Our beloved Steinway returnsPosted on 1st Oct 2019 12:17:52 by Admin
It was about three years ago that we felt that our biggest asset, the Steinway Model D grand piano might be ready for some tender loving care.
Since 1973, since it was donated to the Hull Phil by Ideal Standard, it has been the instrument at the centre of piano concertos, recitals, festivals and choral concerts at this Hull City Hall. Mechanically speaking it has been regularly maintained by us and the City Council but now it has undergone a special programme of replacement and maintenance unlike any other in its 45-year history.
In July 2017 we obtained quotes for full replacement of the instrument, (£120,000) and for refurbishment (£25,000.) We did not have the resources for a new instrument but the Tyneside Piano Company in Ashington, Northumberland advised us of what was needed and were prepared to take on the job, needing 6-9 months to do it. They recommended a new action, the replacement of all felts and washers, the refurbishment of the soundboard and a new set of strings and tuning pins.
Christened by Rubinstein, played by Ashkenazy, Vasary, Donohoe, Roscoe, Taverna, BBC Young Musicians, Leeds Piano Competition finalists, Les Dawson, Victoria Wood, a host of young Hull Festival hopefuls and myriad accompanists, our beloved piano in May 2018, disappeared into a large van and headed north. It returned a year later and now we have the opportunity to welcome it back.
Here is a picture from the recital we put on to celebrate its return. Pianist Martin Roscoe delighted guests in this intimate performance. We estimate that Martin has played this piano with the Hull Philharmonic and other orchestras in this hall in excess of fifteen times. He is a loyal supporter of ours and the Hull Chamber Music Club. He was the co-founder of the Beverley Chamber Music Festival almost 30 years ago and remains their artistic director receiving an honorary doctorate from Hull University for his immense contribution to music in this area. Who better to ask to christen the renovated piano as a thank you to those who contributed?
The invited audience comprised guests of Hull Culture and Leisure, members of the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra and its committee, Friends and Patrons, supporters of the Hull City Hall Classics season and those who have contributed to the piano fund.
The restoration of the Steinway would not have been possible without the financial help we have received from many people.
Firstly, our partners at Hull City Council, Hull Culture and Leisure with whom we present the Orchestral Season, pledged up to £10,000 as equal users of the piano. That we did not need them to contribute all of that is because the public have shown such emotional connection to the cause, raising over £10,000 in their own right. The Hull Philharmonic Trust, an independent charity, pledged the same amount as the council which means our target of £25,000 was met within three months.
In fact, because of the generosity of all our partners, we have, in addition, been able to afford to have the case work re-polished and finished, we have re-engineered the storage lift to accommodate the improved but slightly higher castors, we have bought a new stool, as well as finding all that VAT that accompanies any project of this nature.
The donations varied in size and personal significance; a single fiver in an envelope thrust into the hand of a Steward was just as helpful as the anonymous cheque sent to us in memory of the donor’s wife. This piano in residence at Hull City Hall is part of so many memories in a lifetime of concert going and we’re sure that those under the age of twenty will cherish them too.
We also want to thank Mitch, Janice, Claire and Joanne of Hull Culture and Leisure for their continuing partnership. Here at Hull City Hall, Tony, Aiden, Richard and Lee have been unstinting in their professional pride in this instrument. We could not do what we do without them.
Thanks also to Bob Mitchell, Andrew Pate and the Executive Committee of the Hull Philharmonic for agreeing to back this necessary project.
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