Pianists are the Most Important
no-image, Pianists are the Most Important
Klaudia Baranowska talks to Gerrit Glaner, Head of the Concert & Artist Department at Steinway&Sons about the company's legacy and prize-winning pianos...
Gerrit Glaner. Photo: press materials
Klaudia Baranowska talks to Gerrit Glaner, Head of the Concert & Artist Department at Steinway&Sons about the company's legacy and prize-winning pianos
Klaudia Baranowska: Steinway is probably the most well-known piano maker in the world. How long has it been in existence?
Gerrit Glaner: The beginnings of the company reach back to the mid-19th Century. In 1848, the German piano producer Heinrich Steinweg brought his whole family over to the United States. It was there in 1853 that Steinweg changed the spelling of the name and established the Steinway&Sons company. Since then the company has released about 588,000 instruments onto the market.
KB: How do contemporary Steinway pianos differ from the early models?
GG: We just recreated the first piano that the company's founder built himself. It's currently in New York and serves as an example of perfect craftsmanship. In the 19th Century, pianos were built mainly from wood, which is what gave them such deep tones. Over the years, new technologies and materials were implemented, such as a metal frame, the duplex scale or new construction methods for the sound board - which still remains a mystery until today - all extend the life of the instrument. It still sounds good even after a hundred years. Company tradition is our great potential - just like the competence and experience of our employees. Some of them have been connected with the company for forty years. They know all the secrets of piano production.
GG: The process of building a piano is extensive. We need about a year to create an instrument and if someone wants to buy a new piano produced by us right away, it's only possible if someone else cancels their order. If we shortened the production process, it would impact the quality of the instruments and pianists would sense the difference immediately.
KB: The Steinway company cooperates with the organisers of the Chopin Competition from its origins. Many Competition winners have played on Steinway pianos...
GG: Indeed, several years ago we published a record of interpretations of musicians playing Steinway pianos, who have won first prizes at the Chopin Competition. The list is wonderful: Halina Czerny-Stefańska, Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Rafał Blechacz, Dang Thai Son... We'll see who wins this year. There are many remarkably talented musicians among them. They have other pianos besides Steinways to choose from, such as Fiazzoli, Kawai and Yamaha. Of course, the winner of the Competition is the most important, not which instrument he or she has chosen. Piano producers ought to keep this in mind.
Interview with Gerrit Glaner by Klaudia Baranowska, October 2010.
The article comes from the Chopin Express gazette published for the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition
by Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Gramophone.
View the audition recitals online at chopin2010.pl/en/competitions/xvith-chopins-competition.html
Other articles of interest in Chopin Express No. 07:Competition Jury Post WWII