May 1, 1989

  • In The New Republic magazine, music critic for the New York Times Edward Rothstein publishes a new article about Steinway & Sons, titled “Don’t Shoot the Piano”, where he again interviews Robert P. Birmingham: “It’s really different from selling oil; it’s black, but that’s about it.”
  • And Daniel T. Koenig: “I get uptight about advertising, and craftsmanship and things like that. To me, it doesn’t indicate quality, but a stubborness, holding on to the past. The design of the piano has been too damn stable. It hasn’t changed since 1920 or so, and neither have the manufacturing operations.”
  • This time, Edward Rothstein’s summary is ruthless: “For he first time in its history, the company is entirely guided by a philosophy alien to a century of piano invention and craft. [Steinway Musical Properties,] unburdened by historical precedents or historical knowledge [is] injuring the remnants of the artisan culture upon which Steinway’s virtues depend. […] The most knowledgeable practitioners are leaving the company or being dismissed.”