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Portland Youth Piano Competition Set for 2016

Following on the success of last year’s piano competition here at Michelle’s Piano Company in November we are set to announce this years concert dates. Eligible piano students who are OMTA Syllabus level four and above are welcome to enter this years competition. The preliminary round is set for the weekend of November 4-6 with the final round set for Sunday November 13th.

Our criteria is as follow repertoire may be from the Baroque period to twentieth century. Two pieces maybe selected and performed. They are not to exceed 20 minutes in total time. Each contestant is to be in concert attire.

Last year’s first prize winners were able to take advantage of a weekend in New York. This weekend trip included a trip to the Steinway Piano Factory in Astoria Queens New York, the use of a Steinway grand piano in their home and access to rehearsals with the Oregon Symphony and Vancouver Symphony. This year’s first thru third place winners will receive the same prizes. early bird registration is $35 before April 30th and $45 up to the date of the competition. For further questions you may contact Ms.Layla Kastner at layla@michellespiano.com

PYP-Music & Merriment “A Salute to Carol SIndell”

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Portland Youth Philharmonic was established Valentine’s Day 1925. It is the oldest youth orchestra in the United States! Since its inception many young people have come to find their joy, passion and pursuit of music in the this world class orchestra. In fact each December, many of these alums come back and join the current youth orchestra for another whirl in the opulent Arlene Schnitzer Hall. What a joy to see many of our active seniors playing with the orchestra members of today and inspiring younger musicians for tomorrow.

Join us here at Michelle’s Piano Company on December 20th 4-530pm as we listen to PYP’s three concert masters; Fumika Minuzo, Haeun Jung, and Halie Borror. The Florestan Trio will rounding out the afternoon, made up of Janet Guggenheim, Hamilton Cheifetz, and Carol Sindell. Incidentally, PYP will be honoring Carol Sindell as both a past PYP conductor, teacher of many PYP students and a strong proponent of the arts here in Portland. This music & merriment event is a both an awareness event as well as a fundraising opportunity to continue to seed the next generation of rising stars of musicians!

A new kind of piano competition in town

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Last weekend November 14 & 15 saw,forty eight students, representing nineteen studios, and playing for sixteen hours from intermediated to advance OMTA Syllabus X in our recital hall. All vying for two trips, an all expense paid trip to the famed Steinway Piano Factory in Astoria Queens New York. The two winners from the intermediate and advanced categories will be able to meet and have lunch with a Steinway executive as well as take in a musical event.

The purpose of the competition is the promotion of the next generation of musicians. The competition criteria was relatively straight forward- students could perform anything from Baroque to 20th Century. We also encouraged students to perform a piece from as Asian composer!

The top three finishers in each will also have the opportunity to use a Steinway grand piano in their home for forty-five days. This coming weekend eleven finalist will be try to see who will take the New York trip, cash and the use of a Steinway piano! Sunday’s finals will be from 12-3pm with presentations by Portland Art and Cultural Center, Michelle’s Piano Company and Delta Airlines. All are welcomed to stay for the reception following the award’s ceremony.

Baritone Anton Belov & Accompanist Susan McDaniel Sure to Become an Annual Tradition at Michelle’s Piano

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One of the most pointed out features of Michelle’s Piano Recital Hall is the very large old wood beams from the old growth treesfrom the Oregon forest. This combination of concrete floors and old timbers in the ceiling brings a warm but vibrant tonal quality to any performance.

The audience were thrilled last Sunday afternoon with an eclectic collection Euro-Persian music performed by Maestro Belov and Accompanist Susan McDaniel. Anton’s clear explanation of how these type of songs became known to the Western world was quite educational but more evocative is when he sang them. We are very accustomed to the scaling of the well tempered clavier scaling and not as familiar with scaling and modalities of Middle Eastern music. So our ears and hearts were opened to something new but also quite old.

The concert encapsulated and demonstrated this form very well. Many enjoyed the concert and great stage presentation of Maestro Belov, we plan on bringing MAestro Belov back with frequency to our venue. Of course, Susan McDaniel played quite magnificiently supplementing Belov voice with the artistry and demonstration of the Middle Eastern nuances. This week Michelle’s Piano is hosting a double header weekend with Vocalist Heather Keizer and Steve Christofferson on piano on Valentine’s Day benefit for Oregon Montessori and World Renowned Steinway Artist Andreas Klein Concert on 3pm Sunday Feb 15th with Master Class on Monday February 16th from 10-1pm

Anton Belov & Susan McDaniel Vocal Recital this Sunday February 8th at 3pm

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This Sunday February 8th Michelle’s Piano is pleased to preset Baritone Anton Belov and noted accompanist, Ms. Susan McDaniel. The voice of baritone Anton Belov has been called rich and mellifluous by the New York Times, while the Philadelphia Inquirer calls it that of an emerging star. A native of Russia and a graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, he has appeared with numerous companies and orchestras throughout the United States and has earned critical acclaim for his portrayals of characters as diverse as Count di Luna, Don Giovanni, Escamillo, Count Almaviva, Doctor Malatesta and Eugene Onegin. Equally at home with opera, oratorio and concert repertoire, Mr. Belov presented over sixty recitals throughout the States appearing at such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Mr. Belov is First Place winner of eight vocal competitions including the George London Competition, the Young Concert Artists International Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. A specialist in Russian lyric diction, he is the author of numerous books on the subject. Dr. Belov is an assistant professor of music at Linfield College in McMinnville, OR.

Anton will be performing East-West Diwan Art Songs Inspired by Persia. What is the flavor of this music you ask? German romantics were fascinated by exotic culture and often infused their poetry witht he imagery of te Far East, Asia and of course, Persia. in 1819, Johan Wofgang Von Goethe published his Wes-Eastern Diwan a collection of transcriptions of the medieval Persian poet Hafiz. The work became a symbol of exchange between the East and the West , the world of Islam and Christianity. This collection in turn inspired art songs by numerous composers including Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Hugo Wolfe. This recital presents some of these works intermingled with Russian-Oriental romances, the Middle East inspired works of Anton Rubinstein. Alexander Glazunov, and Sergey Rachmaninoff. You can preview Anton’s rich baritone voice at his site www.antonbelov.com

Susan McDaniel, a third generation native of Oregon and principal accompanist at Linfield College has appeared widely as a soloist and chamber musician including recitals in France, Germany Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. Susan has been a member of the music staff at the Seattle Opera, Portland Opera and the Utah Festival Opera , as well as music director and pianist for the San Diego Opera Ensemble Off Center Opera and Puget Sound Concert Opera. Incidentally, Susan is the accompanist for the 89.9 All Classical Roger Doyle Studio where she can be frequently heard on the Thursday at Three live concerts.

Recitals, concerts and folks just meeting up to play piano!

 

One of the great features at Michelle’s Piano Company is our recital hall.  This concert space conveys a warm acoustical environment in which the performer and audience are able to connect.  Michelle’s Piano is proud of the fact that we host our area piano teachers and their students for their recitals.  Students are given the opportunity to perform on a world class Steinway owned C & A instrument.  he C & A means Concert Artist instrument this piano,  is owned by Steinway New York.

Steinway has designated the C & A  for select markets across the United States.  This  group of instruments are known as the “piano bank.”  Each of these instruments are four years or younger.  It is important to note that the word’s best concert venues and artist only play on instruments that are not very old.  The Concert Artist piano that resides here at Michelle’s Piano is simply known as #286. Michelle’s piano also has a  C & A Steinway B #828   When world renown artist come to Portland, OR they are entitled to a Steinway piano from the local authorized representative.   These piano receive concert tuning and attention before performance.  The Steinway Concert Artist piano receives special designation because of its unique inherent tone quality, resonance and projection.  The benefit of this instrument is innumerable to both teachers, students and performers.

For the student many of them have never had the opportunity to perform their piece on a world class instrument.  Perhaps to the younger student, they just have never played anything quite this large!  The overwhelming feeling that a child to some extent is amazing.  To the more advanced and experienced student it is the realization that they will be able to play and hear their piece come alive.  For the performer they will enjoy the silkiness of the smooth action and the power of a V12 engine that follows every nuance that they command the instrument to do.

Like the times of old when Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin would entertain in the great halls of kings and nobleman or piano salons of the wealthy, as they used to be called.  The listener can be transported back to something of timeless beauty and magnificence in our recital hall.  Many comment on the old wood beams, the concrete floors and open space of the skylights.  This environment combined with the Steinway Concert Artist D creates a pleasing and memorable experience for all involved.

So whether your are a student, teacher, pianist or someone who enjoys live music, we invite you to come and experience our recital/performance space for yourself.  You can go to event page to see when the next upcoming concert is.

Linda Barker piano recital this past fall 2014

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The “Golden Age” Myth

They are rebuilders, technicians, and non-Steinway dealer who will claim that Steinway pianos built during the “Golden Age” are the best Steinway pianos ever built.   This is a myth that has been around since Steinway started building pianos.

Are older Steinway piano really better that new ones?

As the late Henry Z. Steinway, great grandson of the founder of Steinway & Sons, often said, “Steinway pianos crafted 40 years ago were always from the “Golden Age.” It didn’t matter which year- 1900, 1920, 1950, 2008- the ‘Golden Age’ was always forty years ago!

Why the myth exist?

There are very few piano dealers that are authorized to sell new Steinway pianos throughout the world (only about 68 in North America) but many piano dealers who can acquire used Steinway piano to resell.  Since they cant sell new Steinway pianos, it is to there benefit to advertise that their used Steinway from the ‘Golden Age is more desirable than a new one.

Artist demand the best

The myth of the ‘Golden Age’ is easily disproved.  Just look at the concert halls throughout the world who cater to the most discriminating pianist of our time. How old are the pianos you are hearing? On average, they are less than ten years old.  If the world’s most prominent pianist felt that pianos from the ‘Golden Age’ were superior to those produced today, we would not see new Steinways pianos on these stages.

These post is taken from Casey Saliba’s pamphlet titled “A Grand Guide to Buying A Used Steinway Piano”

Assuring the Steinway, Piano is Genuine

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Declaration Of Steinway Parts

If the seller doesn’t have a statement with their signature you can use the Declaration of Steinway Parts Authenticity Certificate available for download from www.usedsteinwaypiano.com.  Present this certificate to any rebuilder or seller of a rebuilt Steinway piano and request that they fill it out and sign it to ensure that the piano has genuine Steinway parts.

 

Genuine Steinway Parts

Should you decide to buy a used Steinway piano not restored by Steinway & Sons, it is recommended that you request, in writing, from the seller, a statement verifying that the piano has 100% genuine Steinway parts and that it can be proven.

 

Taken from the brochure ” A Grand Guide to Buying A Used Steinway Piano” – Casey Saliba

Sound Advice on Pre-Owned Steinway

The soundboard lies at the heart of a Steinway grand or upright piano, which  is why Steinway & Sons takes great care in its design and in the selection of the wood used.  The soundboard is critical component in producing the imitable “Steinway Sound” you desire.

About the Sound Board

Closed-grained, quarter sawn Sitka spruce, with a prescribed minimum number of annual growth rings is the wood used for Steinway soundboards.  These close-grained lines enable the sound-producing energy to travel more efficiently to the end of the soundboard.  When combined with the soundboard  being gradually tapered from the center to the edge, which permits the freedom of movement, it creates a sound unparalleled richness, sonority, and sustain.

Steinway Never Sells Its Soundboards

Steinway sells their soundboards to no one, since the skills, expertise and machinery necessary to replace a soundboard is only available at the Steinway factory.  So if a used Steinway was restored somewhere other than the Steinway Restoration Center, it may still have the Steinway & Sons trademark logo on it, but if it doesn’t have a genuine Steinway & Sons soundboard, it has lost the internal magic that makes it a Steinway.

Soundboards From Scratch

Steinway d0es not buy their soundboards, instead the buy the spruce planks to the make their soundboards.   Steinway’s strict standards for soundboard spruce and their yield factor on the prime-grade planks they purchase is only 50% .   Meaning, of all the spruce that Steinway inspects and purchases, only 50% of that spruce goes into the making their soundboards.  This allows Steinway to build each soundboard to their standards not the lumber supplier’s.

From A Grand Guide to Buying A Used Steinway Piano-Casey Saliba

If It Doesn’t Have 12,116 Genuine….

…Steinway Parts, It Isn’t A Steinway!

“Used, vintage, and restored Steinway pianos are often prized for their unique beauty and enduring value. However, for years, non- Steinway dealers and unauthorized piano rebuilders have created a great deal of confusion in the piano industry.  Many piano rebuilders use inferior non- Steinway parts, seriously compromising an instrument’s performance and investment value.”- from A grand guide to buying a used Steinway piano,  pamphlet.

One of the easiest analogies to compare this issue is,  the auto repair industry. We often hear commercials that admonish us not to just trust  any auto repair shop to do repairs if they do not use OEM parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer.) Those of us who have had any repair to our automobiles with an authorized OEM shop who truly practice this ethical business practice are completely surprised as to  how much the repair is when we see the bill!  The same can be said of Steinway rebuilds using genuine parts!

Built For  A Steinway Piano

For more that 161 years, Steinway & Sons has been on a continued quest to improve the Steinway piano.  Continuous improvement means finding the perfect balance of the many thousands of parts which make up a Steinway piano. When a Steinway piano is rebuilt it is imperative that Steinway parts be used in the process if the piano is to play and sound as a Steinway should play and sound.

A Steinway piano is designed to use genuine Steinway parts, and it performs its best when these parts are used .  If the parts are not 100% Steinway, then the piano is not 100% Steinway and its performance and investment value will be compromised.

Why Do Some Rebuilders Use Non-Steinway Parts?

Non- Steinway replacement parts used in the rebuilding of a Steinway piano are purchased for one reason only: They are cheaper , both in price and in quality. There is no other reason.  Below is a comparison of genuine Steinway parts vs. non- Steinway parts for a Steinway Model O (5’10”) grand piano.

Price Comparison

Steinway vs Non- Steinway Parts

Hammers

Steinway & Sons   $540

Abel “Lite”  $275

Abel “Standard”  $310

Abel “Select”  $ 425

Imadegawa  $225

Repetitions (Whippens)

Steinway & Sons $1,250

Tokiwa “Steinway Style”  $875

Wrestplank (Pinblock)

Steinway &  Sons   $819

Generic “Single”  $445

Hammershanks with Flanges

Steinway & Sons  $650

Abel “Steinway Style” $419

Tokiwa “Standard”  $425

Backchecks with Wires

Steinway & Sons  $255

Tokiwa “Steinway Style”  $195

Soundboard

Steinway & Sons  Not for Sale

Generic Soundboard  $695

Generic Pre-Crowned Ribbed Soundboard  $2,170

As you can see, there is a significant cost difference between genuine Steinway parts and non- Steinway or “Steinway style” parts and this is the reason why there is such a great deal of confusion when shopping for a used Steinway piano.

The pre-owned or used Steinways for purchase at Michelle’s Pianos are either in original shape or have a verifiable “Steinway & Sons Parts Carton”  Our pre-owned Steinways will have received meticulous inspections of parts-they are cleaned, lubed and regulated.  Some voicing, needling the hammer heads, may be done.  Further voicing might be done at the request of the future customer.  Case work and cleaning is essential in making the piano “showroom ready.  When purchasing a used or pre-owned Steinway your safest, most confident and most satisfied peace of mind is with your local authorized Steinway representative.