Celebrating his 10th year as artistic director and chief choreographer of the Queensland Ballet in Australia, François Klaus decided it was time to invest in a quality piano for rehearsals and performances as well as one that was kind to the ballet company’s budget.
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Fortunately, he already knew Greg Thompson, Queensland manager of Theme & Variations Piano Services, the exclusive dealer for the family of Steinway-designed pianos throughout Queensland and New SouthWales. The next step was easy and logical.
“We’ve had very pleasant conversations about music, instruments and many other things, so I certainly respected and appreciated his advice when selecting the piano,” says Mr. Klaus, who socialized with Greg at numerous music performances and events.
Because of those discussions, Greg was well aware of Mr. Klaus’ philosophy regarding a piano’s relationship to dance performance. “A good instrument inspires the pianist to play well,” Mr. Klaus observes, “while good music and quality sound will inspire dancers to dance well.” Queensland Ballet, with 23 accomplished dancers, is one of only three full-time professional ballet companies in Australia.
As chief choreographer, Mr. Klaus has developed a repertoire of nearly 100 works for the company, which annually presents about 100 performances ranging from the classics and full-length ballets to new works in a variety of dance styles. Keeping all of that in mind, Greg recommended a Steinway-designed Boston grand piano (GP-178) for its power, clarity and versatility. And the verdict? “Everyone is extremely happy with the Boston grand piano,” reports Mr. Klaus. “It is precisely the instrument we wanted and needed for our diverse purposes.”
The piano’s new home is in Brisbane’s West End at the Thomas Dixon Centre for Dance – marking its 100th anniversary this year – where the Boston grand piano premiered during the company’s recent Soirées Classiques performances.
Three accompanists regularly play the piano in rehearsal, and several concert pianists have played it in performance, including Therese Milanovic from Collusion and award-winning pianist Brieley Cutting.
Everyone, Mr. Klaus reports, approves of the Boston grand piano’s responsive touch and rich tones.
To mark his decade with Queensland Ballet, Mr. Klaus’ production of International Galawill feature “a retrospective of my favorite pieces by my favorite guest artists who have performed while I’ve been with the company,” he says. This year’s final production will be Swan Lake, which Mr. Klaus anticipates will be “one of the year’s highlights.”
And, of course, at the center of it all will be the Boston grand piano, part of the family of Steinway-designed pianos that Mr. Klaus has admired since his days as a dancer with the Hamburg Ballet, located across the street from the Steinway factory in Hamburg, Germany.
“The Steinway building had many floors,” he recalls, “and I often admired the pianos, even going over occasionally to try them out a bit. Now, however, we have a Steinway-designed piano right here and I can enjoy it any time I want.”