semianiline, leather-trimmed seats, I can begin to see why there’s a $33,000 difference between the base prices of the LS 600h L ($104,000) and its gasolineengined brother, the LS 460 L ($71,00). The driving experience is exceedingly pleasant. The 600h L takes off silently like the GS 450h, and when its DOHC 32-valve, 389-hp V8 kicks in you can barely hear it, maintaining the cabin tranquility for which the brand is famous. If you do hear any significant growling from the 5.0-liter mill, you can bet you stomped on it. Doing so adds up to 49 extra horses from its DC permanent-magnetic electric motor for a combined 438 hp. That power is distributed to all four wheels through an ECVT transmission (with Sequential Shiftmatic mode for 8-speed automanual shifts) and Torsen Limited Slip Center Differential, allowing the 5,220-pound sedan to reach 60 mph in an impressive 5.5 seconds and glide through the quarter mile in 13.8 seconds. The LS 600h L’s Hybrid Synergy Drive System works almost exactly as it does in the GS 450h except that it’s even more refined. And that may be the most outstanding thing about this big luxury hybrid. You really don’t notice the fusion of gasoline engine and hybrid electric motors. A small gauge to the left of the 600h L’s speedometer shows when the car is operating on its electric motor, when it’s recharging and when it’s deriving power from the
5.0-liter gasser. Without this unobtrusive indicator you’d rarely give the system a thought. You would notice its fuel consumption, however, EPA rated at 20 mpg city/22 mpg highway. We saw a consistent 20 mpg, putting the LS 600h L well ahead of most of its competitors. Handling is equally satisfying. The car never felt anything but stable and well planted during our time with it and its maneuverability was surprising. A trip from home to Washington, D.C., one evening for a restaurant opening confirmed its overall talents marvelously. The 40-minute drive through heavy rain showers via local roads, freeway, and city streets proved delightful. The LS 600h L’s combination of 19-speaker, 450-watt Mark Levinson sound system, supportive and supple heated/cooled seats, dual zone automatic climate control, voice activated touch screen navigation system with backup camera and Bluetooth technology worked in concert to minimize fatigue, maximize comfort, and provide satisfying entertainment. The trip was capped off with a jaunt from my girlfriend’s downtown office to the restaurant. She and three co-workers joined me for the ride. Those in back had absolutely no complaints as beneficiaries of a spacious, limousine-like rear cabin decked out with the 600h L’s Premium Luxury Package II. The $7,570 option includes heated/cooled rear power seats that slide and recline (with footrest), a rear seat entertainment system
Every year, thousands of Churches, Universities, Conservatories, Colleges and Schools choose to protect their valuable pianos with the Piano Life Saver from Dampp-Chaser. (Access this list of institutions at www.PianoLifeSaver.com/reports) You, too, can enjoy stable pitch and tuning with the Piano Life Saver System. Brochure: 1 (800) 438-1524
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Keys to the road
with complete audio controls, a DVD player with 9-inch screen and wireless headphones, power rear sunshades, and additional wood trim. You get the sense that the LS 600h L is a demonstration of everything that Lexus/Toyota can combine in a vehicle. The list of technologies employed is too long to mention but includes the much remarked upon Advanced Parking Guidance System (APGS), which allows the king-sized Lexus to park itself via ultrasonic proximity sensors and robotic steering input. In the real world the system is difficult to use. Unless you position the 600h L just right, the APGS will not work. It takes practice to use well and will likely be a littleused novelty for most owners. On the other hand, the technology integral to this hybrid’s catalytic converter, which allows it to store unburned cold-start hydrocarbons and burn them later when it warms up, helps give the vehicle its SULEV rating. The LS 600h L’s eye-catching headlamps are advanced as well, employing a trio of white LED lowbeams in each lens (the first application in a passenger car) for improved visibility. This performance enhancement is also a safety feature, as is Lexus’ optional Advanced Pre-Collision System, which when detecting a car or pedestrian ahead, can apply brakes, tighten seatbelts, or even quicken the car’s steering in anticipation of an avoidance maneuver. Perhaps the best word to describe the LS 600h L is “seamless.” Yes, it’s costly and its preponderance of gizmos could be considered overkill in some areas. But the LS 600h L works so well that its hybrid technology is almost invisible. Just get in, drive, and enjoy being green without sacrifice.
Cadillac Escalade Hybrid By mid-2008, a hybrid version of the Cadillac Escalade will be available nationwide. The Cadillac Escalade as a hybrid, you say? Yep, that’s right. The oversized, blinged-up luxury SUV that has become a favorite of the celebrity/athlete crowd, a leader in the luxury SUV segment, and something of cultural icon is going green. What might seem an unlikely candidate – perhaps the antithesis of a green vehicle – is in fact a perfect foil for hybrid technology, says David Caldwell, Cadillac’s communications manager. He contends that applying hybrid technology to what are often the most consumptive vehicles on the road – luxury cars and SUVs – makes perfect sense. “People think of hybrids as small, economytype cars and so far they have been. But hybrid technology can be applied very successfully to larger luxury cars. In fact, if you look at it historically, new technologies often infiltrate the marketplace through luxury cars. Cruise control, navigation systems, and many more advancements have been introduced on luxury cars. It makes
Top: The Lexus LS 600h L boasts a seemingly endless list of tech features, but the most impressive – its hybrid technology – works so well that it’s almost invisible. Above: Passengers in the Lexus LS 600h L will enjoy an exceedingly quiet and seamless ride, along with a host of comfort and entertainment features.
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Keys to the road
The Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is the first large luxury SUV with fuel-saving hybrid technology.
sense. If you have costly new technologies, why not introduce them first with a customer base that can afford them?” Cadillac is keen to point out that the new version of its Escalade is the first large luxury SUV to employ hybrid technology and that it has capabilities (seating for up to eight people and a towing rating of 5,800 pounds) no other hybrid can match. Motive power comes from what General Motors calls a Two-Mode Hybrid System. Like Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive, Two-Mode will be applied to a number of GM’s vehicles. Moreover, versions of the system will feature on vehicles from Chrysler and BMW as well, the result of GM’s joint venture for hybrid development with those manufacturers. The Escalade’s Two-Mode hybrid system is identical to what is being offered on its more utilitarian GM cousins, the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon (also available this year). A 6.0-liter V8 is matched with two electric motors mounted inside its Electronically Variable Transmission (EVT). During low-speed driving, the Escalade Hybrid can run on batteries only, the engine only, or a combination of both. At higher speeds and higher loads,
the SUV’s second mode allows the vehicle to use its electric motors in combination with the engine and its Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation system (which shuts down four of the engine’s eight cylinders) for better efficiency. At press time no Escalade Hybrids were available for review, but Cadillac tells us the new vehicle should achieve 50 percent better fuel mileage in city driving and increased highway economy as well. A combined overall improvement from current gas-engined versions (rated at 12 mpg city/18 mpg highway) “to 20 mpg or more” is expected. Total output from the V8 and electric motors will be in the 330-hp range, according to Caldwell, down from the gas-powered version’s 403 hp. Performance should suffer slightly, although the hybrid’s EVT (programmed with “progressivity” to mimic conventional transmissions) may help minimize the difference. Unlike the hybrid Tahoe and Yukon, which feature re-profiled front air dams, construction with lighter weight materials, and different (more efficient) wheels and tires, the Escalade Hybrid retains an appearance identical to conventionally-
powered versions. The interior is unchanged as well. “Escalade is, by nature, less utilitarian and more luxurious,” Caldwell stresses. “We didn’t want to change its inherent appeal. We didn’t change the grill or materials at all. We want the hybrid to be the most appealing Escalade. In fact, the regular Escalade comes with 18- or 22-inch wheels. For the hybrid, we’re making the 22-inch wheels standard. We think the hybrid consumer in the luxury space would want the more luxurious version of a vehicle.” The Escalade Hybrid will be offered only in the standard Escalade body style. Price has yet to be determined, but Caldwell indicates the Hybrid will sell for approximately $10,000 more than a fully optioned conventional Escalade ($66,000). Caldwell also thinks that there’s an emerging group of luxury consumers for whom hybrid technology is a premium luxury attribute. “Customers in the luxury market want no compromises. With seamless integration, hybrid technology only adds to luxury. It’s a technology statement and a desirability statement that we’re making.”
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11/15/07 2:36:01 PM
Steinway & Sons is a company constantly striving for perfection when it comes to its customers’ demands and decided that one of the best way...
Published on Mar 24, 2008
Steinway & Sons is a company constantly striving for perfection when it comes to its customers’ demands and decided that one of the best way...