It is quite hard to make an upgrade. As I am writing this on a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town I am more than aware of how sometimes the leap to the next level seems impossible. The Atterbury Theatre is one of Pretoria’s most successful theatres with a wide selection of Afrikaans and English music, plays, dance, school and corporate events and is quite prevalent as a recording venue.
The existing piano, which was bought when the theatre was built nine years ago, was quite a good instrument that satisfied most performers and artists, but recently the management of the theatre felt the need to upgrade to a new Steinway & Sons grand piano.
I was fortunate enough to undertake a trip to the Steinway & Sons factory in Hamburg, Germany to select a new piano for the theatre. This 165-year-old company is the world’s leader in pianos and any visit to this unique location is testimony to this fact. For the selection I was accompanied by well-known pianist and representative of the theatre, Matthys Maree, and we were left alone in the selection hall for about two hours to make a decision. As a Steinway Artist this visit to the inner sanctum of pianos and the opportunity to choose the best instrument that money can buy was an enormous privilege. We had a choice of three model C-227 concert grand pianos. All three were quite similar, yet unique regarding individual quality and performance. The signature Steinway sound was evident in all three, but we chose the middle piano, which had the biggest, most resonant and colourful sound palette.
This magnificent instrument arrived in Pretoria two weeks after the selection date and will be inaugurated on 26 August 2019 where six pianists will perform on both the new and the old piano. For the one instrument it will be a well-deserved farewell and for the other it marks the dawn of a new era.