Steinway Pianos

 

Steinway Place, Queens, New York, 11105. steinway.com or 718-721-2600.

It all begins with bare wood, rough and fragrant.

Skilled craftsmen then use muscle, fine motor skills and magic to transform simple planks into magnificent instruments. In the bridge-notching process, the “bellymen” use tools they’ve constructed themselves, the better to execute this highly skilled operation.

Alaskan Sitka Spruce becomes a soundboard, with ribs of Sugar Pine.

Eighty-eight keys, 88 hammers, more than 230 strings — all are carefully created, installed and tested in every piano.

All in all, it takes about 11 months to make a Steinway grand piano.

Steinway & Sons has been located in the same spot in the Astoria section of Queens since the early 1870s. Founded in 1853 in a loft on Varick Street in Manhattan, the company’s reputation grew quickly, and the company needed space to expand their operations.

Factory tours are offered from September through the end of June. (Factory tours are not available in July and August.) Tours are scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, for a maximum of 15 people.

Needless to say, tours fill up quickly and must be booked in advance. Steinway currently has no openings for the rest of 2017 and is not yet taking reservations for 2018. Plan way ahead, and check for updates by emailing tours@steinway.com or by calling 718-721-2600.

Adapted from http://www.app.com/story/entertainment/events/2017/08/18/factory-tours-made-usa/530543001/

Mary and Michael playing in the original Steinway Hall

September 9: On This Day in Music

today

OCMS 1583 ~ Girolamo Frescobaldi, Italian organist and composer
More information about Frescobaldi

• 1846 ~ This was the day when Richard Wagner began work on his opera Lohengrin. It remains an opera hit and “Here Comes the Bride”, based on the “Wedding March” from this opera.

• 1872 ~ Edward Burlingame Hill, American composer

• 1941 ~ Otis Redding, American rhythm-and-blues singer and songwriter

• 1942 ~ Inez Foxx, Singer with brother, Charlie

• 1942 ~ Luther Simmons, Singer with Main Ingredient

• 1945 ~ Dee Dee Sharp (Dione LaRue), Singer with Chubby Checker

• 1946 ~ Billy Preston, Musician, songwriter, singer with The Beatles, Syreeta, played with Little Richard’s Band

• 1947 ~ Freddy Weller, Musician, guitar with Paul Revere and The Raiders (1969), solo, songwriter

• 1952 ~ David Stewart, Guitarist, keyboard with Eurythmics

• 1956 ~ On this Sunday night, 54,000,000 viewers (82.6 percent of the U.S. television audience) turned their TV dials to CBS as Ed Sullivan introduced 21-year-old singer Elvis ‘The Pelvis’ Presley. Elvis sang Hound Dog and Love Me Tender. Ed Sullivan, watching out for the moral safety of the viewing public (plus a live audience of screaming Elvis fans in the show’s New York theatre) demanded that the CBS cameras not venture lower than Elvis’ waist! Sullivan felt that Presley’s wild gyrations of his pelvis would lead the nation’s females into a frenzy of untold proportions. One female Elvis fan described him as, “One big hunk of forbidden fruit.” Elvis got the largest fee to that date for appearing on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town: $50,000.

• 1993 ~ Helen O’Connell passed away.  She was an American singer, actress, and hostess, sometimes described as “the quintessential big band singer of the 1940s”.

• 1996 ~ Bill Monroe passed away.  He was an American mandolinist, singer, and songwriter who created the style of music known as bluegrass. The genre takes its name from his band, the Blue Grass Boys, named for Monroe’s home state of Kentucky.

• 2003 ~ Warren Zevon, who wrote and sang the rock hit “Werewolves of London” and was among the wittiest and most original of a broad circle of singer-songwriters to emerge from Los Angeles in the 1970s, died at the age of 56. Zevon moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s, making a living writing jingles for television commercials. He also composed the song “She Quit Me Man” for the movie “Midnight Cowboy.” He was just out of his teens when he went to work for the Everly Brothers, first as a pianist and later as their band leader.