Without them, a Steinway is silent. But together, the artist and the piano create music - such beautiful music that most professional pianists will use only Steinway.
William Steinway was a man before his time or perhaps more accurately a marketing trailblazer. Long before famous baseball players endorsed breakfast cereals, William Steinway knew the value of name recognition. There could be nothing better, he thought, than to have pianists like the famed Anton Rubinstein endorsing Steinway & Sons-a company still building its now impenetrable, concrete wall of a reputation
It was the success of Rubinstein's musical collaboration with Steinway that began the tradition, which endures even today, as music's most renowned pianists select and play exclusively on the Steinway piano.
It's unknown whether William Steinway intended for the list of Steinway Artists to grow as long as it has. Regardless, it now includes over 1500 names of active performers like Billy Joel, as well as past legends from decades ago, like Ignance Jan Paderewski.
Today, more than 98 percent of the world's active concert pianists - over 1,700 artists (2015) - bear the title "Steinway Artist". Each owns a Steinway. All choose to perform on Steinway pianos exclusively. Importantly, none are paid to do so; their only inducement is the unrivaled sound and responsiveness of their Steinway pianos.
In North America, artists select their Steinway for concert performances from the company's unique "piano bank," an inventory of more than 300 pianos valued at over $15 million and are maintained to concert standards by an exclusive network of Steinway dealers. The famed "basement" of New York's Steinway Hall, at 109 West 57th Street in New York City, is the bank's home office. Piano banks are maintained at Steinway dealerships in cities throughout the country to serve performing artists. In all other countries, major concert venues in each town own Steinway & Sons instruments which the artist can use.
Below are quotes from selected Steinway Artists. Read for yourself what some of the world's greatest artists say about what makes a Steinway & Sons piano their instrument of choice.
"Dear Mr. Steinway,
I am very happy to have the opportunity of using your pianos for my concerts because I consider them to be perfect in every way.
"I am happy that the Steinway has been my faithful and inseparable friend since the inception of my concert career."
"Sincere thanks for the incomparably beautiful Steinway Grand, which certainly is worthy of a better piano player than,
"Sometimes a Steinway plays better than the pianist, and it is then a marvelous surprise."
"Steinway is the only piano on which the pianist can do everything he wants. And everything he dreams."
"When one plays a Steinway, there is a warmth and nobility in the sound that is unequalled by any other instrument."
"I want to make music. That means I prefer the Steinway piano."
"The Steinway piano is the most harmonious implement for musical intention. It completes what is beautiful and artistic."
"A Pianist without a Steinway, for me, is the same as a singer without a voice."
"The Steinway piano - with its beauty and power - is the perfect medium for expressing the performer's art, drama and poetry."
"With a tone so rich, I would never be afraid of the dark. Steinway is the only and the best!"
Harry Connick, Jr.
"I have looked to the Steinway piano since I was three, not only as my ideal choice of an instrument. But, as a responsive and ever reliable friend."
"I have long admired Steinway pianos for their qualities of tone, clarity, pitch consistency, touch responsiveness, and superior craftsmanship."
"I wish to thank Steinway for its wonderful pianos which I've been privileged to play in all my concerts. There is no piano like it in the world."
"It is a privilege and an honor to perform on Steinway pianos."
"I insist on a Steinway for my recordings, my concerts and my home. It is the only piano I want to hear my music played on."
"The Steinway pianos of today are the finest I have ever played."
"I choose to play the Steinway because of its wonderful clarity, tonal diversity and the wide dynamic range that it enables me to achieve."
"I have owned and played a Steinway all my life. It's the best Beethoven piano. The best Chopin piano. And the best Ray Charles piano. I like it, too."
"The more I hear its nuances of sounds, the more I realize the wealth of colors only a Steinway piano can produce."
"I choose the Steinway piano because of its rich depth of tone, gigantic range of timbres, and the unique individuality of each instrument."
"The Steinway is ideal for expressiveness, subtle tone coloring and projections of sound."
"Steinway is the finest piano ever made. Its tone is magnificent and its well-balanced action superb."
"Only my loyal Steinway piano endures. Be it beaten or caressed, its gorgeous tone remains."
"My friendship with the Steinway piano is one of the most important and beautiful things in my life."