What makes a piano a Steinway?

Global Business

Steinway & Sons is the world's dominant maker of high-end pianos

Steinway & Sons is the world’s dominant maker of high-end pianos and is the most represented brand in piano schools around the Western world.

They are also the piano of choice for many successful concert pianists and those who aspire to greatness.

CCTV America’s Karina Huber looked into what makes the brand so coveted.

What makes a piano a Steinway?

Steinway & Sons is the world’s dominant maker of high-end pianos and is the most represented brand in piano schools around the Western world. They are also the piano of choice for many successful concert pianists and those who aspire to greatness. CCTV America’s Karina Huber looked into what makes the brand so coveted.

The Steinway & Sons factory in New York City opened in the early 1870s. Today, Steinway says there are roughly 300 craftspeople who complete the assembly of six Steinway pianos per day. The process from beginning to end takes almost a year.

All of Steinway’s upright and grand pianos made here are shipped to customers in the Americas. A second factory in Hamburg, Germany caters to the rest of the world.

Steinways are known as the Rolls Royce of pianos and their prices reflect that. They range from $30,000 for an upright piano to $165,000 for a concert grand.

But are they the best? It depends on whom you ask.

Stephen Carver is Senior Piano Technician at the Juilliard School in New York. Julliard has the largest number of Steinways of any music school around the world, and Carver says there’s a reason for that.

“Their sound is unique. There are other great pianos being built, but Steinway has slight nuances or differences of sound from the most intimate warm playing to the crashing Rachmaninoff kind of playing. Their pianos deliver.”

Sara Faust doesn’t just play Steinways. She sells them. Faust says other brands like Fazioli and Bosendorfer are just as good. She says the perception that Steinways are better is partly a matter of marketing.

“Steinway was the first to promote artists and give pianos to artists and have them perform on stage on their pianos and so it became the piano that people saw on stage where big name artists were playing. So the name became well-known.”

Steinway artists include Lang Lang, Harry Connick Jr, and Billy Joel.

And what about used Steinways? The company says they hold their value, though Faust says it depends on which one you own. She and other piano experts say the best investments are older Steinways made in Hamburg-valued for the quality of their wood and craftsmanship

The Steinways found in China are made in the Hamburg plant. While at the New York factory Karina Huber sat down with Steinway & Sons CEO Ronald Losby – a pianist himself who studied at the famed Juilliard School.

The Steinway brand is celebrating 12 years in China. So Karina began by asking Losby about the company’s strategy there.

Steinway & Sons CEO Ronald Losby

The Steinways found in China are made in the Hamburg plant. While at the New York factory Karina Huber sat down with Steinway & Sons CEO Ronald Losby - a pianist himself who studied at the famed Juilliard School. The Steinway brand is celebrating 12 years in China. So Karina began by asking Losby about the company's strategy there.