The pianos manufactured by Steinway and Sons are considered to be one among the finest on earth. When the company was bought by John Paulson, a billionaire, the musicians feared that the efficiency of the products would change. They feared that the pianos that had been so famous could become less efficient. Paulson has a number of pianos from Steinways and he asserts that nothing is going to be altered as far as the quality, efficiency, and the reputation of the product are concerned.
Great pianists would always look for the best pianos. The well reputed Russian pianist, Vladimir Horowitz, took his personal Steinway Piano when he went to different places all over the world for concerts. Most of the conservatories and concert halls in America go for Steinway Pianos. The pianists starting from Harry Connick to Lang Lang and Billy Joel are all Steinway artists. During the fall season Kirill Gerstein, the Russian pianist, performed in the New York City and he was all set to perform with New York Philharmonic. He was sitting at the keyboard of Steinway D which is a nine feet concert grand in the Steinway Hall. It is a lavish showroom belonging to the company situated at Manhattan.
Gerstein says that the muscular nervous system of the pianists all over the world has been given shape by the feeling of the action as well as the merging of action and sound into the playing experience. The experience of the listeners here is significant as well. People who are acquainted with the sound of the Steinway pianos can distinguish it from that of the others. The authenticity of this musical instrument is attributed by Gerstein to the uniqueness of the process of production.
It is since the year 1871 that the production of Steinways pianos is being done in Astoria’s factory complex, Queens, on the Steinway place which is just a block away from the Steinway street. In the nineteenth century, this area was known by the name of Steinway village. Henry Engelhard Steinway, one among the German immigrants had founded the company in the year 1853. This was the time when there were a number of companies in New York that manufactured pianos. The director of Steinway Pianos maintains that the company had started thinking of setting a standard. Steinway had set such a standard that the name of the company should be remembered throughout.
The workforce at Steinway consists of three hundred craftsmen as well as women and the total number of pianos they manufacture in a year is approximately 1500 at its Astoria factory. Almost eleven months are needed to manufacture the Steinway grand and it features twelve thousand separate parts. This factory can be called the beehive of piano making. Thin wood laminates are stuck together and are then put down into the process of the manufacture of Steinway Pianos. A plate made of cast iron is added followed by the addition of strings. The tuning of pianos is done five times. There is a pounding room into which pianos are taken twice in the whole process were the machine is made to bang on eighty eight keys simultaneously.
Picture credit: steinway.com