My first experience with pianos and organs was as a teenager in the 1960’s, working with my father restoring instruments in churches and theaters. During this time I performed, gave lessons and studied piano and organ. Our family moved from or NJ home to the Chicago area where I began my studies as an organist and choirmaster, receiving a degree in liturgical music from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. However, during my schooling I realized I was not well suited to be a church musician.
It was after I had graduated that I decided to go into business and rented my first shop in Oak Park, Illinois where I gave lessons and rekindled my love for technical work. After five years in that small shop I moved the operation to larger quarters where rebuilding and refinishing pianos could be done on a “grand” scale.
During the 1980’s the Muse Piano Workshop expanded into an adjacent store and built a showroom for our Story & Clark Piano dealership. We had 11 employees tuning, servicing, rebuilding and selling pianos. Integrated into this was a refinishing business where we refinished furniture as well as pianos. In 1988 we learned that the building where our shop had been located for 12 years, was being sold and that the new owner of the building wanted the retail space for himself. I decided this would be a good time to downsize so I kept just the in-home and concert tuning part of the business, moved my office into our home and built a reputation for quality service.
Over the years we spent many enjoyable holidays in Vermont with my wife’s relatives and had always dreamed of being able to live and work there. In late-1989 we decided that we would move to Vermont the following summer. During that summer I started to build some wonderful relationships with clients, many of who are still with me today. Currently I enjoy and am fortunate to have relationships with some of Vermont’s leading music making venues such as: the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, The Vermont Youth Orchestra, The University of Vermont, St. Michael’s College, the Flynn Center for the Arts, Flynn Space and Vermont Public Radio. I am also fortunate to have two beautiful women in my life: my wife Vikki and my daughter Emily. Both are very active musicians. My daughter has relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area where she will continue her teaching and performing for new audiences who, I am positive, will love her as much as her Vermont fans do!
I am often asked: “Tuning pianos is a very interesting hobby. What do you do for your real job?” That question used to annoy me, but nowadays I just smile, pat them on the head and give them my bill. Yes, tuning pianos day in and day out, six days a week can get pretty monotonous. But I do have other interests that keep me busy . . . like singing, cooking and fine wine - especially the art of wine pairing. If you need a suggestion for what wine to serve with dinner tonight, or want to know a really great wine to give as a gift, give me call!
No. Really. Give me a call.
I have the pleasure of introducing Emily Roth as my assistant. She has been working with me on major rebuilding projects in my shop and in the field for 3 years. These include overhauls to the pianos at the Flynn Center for the Arts, the UVM Recital Hall and the beautiful Mason & Hamlin piano at the Alumni House.
Emily will be my alternate tuner, taking clients that I cannot get to in a timely manner.
Emily Roth is an active member of the Piano Technician's Guild and has trained extensively in local, regional and national Guild educational opportunities. Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Emily previously received a B.A in Music (Piano Performance) from Allegheny College, studying with Dr. Alec Chien. In addition to caring for pianos in central Vermont for the past several years she has also worked locally as a private piano instructor and performer.