2019 – Piano Technicians in Germany, Concert Caster manufacturer, and the BDK Convention

This May and June I had the great opportunity of visiting friends and colleagues in Germany on a business trip for Piano Forte. I visited the area where I was first trained as a Journeyman Piano Maker, near Essen. Then I visited one of my associates in the Cologne area, a high-level piano technician named Ulrich Busch. He is currently the piano technician for the Beethoven House in Bonn, and one of the technicians for the WDR Radio in Cologne (which includes orchestras, performance halls, recording studios, historical instruments, and more). We had the opportunity of spending a few days with him and were treated to some amazing experiences. Below is a picture of me in the basement of the WDR building playing one of the historical pianos, a fortepiano made in Munich in 1793.

Playing the 1793 fortepiano
In front of Beethoven House with my wife

We also visited the Beethoven House in Bonn, while Ulrich tuned a piano in the performance hall which is situated right over the vault containing all of Beethoven’s original manuscripts. We then walked a short distance from there and visited the grave of Robert and Clara Schumann. In the evenings we were treated to symphony orchestra concerts in the Cologne Philharmonic Concert Hall and the WDR Hall. Europe simply oozes culture at every turn.

At the grave site of Robert and Clara Schumann

Other visits included the manufacturer of high-end concert grand stage casters which I sell to other piano technicians and performing arts venues around the world. Here I am with the casters and my associates in the manufacturing shop.

Then off to Heidelberg, where I met with another master craftsman piano technician, Reiner Mertens who was in the same training course as I was 35 years ago. After a short visit in his hometown, we were off to the BDK – German Piano Maker’s convention in Tuttlingen, in the south of the Black Forest. The convention included a visit to the Sauter factory, which is the oldest family owned boutique piano making company in the world, founded 200 years ago this year. It was a great 4 days meeting other colleagues and professional piano technicians.

The trip to Germany was a great way to re-connect with my professional roots, my esteemed colleagues, to advance my own professional development, and to make stronger business connections. A pleasure!

May, June 2019 – Piano Tuning and Servicing on Vancouver Island closed until June 12

I have had yet another very full year tuning and servicing pianos all over central Vancouver Island. From Mill Bay and Shawinigan Lake up through Nanaimo to Qualicum Beach and Parksville, the spring is a busy time for pianos! Music festivals, church performances, and chamber music concerts all require piano servicing, let alone my dedicated private clients.

I will now be taking a break from piano tuning and repairs to do some travel, connecting with colleagues, and professional development. Piano Forte Service will be closed completely from May 17th until June 12th. If you need your piano serviced, please leave me a message and I’ll get back to you after June 12th. Thanks!

April 2019 – Piano Tuning and Servicing in Yellowknife, NWT

Once again, I’m off to the Canadian North to tune and repair pianos from April 11th – 19th, 2019. I’ll be leaving sunny warm Vancouver Island and flying up to Yellowknife, North West Territories…where they’re still struggling with the end of winter. That being said, I’ve been tuning and repairing pianos up there for years, and I always get a warm welcome from my regular clientelle. And I get more requests for piano work than I can handle in the time I’m there! If you live in Yellowknife and would like to be on my regular piano tuning list, please contact me for future trips.

Spring is coming, even in the North West Territories!

If you are on beautiful Vancouver Island, it’s recommended that you also book early…as spring is a very busy time for piano tuning, and it’s hard to fit everyone in. I’ll be tuning and repairing pianos from April 23rd until May 17th, and then I will have a few weeks break for travel and conferences. Don’t hesitate to book now: info@painoforteservice.com or 250-754-2440.

February 2019 – Spring into action, get your piano serviced for optimum enjoyment

Here on Vancouver Island we were watching our daffodils come up a few weeks ago – until a sudden flurry of late winter dropped about a foot of snow on them! But nevertheless, spring is just around the corner. And with a change of season comes a flurry of activity in the music world. From Duncan to Ladysmith, Mill Bay to Qualicum Beach, there will be music festivals, choir recitals, college and university music exams, and many piano studio recitals in the next couple of months. And for each event they all need to have their pianos tuned and serviced. Today I was tuning a piano for the Upper Island Music Festival here in Nanaimo, and tomorrow I’ll be servicing a harpsichord for an upcoming concert at the Port Theatre. If you are in central Vancouver Island and you are also looking to have your piano tuned or serviced this spring, please don’t wait to book a date! Call 250-754-2440 for Piano Forte Service.

December 2018 – Piano Tuning, the perfect gift!

“Thank you so much, Jurgen, for taking the time today, during the holidays, to surprise my husband with the gift of tuning our antique Knabe piano.   It was a small investment for a great deal of joy, as you have done a magnificent job with this instrument.  We both appreciated the gentle care you took, and the sharpness of your ear to be able to tune its own perfection.  My husband can hardly be dragged away from the piano in order to make my dinner this evening, so it would appear that I have outsmarted myself.”

Nevertheless, you do provide wonderful service!  We shall see you again.

Best regards, Wendy

October/November 2018 – Piano Tuning in Yellowknife, N.W.T.

Once again, I’ve completed my voyage up north to tune pianos in the specacular town of Yellowknife, North West Territories. 

yyf-yellowknife_old-town_terry-parker-and-nwttI was there from October 25 – November 3rd, 2018, tuning more than 30 pianos during that time.  I have a dedicated clientelle that book in rapidly, and my piano tuning “slots” were completely full this year.  If you live in Yellowknife and want to get on a list for piano tuning, please contact me.  I often go there in the fall and spring. 

I want to thank my hosts that put me up in the old town area, just close to the houses in the photo.  This year the temperature dropped to -10 and we had over 25 cm of snow the day I left…just in time!  I’ll be back in the spring….

September 2018 – Rebuilding two historic pianos

P1080912 BIn addition to tuning and repairing pianos all over Vancouver Island, I also have a busy piano technician supply business.  Through this business, I have come to know hundreds of top-notch piano technicians all over the world.  This includes my friends and colleagues at Erwin’s Piano Restoration, in Modesto, California.  https://www.erwinspiano.com

A long-time dream of mine is to rebuild and restore two of my historic pianos.  They are unique instruments that I brought from Europe many years ago.  The first is an 1872 Ed. Westermayer piano, a 6 foot grand piano in a rosewood case.  Although this name is not well known, this is a revolutionary piano in its design and its engineering, which was well ahead of it’s time. Find out more about Westermayer Pianos here.
The second instrument is a 1920’s Popper player piano.  This piano comes with a complete “orchestrion”, which is a whole group of instruments in a box on top of the piano, which also play off the player piano rolls.  (Think Roaring 20s)

This September I had the great privilege of going to Modesto to work at rebuilding these instruments with my colleagues at Erwin’s piano.  I was there for about 10 days, and it was a dream come true to be focusing all my energy, training, and experience on these beautiful instruments.  I thank my good friends for letting me work with them in one of the best piano rebuilding shops in the United States.
Dale at Yosemite
We even managed to get away for a day at Yosemite National Park on the weekend.  Here’s a picture of Dale Erwin and myself enjoying the views!

August 2018 – Piano Technician Seminar in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island

I have benefited from extensive piano technology training and I have 35 years of professional piano technician experience, but I am still a strong advocate of professional development for myself and all my colleagues.  Piano technology is a discipline of life long study and improvement.  I have attended many educational events, and also organize and teach at such events. It’s a vital way to hone our skills, share our knowledge, and strengthen colleagiality among piano technicians. 

busby-tuningThis summer, I helped organize a piano technician professional development seminar held in Nanaimo on August 25th. We invited Jim Busby, a top-notch piano technician from Utah.  Jim has been the concert technician for Brigham Young University, and has taught at regional and national Piano Technician Congresses, among other things.

Using hands-on demonstrations, Jim took us through the steps of thorough regulation and fine voicing that are required to bring an instrument to concert level.  We had 22 piano technicians attend, from all over Vancouver Island, Vancouver, and central British Columbia.   A great day was had by all!

Thanks to the Canadian Association of Piano Technicians’ and the Vancouver Island Chapter of the Piano Tecnician’s Guild for sponsoring this event.  Thanks also to all the organizers and Vancouver Island University for allowing us to host the event there, and to use their Steinway Grand Piano.

August 2018 – Piano Tuning for the Hornby Island Festival

Once again, I’m off to tune pianos on Hornby Island, one of the most beautiful gulf islands in B.C., just off the East coast of Vancouver Island. Hornby Island is an annual tradition for me, as I tune & repair the Bechstein concert grand piano that is used for the Hornby Island Music Festival each August.  I also tune pianos for private individuals – if you live on Hornby Island and would like to get your piano serviced, please contact me.

This year, 2018, there are two main piano performances.  For more information, please go to www.hornbyfestival.com

Golka_0078_previewAdam Golka, Classical Piano
Thursday, Aug. 9:  8 PM
7 PM Preshow Talk (hall doors 6:30)
Community Hall
Beethoven: Piano Sonata N.7 in D major, Op.10, No.3
Michael Brown: 30 Chords for Adam; Folk Variations
Roman Rabinovich: Antiquity from Memory Box
Adam Golka: Piano Narrative No.1
Ignacy Jan Paredewski: Nocturne, Op.16, No.4; Cracovienne Fantastique, Op. 14, No 6
Frederic Chopin: Fantasy in F mino/A flat Major, Op. 49;  Mazurka in C-sharp minor, Op.30, No 4; Scherzo #2 in B-flat minor/D-flat Major, Op.31
Polish-American pianist Adam Golka was recently selected by Sir András Schiff to perform recitals at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Germany, Tonhalle Zürich, as well as in Berlin and New York. Adam has been regularly on the concert stage since the age of sixteen, when he won first prize at the 2nd China Shanghai International Piano Competition. He has also received the Gilmore Young Artist Award and the Max I. Allen Classical Fellowship Award from the American Pianists Association. With his extensive concerto repertoire, Golka has appeared as a soloist with dozens of orchestras, among those the BBC Scottish, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Indianapolis, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Phoenix, San Diego, Fort Worth, Vancouver and Seattle symphonies, among others. Adam made his Carnegie Hall Debut in 2010.

Paul-Williamson-Photo_previewPaul Williamson, Classical Piano
Friday, Aug. 10 1 pm – Doors at 12:30
Community Hall
Included in CBC Music’s 2017 edition of “30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30,” pianist Paul Williamson is quickly establishing himself as a versatile performer of solo and collaborative repertoire. An award winner at local, provincial, and national competitions, Paul received first place in the piano category of the 2014 Canadian National Music Festival and first place at the 2017 Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association national piano competition. Paul is currently finishing his final year of studies at the University of Manitoba where he is pursuing his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. This upcoming fall, Paul will be moving to Los Angeles where he will begin graduate studies at the Colburn. Williamson was chosen to perform as an exceptional emerging Canadian classical musician.

Spring 2018 – Piano tuning, servicing and repair on Vancouver Island

Happy Spring & Summer!

P1080139I just want to wish all my piano tuning clients a great summer 2018.  As I travel up and down central Vancouver Island to tune and repair pianos, I am always grateful for the beautiful place I work and live.  From Shawinigan Lake and Cobble Hill in the south to Qualicum Beach and Hornby Island in the north, I’ve got a wonderful clientelle and many pianos I’ve tuned over the last 30 years.  I look forward to more!  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need piano servicing.

Here’s a few images from summer 2018 in Nanaimo.

Cheers – Jurgen