Steinway Hall

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The rotunda of the Steinway Hall on 57th Street in New York City with artist Mia LaBerge's Madison Bluestone art case piano in the foreground
Spectators buying tickets for a Charles Dickens reading at Steinway Hall, New York City, in 1867

Steinway Hall (German: Steinway-Haus) is the name of buildings housing concert halls, showrooms and sales departments for Steinway & Sons pianos. The first Steinway Hall was opened 1866 in New York City.1 Today, Steinway Halls and Steinway-Häuser are located in world cities such as New York City, London, Berlin and Vienna. A flagship Steinway Hall is on 57th Street in Manhattan in New York City, near Carnegie Hall.2

Related concepts by Steinway include Steinway Piano Galleries, Homes of Steinway, Steinway Rooms and Steinway Salons; these buildings have all the same features as Steinway Halls but are smaller.

New York City

#71-73 East 14th Street

Steinway Hall, 14th Street in New York City

In 1864, William Steinway built elegant showrooms housing over 100 Steinway & Sons pianos on East 14th Street, between University Place and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. During the next two years, demand for Steinway pianos had increased dramatically. Construction of the first Steinway Hall was pushed by the need for expansion, increased promotion, and better presentation of pianos and music culture through regular live performances. William Steinway carried planning and construction of the first Steinway Hall with the full support and cooperation from the City of New York. The concert hall was designed with 2,000 seats, and had a concert stage for a full 100-piece symphony orchestra.

It was built in 1866 behind the showrooms on 14th Street in Manhattan and was one of the first concert halls for wider audiences in New York. Four days after the Academy of Music in 14th Street few blocks away burned down to the ground, on May 22, 1866, William Steinway laid the first stone of the Steinway Hall building. Its four floors had enough space to fit in a showroom for more than 100 pianos, the concert hall and rooms for piano lessons. The hall and the other rooms were illuminated with over 700 gaslights. The ground floor was occupied by the showroom and the office. The first floor there was taken by the concert hall. With 2,500 seats at that time it was one of the biggest halls in the city of New York, becoming soon one of the cultural centers of the United States.3

The First Steinway Hall was also the home for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for 25 years, from 1866 to 1891, until Carnegie Hall was opened in 1891. William Steinway recognized that it would be good for piano sales, if famous piano artists have a place to play on Steinway pianos, and also take a Steinway piano on a concert tour. In 1872, Steinway & Sons organised an unprecedented concert tour of 215 performances in 239 days for the Russian virtuoso pianist Anton Rubinstein. Rubinstein's legendary concert at the Steinway Hall was sold out with 3.000 guests, many of them standing. One concert on Saturday night, sells pianos on Monday morning was one of William Steinway's sayings. Cultural highlights included performances of such artists as Fritz Kreisler, Walter Damrosch, Jenny Lind, readings of Charles Dickens and performances of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Steinway Hall, as the center of New York's cultural life, attracted more customers to Steinway showrooms. The marketing idea was so successful for Steinway & Sons, that competition forced other piano manufacturers, such as the Aeolian Company and Chickering and Sons to build their own concert halls, the Aeolian Hall and Chickering Hall in New York. Other piano companies also invested in renowned stars tours in the United States, such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who was invited on a two-month US tour in 1891, by piano maker Wm. Knabe & Co. Around the same time, concert halls were also built in Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.

#109-113 West 57th Street

Entrance of the Steinway Hall, 57th Street in New York City

The new Steinway Hall opened on January 11, 1925 across the street from the Carnegie Hall on 57th Street, between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue in New York City. The new Steinway building replaced the old Steinway Hall, which was closed in the same year.

Steinway & Sons sales and marketing departments saw business benefits in having their piano showrooms near Carnegie Hall. Steinway pianos were played at both the intimate New Steinway Hall and the cavernous Carnegie Hall across 57th Street. The New Steinway Hall also introduced its own recording studio and technical equipment to broadcast classical music over the radio.4 The official opening night was on October 27, 1925 with a performance by Willem Mengelberg and 35 musicians from the New York Philharmonic before 300 invited guests of New York society. The entire performance was broadcast over the radio. Among the invited guests were musicians, media, industrialists and politicians.5 The Steinway family was represented by Frederick T. (Steinway & Sons president until 1927), Henry Ziegler, Theodore E. (Steinway & Sons president from 1927-1955), and William R. Steinway; all were grandchildren of the company founder Henry E. Steinway. Among other notable performances at the new Steinway Hall was the 1928 duo piano recital by Vladimir Horowitz and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

In 1958, Steinway Hall was sold together with the land, and Steinway & Sons rented the rooms. In May 1999, Steinway bought back the building for approximately $62 million, but the land could only be rented for 99 years from the former owner who chose to retain ownership of the land.6

Steinway Hall on 57th Street was designated a registered historic and cultural landmark in 2001.78 The building was designed by Warren & Wetmore.9 The exterior features a bas-relief of Apollo and a musical muse by Leo Lentelli located in the lunette above the grand window at ground level. The main room, a two-story rotunda, features high domed ceilings, handpainted by Paul Arndt. The interior design is appointed with marble and portraits of composers and concert artists. Some valuable paintings are showcased throughout Steinway Hall, by such renowned artists as Rockwell Kent, N.C. Wyeth, Leopold Seyffert and Charles Chambers. Next gallery celebrates five generations of Steinway memorabilia, including design innovations, awards, and "fan mail" from luminaries like Thomas Edison. The main rotunda seats up to 300 guests and a small symphony orchestra. The showrooms are covered with wood panels for better acoustics. Steinway Artist Department, Steinway's sales and marketing departments, as well as the Steinway Service Department, are still operating in the same building. In the basement of Steinway Hall is a concert grand piano bank: an exclusive collection of Steinway concert grand pianos, maintained for the use in live concerts as well as for studio recordings by performing artists.

In 1997, Steinway Artist Jeffrey Biegel performed the first classical music recital transmitted live over the internet with audio and video, sent from Steinway Hall in New York City.10

At the end of June 2013 Steinway & Sons announced, that they sold the leasehold interest in the Steinway Hall on 57th Street to a partnership led by JDS DevelopmentGroup for $46.3 million in cash. They will stay there until late 2014 and are looking for new premises in the meantime.11

Chicago

Steinway Hall (1896-1970) was a theater, and later cinema, located at 64 E. Van Buren Street, Chicago, IL.12 It had at least 14 different name changes over the years, opening in 1896 as the Steinway Hall, and closing in the late 1960s as Capri Cinema.

London

Steinway Hall in London

The Steinway Hall in London was opened in 1875 and became the first Steinway Hall in Europe. It has showrooms as well as several practice rooms available for musicians of all ages. The "piano bank" at London's Steinway Hall consists mostly of Hamburg Steinways, and also has a few New York Steinways D-274, in order to satisfy a greater range of performing artists.

Vienna

Steinway-Haus in Vienna

The Steinway-Haus in Vienna on the 'Ring' is one of the boutique Steinway showrooms that caters to entertainers in Austria and Central Europe. Besides the showrooms, the Steinway Haus in Vienna has several practice rooms and music classes open for students of all ages to polish their performing skills. The Steinway Concert department has a "piano bank" of Hamburg Steinways. The Steinway-Haus of Vienna has been the main supplier of concert grand pianos to classical venues, as well as other entertainment centers in the capital of Austria.

Hamburg

In 1953, the Steinway-Haus was opened on the "Colonnade" street in Hamburg. In 2003, the 50th anniversary of Steinway Haus Hamburg was marked by a series of concerts of classical and popular music performed by numerous guest stars as well as by local musicians. Today Steinway-Haus in Hamburg has a concert hall, several showrooms, and practice rooms available for children as well as adults to study music. Over 100 Steinway, Boston and Essex pianos are housed in the 5-story building. The Steinway-Haus has a "piano bank" of Hamburg Steinway pianos maintained and available for use in concerts and studio recordings by guests as well as by local entertainers. The 125th anniversary of the Hamburg Steinway factory was marked by a large-scale festival of music, held on April 17, 2005.

Munich

The Steinway-Haus in Munich was acquired in 2000, it was formerly named Pianohaus Lang, which was an old Steinway dealership partner. It is located in the historic part of the city and plays a role in the cultural life of Bavaria and its capital. It has a miniature concert hall, showrooms and practice rooms for students of all ages to study music. The "piano bank" has mainly Hamburg Steinway pianos maintained and available for local entertainers and touring performers.

Berlin

The Steinway-Haus in Berlin is one of boutique centers of music and entertainment, it has its own place in the cultural life of the German capital. Since its opening in 1909, the Steinway-Haus in Berlin has been through many dramatic events of history, it was re-opened in 1948 in the ex-house of the pianist Josef Hofmann in the Hardenbergstraße No.9. Today Steinway-Haus in Berlin has a miniature concert hall, several showrooms, and practice rooms available for children as well as adults to study music. Over 80 Steinway, Boston and Essex pianos are housed in the 3-story building. The Steinway-Haus has a "piano bank" of Hamburg Steinway pianos maintained and available for use in concerts and studio recordings by guests as well as by local entertainers.

Newer Steinway Halls

Steinway Hall and showrooms opened in Seoul, Korea, catering to performers and musicians of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and the Kangnam University, which is also an All-Steinway School. Steinway & Sons main showroom recently opened in Beijing, China, where UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lang Lang introduced his own branded line of pianos designed by Steinway & Sons, to the audience of Beijing society and media. The 65th Steinway Children and Youth Competition was recently held in Beijing. Today, additional forms of Steinway & Sons sales venues are located in Shanghai, China, and Tokyo.

References

  1. ^ http://www.steinwayshowrooms.com/about-us/steinway-history
  2. ^ http://www.steinwayshowrooms.com/steinway-hall/about
  3. ^ Heinrich Steinweg. in: Meyers Konversationslexikon. Bd 15. Leipzig 1888, S.280.
  4. ^ Steinway Hall opening concert
  5. ^ Times Artikel
  6. ^ "POSTINGS: $62 Million for 57th Street Structure and Lease on Land; Steinway Buys Its Building". The New York Times. May 30, 1999. 
  7. ^ Dolkart, Andrew S. & Postal, Matthew A.: Guide to New York City Landmarks; Third Edition: The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; John Wiley & Sons, Inc; 2004. P. 126.
  8. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/emilio_guerra/4504681121/
  9. ^ White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot; AIA Guide to New York City, 4th Edition; New York Chapter, American Institute of Architects; Crown Publishers/Random House. 2000. ISBN 0-8129-3106-8; ISBN 0-8129-3107-6. p.267.
  10. ^ Rosenblum, Ira (July 8, 1997). "Live Video Is Joining Sound on the Web". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 
  11. ^ Reuters: Kohlberg to buy grand piano maker Steinway for $438 mln, July 1, 2013
  12. ^ Bryan Krefft. "Capri Cinema". Retrieved May 10, 2012. 







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