Up Coming Concerts and More Here at Michelle’s Piano

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Legendary be bop sensation Bob Mover with pianist George Colligan will be performing this Saturday at 8pm in a concert. First, Bob will be presenting a vocal master class $10 for students to participate. Bob Mover’s Musicianship for Singers Clinic at 4:30pm

Master saxophonist/vocalist Bob Mover has been giving performances, lessons, and clinics world-wide for nearly fifty years and has performed with some of the biggest names in Jazz. His teaching method is transformative and provides students with the means to express themselves.

Among the topics discussed:
*Learn to find and develop a personal repertoire
*How to find the best key for you to sing a song in
*Eliminate vague pitches
*Achieve rhythmic free in phrasing
*Use method acting techniques in interpreting lyrics
*Understanding song forms- no more getting lost
*Harmonic movement and voice leading in tunes
*Identifying the colors of chordal upper structures

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to study with with this Jazz master.
$25 suggested donation/$10 for students

At 8:00 pm he then will be joined by George Colligan for an incredible concert. Incidnetally, George will be releasing his new CD, here at Michelle’s on April 11th at 8 pm.

A jazz musician with an international reputation who has been working with names like Cassandra Wilson and Jack DeJohnette, PSU professor George Colligan is presenting two of his bands for one night of music in Portland.

Theoretical Planets, a group in which Colligan plays drums, has released a CD on the Origin label entitled ” Risky Notion.” The CD has gotten rave reviews, including 4 stars in Downbeat Magazine. The group features Joe Manis and Nicole Glover on saxophones, and Jon Lakey on bass. It’s been described as one of Portland’s most exciting jazz groups.

Also on the bill for the evening will be Colligan performing on his main instrument, the piano. His regular Portland trio includes the great Chris Higgins on bass and the great Chris Brown on drums. Colligan was described by New York Times jazz critic Nate Chinen as “A pianist of deep harmonic and rhythmic assurance…”

Thinking of buying a used piano?

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On an average week we get several calls from customers who are inquiring as to what it will cost to move a piano from a private source to their home? As the conversation goes along with a few investigative questions we find out that the piano is free or within a few hundred dollars. These characteristics of the “free piano” raises several red flags, which then the customer then begins to question if the purchase is a wise investment.

1000’s of parts-

Pianos have several 1000 parts made of wood, wool, felt and fabric material. We have seen several of these pianos in our restoration/ rebuild center with a tell-tale sign of damage, usually indicated by mouse droppings, hence the deterioration and destruction of parts. For many of these pianos the parts of the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) maybe obsolete or it is not cost effective to replace them. The time and labor to replace these parts then becomes a cost that maybe too much to bear. Many pianos of this magnitude are simply to cumbersome and financially to absorb.

It has London, New York or some other major city on the plate-

There were over 400 piano manufacturers in the United States and Europe. Simply because it has the name of a major city on the plate does not indicate the quality of the instrument. When buying a used piano check to see if the brand is Steinway, Mason Hamlin, Baldwin, Knabe, Clarendon, Bush and Lane or a few other major brands. Again, there were 400 manufacturers and the so called city of origin does not always indicate quality. Unlike the Antique Road Show some of these obscure piano names does not mean that you have hidden financial pot of gold!

Used pianos are not always suitable for beginner students –

We have many people who are desirous of a “beginner piano” for a young student or even themselves. Again, back to the first point, pianos having 1000s of moving parts. If the instrument is heavy this is an indicator that the piano has not been regulated. A piano is a machine, its origin of design is borrowed from the geometry of the clock. A properly “regulated” piano has been lubed, usually with a dry graphite, screws tightened, filed, hammers aligned properly, and hours of adjustments! Many of these used pianos that have been slated as “beginner pianos” will lend to injury of the young pianist! These so called cost effective instruments will not perform. A professor from one of our prestigious music schools said, “If the piano can’t do it, I can’t teach it!” This is so true, whether it is a triple pianissimo or thirty second notes in a descending scale, a poor regulated instrument means that the student is then working against the instrument. A well regulated piano is responsive to the artist touch and a pleasure to play. It’s important when buying a used piano to make sure it’s the right instrument with the right tuning, parts, history, and maintenance.

Used pianos are generally very bright –

The hammer head is generally long wool fibers stretched across wooden hammer head. As the hammers get older it becomes more compact after years of repetitive strikes on the strings. Also, dirt and other contaminates make the hammer head percussive. This over percussive and hardened head lends to a very bright and a tone that is not pleasing. With a percussive and bright annoying sound then requires a technician to come in and “needle” the hammer head. This is done by taking a very sharp tool and “pricking” the wool of the hammer head. Somewhat like fluffing the wool. In some cases we can bring back a warm tone to the instrument but this laborious and costly adjustment does not mean the piano will be pleasant to play.

Unlike wine, a piano does not get better with age –

Yes, perhaps like wine a piano might increase in value but not necessarily get better. In fact, quite the opposite happens. Again a piano is a machine made of several 1000 parts! The sound does not become sweeter. The soundboard is the heart of the piano- the soundboard does not mature, it is dead wood. In fact, the sound board, due to the lack of humidity can develop cracks or it can lose it crown dynamic. The crown dynamic is the ability of the soundboard to magnify and project sound. Again, the hammers do not ripen if anything they become unbearably bright and percussive.

The hidden cost of free –

There are many things that are supposedly free in life… free lunch, free rides, free kittens… there are always costs associated with free. We see many customers that purchased that “free piano” and now are in the quandary of what to do with this albatross called the free piano. It will cost several hundreds of dollars to get it into good working condition.

We would like to invite you to meet with our panel of qualified technicians and piano experts who can help you to:
-What five main components to check for when thinking about the purchase of a piano?
– What to look for in a beginner piano?
-What costs are associated with a “free piano?”
– How to determine the value in a used piano?
-How do I determine if the free piano is of any value either from an investment or playing perspective?
This class will be held on March 21st at 10:00 am here at Michelle’s Piano located at 600 SE Stark St. Portland, OR. If interested in attending please call 503-295-1180.

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.

Portland Youth Philharmonic Fundraiser Event December 2014

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Kate Davis PYP Alum 2009 performs at Michelle’s Dec. 21st

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Kenny Regan PYP Alum- currently studying composition at USC

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Hallie Borror, Fumika Mizuno & Hannah Moon current PYP members performing at PYP Fundraiser Dec. 21- 2014

Michelle’s Piano Company believes in the advancement of music and this is why partner with Conductor David Hattner and the Portland Youth Philharmonic. This is a ninety-one year tradition and organization which is listed as the oldest youth symphony in the United States! Currently this youth organization has about four hundred students in their various orchestras of all levels. We were privileged to host PYP for a fundraising event here at the store this past December. Kenny Regan and Kate Davis, PYP Alum’s, entertained and presented a compelling case as to why we should continue to support and fund the next generation of musicians. As well as current PYP symphony performers; Hannah Moon, Halie Borro and Fumiko Mizuno who delighted the audience with Bach and other classical pieces. This partnership with non-profit organizations like PYP benefits all on so many levels. The advancement of the arts in the community, helping to raise the necessary funds in helping to enrich the musical education of our children, and continuing to raise the imagination of the human mind through the sound of music. Michelle’s Piano Company owner and staff are committed to standing alongside organizations such as PYP in this endeavor.

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.