Episode eight of The Sound of Craftsmanship podcast series has been released! We meet Steinway & Sons master piano maker Ulrich Gerhartz.
Director of Concert for 33 years, Gerhartz has been an integral part of the legacy of Steinway & Sons, a company that has led the industry since its foundation in New York by German immigrants in 1853.
Now with a parallel factory in Hamburg, where Gerhartz was seduced into the trade through an apprenticeship, it continues to define excellence in both sound and craft.
In the 166 years of Steinway, the craftsmanship that goes into each piano remains nearly the same. To look in Gerhartz’s toolbox is to see a set of tools largely unchanged since the mid-19th century.
That a piano is made from organic materials – its timber joinery, the felt on its hammers – means that each, though made with extreme exactitude, has its own characteristics.
It is those small differences that Gerhartz is responsible for finding, and teasing out, to allow the Steinway family of piano virtuosos to play instruments that suit their style. The moment a finely crafted or repaired piano is played, says Gerhartz, is a magical moment.