Stuart & Sons is a very special manufacturer of pianos based here in my home town of Newcastle. Interestingly, given the worldwide acclaim for the instruments manufactured here, it is amazing how few people in the local area would be aware or appreciate what is being produced.
So what sets a Stuart & Sons piano apart? The full story is best explored on the Stuart & Sons pianos website, however following are just a few points:
- The piano is described by the manufacturer as "a rare and beautiful instrument that respects tradition while embracing innovation"
- Concert pianist Vicky Yang has described playing the instrument as ''Like switching from fine food to delicacy. There is no return once you have tasted heaven.'' (from the Sydney Morning Herald article "Bespoke piano joins list of great Aussie inventions")
- The pianos are available in 97-note and 102-note variations, to enable the performer to use the full practical frequency range for the acoustic piano from CCC (16.3516Hz) to f5 (5587.6517Hz @ A 440.00Hz).
- This is a significantly broader range than the usual 88 notes of a standard 19th century acoustic piano. The 102 key model provides nine extra keys in the bass and five in the treble, while the 97 key model has four extra keys in the bass and five in the treble.
- To date, just five 102-key pianos have been made.
- The pianos can be custom ordered, allowing the selection of materials, combination of timbers, finishes, etc to be tailored to the performer's unique needs.
- In response to the question "Who buys a Stuart & Sons piano?", the website's FAQs state "A common thread that links our customers is their interest in innovation, science and the arts. They have a deep appreciation for aesthetics and what it takes to achieve excellence. Such understanding is often the product of having travelled a similar path in their own careers and they seek to reveal this through their choices and associations".
- To enhance the dynamic and harmonic possibilities of the piano, four pedals are used.
- They are obviously astounding and gorgeous instruments, with just over 50 of them around the world currently and taking around 12-15 months each to make.
- Love the instrument as I do, I'll need to keep dreaming for a while. Depending on the model and selected veneer, pre tax pricing can range from $150,000 to $300,000 AUD (approx $155,000 to $310,000 US).
A recent stunning example of the piano has been revealed by the Newcastle Art Gallery.
What a joy it would be to sit at one of these...!
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