Should Steinway be the only game in town when it comes to pianos? In this article from Anne Midgette from the Washington Post, she explains the how Steinway has become nearly the eponymous for a good piano…and asks whether it should be.
For several generations of musicians and music lovers, Steinway has come to represent the acme of piano sound. Like Kleenex or Xerox, the name stands for a whole class of object. More than 98 percent of concert pianists choose to perform on Steinways, according to figures collected by, not surprisingly, Steinway itself.
In a field so reliant on nuance and subtlety as classical music, it’s striking that a single manufacturer should hold such sway. Especially since the brand may not actually be better than its competitors.
There are other manufacturers out there, but none have quite the following that Steinway has built. But is it truly deserving?
At the highest end of the piano spectrum, the differences between instruments are subtle: a $100,000 piano tends to make a pretty great sound, regardless of who built it. Indeed, connoisseurs may overstate the differences: A recent set of studies demonstrated that even soloists couldn’t always distinguish between a Stradivarius and a new violin.
Read more about options for pianos as well as the perspectives of several world-class pianists.