There might be no better way to christen a new music venue than to hold a concert with some of the world’s most accomplished musicians. PianoCraft in Gaithersburg, Maryland did just that on May 18 when they hosted the inaugural performance of The Steingraeber Series, the special concert series held at Rothenberg Hall, their new concert venue.
Event organizer Shaun Tirrell says the evening featured “gourmet food and world-class wine and champagne.” The main attractions of the night, though, were performances from Italian American jazz pianist Julio Fonseca while welcoming guests, and the night’s main artist, South Korean pianist Choong-Mo Kang.
PianoCraft employee Allen Rothenberg says Kang put on a fantastic show, and had no problem engaging in “delightful interaction” with the reception guests after his performance.
Kang received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Peabody Conservatory, where he was also appointed as piano faculty. He is currently a faculty member at the Juilliard School and a visiting professor at Toho Gakuen School of Music and Showa University, both in Tokyo. Kang has won many awards, including the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition and the Louise D. McMahon Competition.
Critics from around the world have lauded his numerous international performances. Kang has played with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, at Carnegie Weill Hall and The Sydney Opera House, and with the leading orchestras of South Korea, among others.
Kang even undertook a five-year mission to master and perform all of Johann Sebastian Bach’s works for the keyboard, a collection of well over 200 musical pieces. He has recorded Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Inventions and Sinfonias, The Well-Tempered Clavier and other classical works.
PianoCraft’s concert series is named after the Steingraeber piano factory in Bayreuth, Germany. The company, founded in 1852, is known for many improvements upon piano construction, as well as a piano made for physically challenged players who lack the use of their legs and are unable to work the pedals of a standard piano. Udo Steingraeber, sixth-generation owner of the factory, even made an appearance at the concert, traveling from Germany for the event.
PianoCraft itself is well-known around the country as a piano rebuilding and designing firm, tuning service, and sales business. Their technicians have prepared pianos for dozens of soloists, ensembles, and venues as well as educational and religious institutions. Their clients have included Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Youth Orchestra of the Americas, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Johns Hopkins University, The Washington Conservatory of Music, The White House, the Smithsonian museum, Navy and Marine bands, several embassies, and hundreds of private clients.
Rothenberg says they used direct mail, personal invitations, press releases, e-mail, and phone calls to promote the event. He feels that the personal phone calls from the PianoCraft staff and word of mouth were most effective in getting people excited about the concert.
Rothenberg believes that the planning of an event like this depends on timely action and attention to detail. “You cannot begin [working on your event] too early,” he says, and “there is no such thing as a minor detail.”