About the Steinway
The Byron Community Centre took ownership of the Steinway Orchestral Concert Grand, known as the ‘D’ model, in 2004. There is only one other D in northern NSW and that one is privately owned. Steinway D’s are 8’11” long.
Our Steinway (number 498225) was built in late 1986 or early 1987 in Hamburg, Germany. Steinway commenced making handmade pianos in 1853 in New York and opened their Hamburg workshop in 1880 by which time the Steinway Company was recognised as one of the great innovators in piano design. Pianos from the Hamburg and New York workshops are almost identical from a mechanical point of view and have only minor differences in appearance.
In 2004 Margot Dodds, President of the Byron Music Society, along with the then manager of the Byron Community Centre, Cassandra Parkinson, both musicians, realised that if they were to bring great pianists to Byron they could only do so if the theatre contained a fine instrument for them to play. Mullumbimby piano tuner and passionate grand piano expert, Norman Appel, joined the team and fundraising began. The hope was that over a period of a year or so around $50,000 would be raised. To their surprise, the fundraising went off with a bang. Musicians like Wendy Dixon, Sydney pianist David Miller and harpsichordist Paul Thom put on fundraising concerts. $50,000 was raised in no time …
Our Steinway has been played by nearly every major pianist in Australia including Simon Tedeschi, Nuawanda Colerdige, David Helfgott and Roger Woodward.
Roger described it as “one of the three best concert pianos in Australia“. David Helfgott has played it professionally several times and was the first pianist to play it in the Byron Community Center’s Hall, BPART.
Simon Tedeschi states that “The piano at the Byron Theatre is fantastic. Pianos have a sweet spot after about 10 or 20 years they really begin to get worked in and that’s the case with the Steinway at the Byron Theatre. It’s a beautiful instrument and I love playing it. It has that perfect balance between a scintillating sparkling sound but also of a singing sound.“