Steinway & Sons goes Virtual with Lunch Concert Series
Lilya Zilberstein performs Sergej Taneyev’s Prelude and Fuge in G sharp minor Op. 29 in her picturesque home. (screenshot by Nevena Stanić Kovačević)
“What wings are to an eagle, what paws are to a lion, that is a Steinway to a pianist – almost a part or an extension of his body – an essential means of expressing his very being, his innermost thoughts and feelings, fantasies, and desires. Steinway is both the instrument and the object of art. How many times I thought there needn’t be any other pianos than Steinway – but, then, there really AREN’T any others. It is, for me, the best and the only one.” – pianist Kemal Gekic
In these times of pandemic, digital platforms have been providing a cherished open window into some of the most renowned institutions and their art collections and performances.
Reputed piano brand Steinway & Sons has been among those utilizing online platforms as a means of promotion and as a space to host community gatherings. Through a virtual Lunch Concerts series, Steinway has offered a taste of 19th-century salon music that has helped briefly interrupt the silence the world’s crisis initiated.
The project relied on the long tradition of lunchtime concerts in the Western world. Starting with afternoon musicianship at courts and, later in the 19th century, at bourgeoisie salons, lunchtime concerts became a part of major musical institutions such as the Berlin Philharmonic, The Concertgebouworkest Orchestra, and BBC Radio 3. People would take a break from work and, along with a nourishing meal for their bodies, they would nurture their minds and souls with music.
“When the lockdowns became inevitable, we set up Steinway’s Lunch Concerts as a platform for (Young) Steinway Artists, Spirio Artists and members of the Steinway Prizewinner Concerts Network in order to stay connected with their audiences. This project turned out to be enormously successful and helped many to overcome this challenging time,” according to the website.
Though Steinway is no longer uploading new videos, the past performances remain on the site for all to enjoy.
Having music available in a household once was reserved for exclusive members of society, who could afford such a luxury. Luckily, music has evolved, encouraging inclusivity, and has spilled out of wealthy patrons’ homes into concert halls, streets, restaurants, and our electronic devices.
“Because all of these things were online, a customer or prospect’s location became irrelevant. This project turned out to be enormously successful and helped many to overcome this challenging time,” said Anthony Gilroy, senior director of marketing at Steinway.
Gilroy is convinced that Steinway’s Lunch Concerts, in addition to its webinars and other programs, will positively impact its efforts in Miami. The Steinway gallery in Miami continues encouraging the cultural and classical music scene citywide.
“We have participated in things like Art Basel in the past, and we are active in supporting the arts in Miami, in general,” Gilroy said. “Pre-pandemic, we offered things like performances and master classes – usually free of charge – to those interested in attending.”
A significant number of Miami residents have participated in Steinway webinars, he said.
In post-pandemic times, Steinway Piano Gallery in Miami plans to continue with its activities, such as small performances and master classes, which Gilroy compared to the days of salon musicianship.
“I personally believe that this pandemic opened some doors that are going to remain open even after the pandemic itself is well in the rearview mirror,” he added. “We see distance learning becoming much more common and accelerating in acceptance, including for things like piano instruction.”
Anyone interested in getting on Steinway’s email list for events and promotions can visit Steinwaymiami.com and click on the “Stay in Touch” button at the bottom right of the page.
To view the Lunch Concerts, go to eu.steinway.com/en/a-legend/steinway-lunch-concerts.
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