Piano Stories Episode 3:One-Of-A- Kind Steinway, # 500,000
In the fall of 2001, I had the great pleasure to sit down with Greg Kottman, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Premier Pianos in West Chester, Ohio for an exclusive interview. The occasion was the Steinway "Legendary Piano Tour", which Premier Pianos was hosting in the Cincinnati area. Greg was kind enough to allow me to video the pianos on the tour, as well as answer my questions about them.
The tour consisted of four "one of a kind "Steinway pianos. The group included the piano Vladimir Horowitz played for the last twenty years of his life (including his 1986 tour of Russia), Van Cliburn's personal piano, The "Rhapsody " Steinway built to commemorate the 100th birthday of George Gershwin ( the bluest piano you will ever see), and Steinway # 500,000 built in 1988 to commemorate the 135th anniversary of the Steinway Piano Company.
This episode of Piano Stories features Steinway # 500,000. Begun in 1987 and finished in 1988, Steinway # 500,000 features a case designed by renowned furniture builder Wendell Castle. It is hand- signed by every Steinway artist alive at the time it was built. The underside of the piano is also hand-signed by piano technicians and movers from around the world.
Since its introduction at Carnegie Hall to commemorate the 135th anniversary of Steinway on June 2, 1988, # 500,000 has toured the entire world. This is literally a one-of-a-kind piano, since no other one like it was ever built. The estimated value of Steinway # 500,000 is in the $500,000 range, but the piano is not for sale.
I was fortunate enough to be able to preserve the images of all four legendary pianos and will feature each in subsequent episodes of Piano Stories. I hope you enjoy these images. Some useful links are provided below the pictures of # 500,000. Who says they don't build 'em like they used to ?
Greg Kottman (left) Premier Pianos
Greg playing Steinway # 500,000
signatures of Steinway artists
Elton John's signature
signature of Wendell Castle 1988
The following series of pictures are of the underside of # 500,000 they are the singnatures of piano tuners and movers from all over the world.
more information on 500,000
Piano Stories Episode 2
Piano Stories Episode 1