Thursday, May 29, 2008

Piano 101: Coda

When I decided to start practicing again and build a program, I had no idea how obsessed I would become with the piano. I want to play them all.

I've had fun practicing, performing a little and recording some pieces to post here for family and friends. It's all been an absolute joy for me.

Hanging out at the Steinway Gallery was a roller coaster. Playing all those great pianos was a real high, but there was no way I would ever be able to get one. The less expensive Bostons were beautiful, but still out of reach. And there was no shortage of other good pianos I couldn't afford either. I finally got curious enough to ask about Steinway's relatively inexpensive "third string" line: the Essex. Like the "second string" Boston, these are pianos that are designed and sold by Steinway, but manufactured for them in Asia: Boston by Kawai in Japan and Essex by Young Chang in Korea (with one or two models built in China by Pearl River).

The biggest Essex is the 183, at just a sliver over six feet. It shares many of the design features of the Bostons and Steinways, including the wide tail of the four longest Steinways. I was really impressed with the 183, although the voicing and action of the floor model was a little uneven. When I mentioned it to my Steinway guy, he said he'd have his tech do some work on it. Over the next month, I went in every weekend to play it and give my impressions. And every week the tech would work on it some more. The tone and playability turned out exceptional. So the Steinway Gallery ended up with a floor piano set up exactly to my tastes... and a piano that I couldn't live without.

After more financing obstacles than I care to rehash, giving up expensive coffee, Trappist beer and ice hockey, I was able to work it out. Steinway delivers my brand new Essex EGP-183 tomorrow morning. My own piano. I'm so excited, I think I will barf.

So even though Piano 101 has come to an end, I expect that my new piano will inspire many posts to come. Stay tuned!


  1. Congratulations on the arrival of your very own piano, Kenneth. You chose this one so carefully. I hope it meets your standards and inspires you play all the more. We will stay tuned for your Essex EGP-183's first appearance on Art Facts.
    Love, Louise

  2. Hi Kenneth,

    Mom and I really wish we could be in Austin to share the moment later this morning. Be sure to take pictures!


  3. A dream come true! What every parent wishes for their children. Congratulations, and have fun.

    Love, Mom