“Note by Note” on ABC1 Sunday 28th June 2009 at 3:00pm

The Making Of Steinway L1037

Following the story of a single Steinway piano from its humble beginnings, from forest floor to concert hall, the film explores the relationship between musician and instrument, chronicling the manufacturing process, and illustrating what makes each Steinway unique in this age of mass production. From the factory in Queens to Steinway Hall in Manhattan, each piano’s journey is complex – spanning 12 months, 12,000 parts, 450 craftsmen, and countless hours of fine-tuned labour.

The most thoroughly handcrafted instruments in the world, Steinway pianos are as unique and full of personality as the world-class musicians who play them. However, their makers are a dying breed: skilled cabinetmakers, gifted tuners, and experienced hand-crafters.


The story covers every step in the process of creating grand concert piano L1037, and talks along the way with famous pianists about the qualities of a great instrument. But it’s the portrait of the factory as a melting pot of highly skilled craftsmen which sets the film apart; the love of work, exemplified by the factory workers and the artists they serve, is at the heart of the film’s vision.

Many documentaries have told the life story of a distinguished musician, recording early beginnings, influences, training, and the road to the success that has deemed the subject worthy of attention in the first place. But few, if any, have followed the life of a musical instrument, illuminating how it too has characteristics and idiosyncrasies that are integral collaborators in artistic creation.

Note By Note: The Making Of Steinway L1037 ABC1 – Sunday, June 28 at 3:00pm

Steinway pianos that are sold new in Australia are from Hamburg. This program outlines the making of those made in New York.

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