Piano News Etc., Ken Hannah.com

Anderson and Roe in our home!
November 4, 2017, 9:51 pm
Filed under: The players, Uncategorized

So this amazing piano duo performed in Minnesota this summer at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival. Greg is from Stillwater and we have known him since he was in elementary school.   Ken always gets a call to ready his piano when he gets anywhere near home.  This summer though it wasn’t his own piano that was needed but the two pianists needed practice time together.   We offered our living room and the two S&S grands that are here in our home.    Upon returning from our “up north” vacation we were treated to a soiree concert in our living room.   SUCH an honor and such a thrill.  Need I say that the pianos have never sounded so spectacular!!   If anyone ever has an opportunity to see these artists live, run don’t walk.   Pure joy, pure talent, superlative music making.IMG_3733

The dedication of one of our Steinway & Son grands
January 18, 2013, 5:48 pm
Filed under: The players
Canvas, a concert series in LA

Canvas, a concert series in LA

Ken and I are  thrilled to be traveling to LA in February for the dedication of one of his Steinway rebuilds.   A beautiful model A, this piano is the one I spoke of in an earlier post, A Musical Bond; Sustaining Level.   The instrument was donated to Canvas by a very generous Minnesota pianist.  Besides being able to attend a Canvas event live and see the piano in her new home, Ken will be part of the program discussing piano restoration and fielding questions.   It’s our honor.

I’ve copied a snatch of what Lynn Hutchinson, founder of Canvas,  has publicized about the event:

“As many of you know, the beautiful piano that we have been able to enjoy this year as part of the Canvas experience was a gift from a patron. An entirely unexpected gesture coming out of a one-time meeting, his desire in giving me this gift was to bless you – the Canvas audience – with its beauty.

We are honoring this extraordinary act of generosity by creating the Canvas Da Capo Scholarship fund. All proceeds from this event will be collected and put aside to be given to a young professional-track musician in need of financial assistance for his or her studies.”

A musical bond; sustaining level.
August 17, 2012, 4:55 pm
Filed under: The players

Steinway & Sons “Lady” A

This post salutes our new friend Michael, his love of piano music and his generous heart.

We came to know an extremely ardent musician over this past year.  A player passionate about playing himself, discriminating about fine pianos and invigorated by all things musical.    Over the course of several months he infected us with his enthusiasm over pianos of all shapes and sizes.

In his enthusiasm Michael made a gift of this beautiful rebuilt S&S A to a friend of ours who lives in LA.  She, like Michael,  is passionate, discriminating and invigorated by all things musical.   She stands at the edge of launching a chamber music series called “Canvas” and in an unbelievably generous gesture, Michael offered this instrument in support of her creation.   Like the soirees of old,  Canvas now has a true patron.

A fairytale-like story like this one helps all who hear it believe in wild and wonderous potential happenings.    “Lady A” as she has been dubbed will be an inspiration to one very talented CA pianist and to musicians, amateur and professional, around the globe!

Michael, you’re one special man.

Note by Note
May 5, 2010, 4:43 pm
Filed under: The players

Ken and I both watched Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 this week.

As a player myself, as the owner of a Steinway & Sons L since shortly after my college graduation and *before* I had much to do with this piano guy, and as the lover of S&S CD 350, I wondered what took me so long to track this documentary down!   It’s a beautiful artistic presentation not only of complexity of building the highest quality instruments, but also the many facets of the “bonding” of players and instruments.   The ultimate, of course, is the “selection room” at S&S in New York.  Few players will have the opportunity to listen to the souls of those giant pianos played side by side.   Goes with the territory of the most esteemed accomplished pianists.    Ken and I both had the opportunity to play the pianos in the selection room of the Hamburg Steinway & Sons a few years ago though.  We toured the factory and Ken compared notes with several of the factory people.  A once in a lifetime opportunity.

Hamburg Steinway & Sons Selection Room

Piano teacher talk
September 9, 2009, 2:53 am
Filed under: The players


Ken addressed the September kick-off meeting of the St. Paul Piano Teachers today.  This is a serious professional group in the Twin Cities and there were many good questions.   In addition to talk about voicing, piano purchase and humidity issues, the group discussed keeping instruments in an inviting place in the home.   Who wants to be banished to the basement to practice!

Ken offered action parts to teachers who would be interested in sharing them with students.   Cool hands on stuff is never unappreciated!

Journey into the soul
June 14, 2009, 11:29 pm
Filed under: The players
The Mastery of Music by bassist Barry Green

The Mastery of Music by bassist Barry Green

Finally took time over Memorial Day to read this book given to me by my musician friend Lynn Hutchinson, http://www.songfaucet.com.   Green, author of The Inner Game of Music, interviews musicians of all sorts, Leonard Bernstein to Bobby McFerrin. He focuses  conversation on ten qualities he considers make these great musicians great.     Beyond artistry, way beyond technique, mastery in these areas takes these artists to almost indescribable realms of human depth.

The idea is that we would all like to go to those depths in life as well as in music.


Although I came away with some very specific practice and playing ideas, consideration of communication, courage, discipline, passion, concentration and confidence [add 4 more] and the part those attributes play in a well lived life is always, always worth reading about and studying.   Green suggests that the distance between good and great *is* one more of us could travel.

I will take away a goal to “manage a state where there is no audience, no me- everything is gone except the music”.

listen, listen, listen, hear, hear, hear, then get out of the way.

thanks for the inspiration lynn~!

Our saints
May 13, 2009, 6:22 pm
Filed under: The players
Hamburg Steinways in the selection room, Hamburg, Germany.   We visited there in January 2008.

Hamburg Steinways in the selection room, Hamburg, Germany. We visited there in January 2008.

aaah, the dreams that sometimes come true!

This is EXACTLY why I need a blog on this website.

Ken just tuned a piano this morning for a 94 year old woman who is now planning to trade in her Young Chang grand for a Steinway!

“but I don’t especially like the black ones!…..”

She has had 2 grand pianos and 3 organs in her living room most of her life. One of the grands now is at her grandson’s. MORE than that, one of the organs that she has is a Hammond B3 and she has 3 Leslie speakers. When Ken mentioned that our son Peter is into jazz organ playing she asked if he would be willing to come to her house to give her jazz lessons and help her get one of the speakers working!!!!!

WHAT AN INSPIRATION! I went straight to the piano to work on my Bach-Busoni Chaconne.