The Piano Technology Department is responsible for the care and maintenance of the school’s acoustic keyboard instrument collection. The Colburn School houses 170 keyboard instruments, dispersed between the Olive and Grand buildings, concert halls, dance studios, faculty teaching studios, practice rooms, rebuilding shop, and onsite storage.
The Colburn School’s philosophy on piano acquisition is to provide the greatest variety of high-end instruments to its students, teachers, and performers. Since pianos are integral to the learning experience at all levels, Colburn’s Piano Technology department is dedicated to providing high-level care to these instruments. The combination of top tier instruments, and the consistent, high-level care they receive, makes Colburn’s inventory of pianos among the finest in the world.
The fleet is composed of harpsichords, fortepianos, upright pianos, five to seven foot modern grand pianos, and nine-foot concert grands. The inventory includes piano manufacturers such as Steinway, Kawai, Fazioli, Yamaha, Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, Bluthner, among others.
Our piano technicians are responsible for the day-to-day service, maintenance, repair, and tuning of the School’s practice rooms, classrooms and teaching studios. Our Concert Piano Technician provides concert-level care of the instruments used in the School’s performance venues and piano teaching studios.
The majority of the School’s pianos are used heavily during the 8–9 month academic year. As our students have access to pianos for rehearsal 24/7, some instruments are in use more than 10 hours per day, requiring a minimum of weekly tuning and maintenance, as well as constant mechanical adjustments.
The level and consistency of service and maintenance is directly proportionate to the longevity and long-term quality of the instruments.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Piano Rebuilding Shop
The Department’s workshop is located in the Olive building and is used to repair, rebuild, restore, and recondition the School’s instruments. Much of the major restoration work is done during the summer months; the Department’s focus during the academic school year is on maintaining the fleet at its optimum level for rehearsal, teaching, and performance usage.
The Department rebuilds or restores an average of 3–5 pianos per year through a combination of in-house shop work and local piano rebuilders. Since the School’s pianos are manufactured by known, high-end brands, the Department has ready access to rebuilding materials, and most importantly, replacement parts.
As long as the piano rim, beams, and cast-iron plate are in excellent condition, a piano can be completely rebuilt and/or restored!