World’s Largest Piano?



Wanted: Temporary space for the world’s largest piano. Must have flat access, as requires forklift.

A piano handcrafted in a garage near Timaru, weighing in at 1.4 tonnes and with a length of 5.7 metres, is rolling through Wellington next month and its maker is hunting for a place to show it off.

It took Adrian Mann, 25, four years to build the piano, and he has spent the past few years giving people around New Zealand a chance to play it – he even tried, unsuccessfully, to get Elton John to give it a tinkle.

It all started when, as a curious 15-year-old, he wanted to see how long a piece of piano wire would be if it were not wrapped in copper.

The answer, according to his garden experiment, was about six metres, but it was the tone of the string that had him captivated.

“The sound I heard from that string was so clear and unique and different that I really, really had to do it. I got it in my mind that I had to build a piano.”

The following year, a neighbour offered a garage and some timber and he got stuck in – despite knowing next to nothing about piano-building.

“I had to learn everything – none of the technicians wanted to be involved because they said it wouldn’t work, so I had to learn how to do everything, from carpentry, welding, right up to the geometry of the action and the string layout.”

As the piano started to take shape, the community got on board with donations of wood, tools, books and cash, and he won a scholarship after he finished high school to allow for a final push.

As well as being the world’s largest piano, it also had the “lowest percentage of inharmonicity”, according to an Australian piano maker, Mann said.

The piano is in Auckland at present, has dates in Hamilton next month, and will be travelling through Wellington about October 22 – but it will stop only if the right venue can be found.

Positively Wellington Venues chief executive Glenys Coughlan said it would be the first time Wellington would have hosted an instrument of that size, but did not see it as an obstacle.

“We would be spoiled for choice here. We could do it on a grand scale, putting it centre court in TSB Bank Arena or inside our newly refurbished Shed 6, which would be fun.

“Or we could have a choice of stages: on stage at the Michael Fowler Centre, the St James Theatre or the Opera House. Or the lobby of the Michael Fowler Centre.”

From Space calls tune for longest piano |

August 28 ~ Today in Music History



• 1850 ~ Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, was performed for the first time.

• 1894 ~ Karl Böhm, Austrian conductor

OCMS   1913 ~ Richard Tucker, American tenor
More information about Tucker

• 1924 ~ Dinah Washington, American rhythm-and-blues singer. She popularized many, many great songs, including What a Diff’rence a Day Makes, Unforgettable, and several hits with Brook Benton.

• 1925 ~ Billy (William Wayne) Grammer, Singer

• 1931 ~ You Rascal You was recorded by Henry Allen, with the Luis Russell Band, for the Victor label.

• 1939 ~ Clem Cattini, Drummer with Tornados

• 1948 ~ Daniel Seraphine, Drummer with Chicago

• 1951 ~ Wayne Osmond, Singer with The Osmond Brothers

• 1964 ~ The Beatles appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine.

• 1965 ~ Shania Twain (Eilleen Regina Edwards), Grammy Award-winning singer

• 1984 ~ The Jacksons’ Victory Tour broke the record for concert ticket sales. The group surpassed the 1.1 million mark in only two months.

• 2002 ~ Kay Gardner, whose last musical work with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra memorialized the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, died of a heart attack. She was in her early 60s.
On hearing of her death, symphony officials scheduled Gardner’s work, “Lament for Thousand,” for the orchestra’s season-opening concert Oct. 13 at the Maine Center for the Arts in Orono.
Gardner was a pianist, flutist and conductor who performed in 46 states and several countries.
More than 20 years ago, she sued the Bangor Symphony, unsuccessfully, for sex discrimination after she had applied for a conducting position and learned that orchestra members had been asked how they felt about working with a female conductor.
In 2000, she was the guest conductor for a 40-member orchestra of women from the Bangor Symphony, playing a repertoire written by women.
Gardner studied music at the University of Michigan and at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In 1972, she helped found a feminist and openly lesbian women’s band, Lavender Jane.
By the 1990s she was serving as music director at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bangor.