Seiler Concert Grand chosen for Atlanta Music Festival Special Event


For 12 years now, the Atlanta Music Festival has revived a musical tradition in Atlanta that dates back more than 100 years.  The directors of the festival use music and cultural events to share the history, celebrate progress, and shape the future of race relations in America.  Today’s event was an outstanding display of these ideas brought to action by engaging 500 of Atlanta’s school children in an historic event.

In 1900, an original song premiered in Jacksonville, Florida in celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.  “Lift Every Voice And Sing” was first performed by 500 local school children, and its success was more than anyone could have anticipated.  The song’s author, James Weldon Johnson along with his brother John Rosamund Johnson, who wrote the music, saw their song quickly spread, eventually becoming the anthem for NAACP in 1921.  The beautiful verse and uplifting message resonated with so many involved in changing civil rights in America.

Today, the directors of Atlanta Music Festival recreated that premier at Ebenezer Baptist Church with 500 of Atlanta’s school children singing this historic anthem in their new sanctuary.  For this special event, the church’s regular piano was not ready to lead this chorus, so AMF Music Director Steven Darsey selected a Seiler concert grand piano from PianoWorks.  Handcrafted in Kitzingen, Germany, the 9’2” Seiler model SE278CO is among the elite pianos of the world.

To host the event, Atlanta news anchor Brenda Wood shared stories from her family and the role that music played to create opportunities.  One of her ancestors was a slave and prohibited from learning to read but was allowed to learn to read music, a skill that became precious.  Brenda also introduced other AMF leaders including Artistic Director, Dwight Andrews, Assistant Director of James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory, Kali-Ahset Amen, Tenor for Atlanta Opera, Timothy Miller, and pianist & Brenau professor, Ben Leaptrott.

After stories, history, and a wonderful solo from Timothy Miller, it was time for the children to rise and sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.  The chorus of 500 children brought smiles and a few tears to the rest of us in the room.

would like to thank all of this program’s organizers for creating and executing such an impactful event.  It is an honor to be a small part of this lasting memory for 500 of Atlanta’s future citizens.

Colette Keogh wins HM hydraulic piano bench in GMTA raffle

Every year for over 20 years now, PianoWorks has donated a premium artist bench to raise funds at Georgia Music Teachers’ Association annual conference for student music scholarships.  This year, PianoWorks donated a Hidrau Model hydraulic piano bench, seen on stages around the world.  The winner of this year’s raffle was Colette Keogh, a piano teacher in Augusta.  Congratulations to Colette and to GMTA for the scholarship funds they raised.

PianoWorks sells and distributes Hidrau Model (HM) hydraulic benches in the US.  Contact us to learn more about these premium artist benches.

August 1st Arrives: Piano Teachers Line up for Spring Recital Bookings

August 1st is an important date for local piano teachers.  It marks the day when we open our calendar for the following Spring to book PianoWorks Recital Hall.  Every year, our recital hall is chosen for hundreds of events including piano student recitals, concerts, master classes, piano teacher workshops, student auditions, student exams, winners’ recitals, and increasingly film and recording projects.  While these events mark the calendar throughout the year, Spring is traditionally the busiest time for piano student recitals.

Friends and family join each student in our 120 seat hall to hear their practiced pieces, celebrate music, and mark the passing year’s progress.  With so many area teachers wanting their first choice for the prized times, signup day has become an unusual event.  We open early (8:30 am this year) to give first priority to teachers who line up.  Phone bookings begin with our regular hours at 10:00 am, but only after all in-person bookings are complete.  We offer refreshments to the teachers at signup.

Interestingly, we learn that the line begins to form in the parking earlier this year.  Last year’s first-in-line showed up early again this year at 4:00 am only to find out she was 4th in line.  We hope their students appreciate these dedicated teachers and the extra sleep they give up to get the most convenient Spring recital times.

There are still Spring recital times available, so please contact us to host your next piano event.  Take a virtual tour of our facility even before you visit.

Grotrian Piano Company receives Quality Certificate

Dekra, globally recognized certification organization, has audited and has certified Grotrian Piano Company GmbH as ISO 9001:2008.  This certification states that Grotrian Piano Company has established and maintains a quality management system in the areas of Development, Construction, Production & Service of musical instruments, particularly grand and upright pianos.

What does this mean for you?  Grotrian has developed a lasting reputation for producing the highest quality pianos in the world.  The are consistently rated highest in performance quality and prestige.  Not satisfied to rest on this reputation, Grotrian invited auditors to take a clinical look at their processes for quality and efficiency right on their factory floor in Germany.  They received this prestigious certificate for what they do every day.

2015 marks the 180th Anniversary of Grotrian Pianos (established 1835).  They continue to be one of the oldest family owned piano makers in the world.  For your next piano, consider Grotrian grand or upright pianos available at PianoWorks.

Local Piano Teacher Wins HM Hydraulic Artist Bench in Raffle

Congratulations to Robin Engleman, local piano teacher and winner of Hidrau Model hydraulic piano bench at GMTA 2014.  Each year, PianoWorks has donated a premium artist bench for the GMTA to raise funds for their scholarships and general fund.  This year, the prize was a Hidrau Model (HM) hydraulic piano bench.  This makes at least 20 years that PianoWorks has supported Georgia Music Teachers Association in this way.

“Dear Sam,

Thank you so much for the HM bench. We were able to generate $880 to donate to the Music Teacher National Association Foundation Fund during 2014 GMTA Conference. This year, Robin Engleman of Gwinnett County Music Teachers Association was the luck winner.

Here is the picture of the drawing.

Rwei Hao
MTNA Foundation Georgia State Chair”

Red Clay Music Foundry Grand Opening

The Red Clay Theater in Duluth, home of Eddie Owens Presents, has now transformed into the Red Clay Music Foundry.  This new collaborative effort brings veteran musicians together with young artists and beginner students in a unique environment.  With this focus on live music and lessons in downtown Duluth, PianoWorks and Halun USA decided to support this effort.

Two years ago when Eddie Owens Presents to residence in the Red Clay Theater, PianoWorks & Hailun USA worked to bring in a grand piano for all of the local & national artists lining up to play.  The Hailun grand piano was a key piece to the venue’s attraction.  Eddie Owen brought in the musicians and Red Clay breathed new life, but this was only the beginning.  Decades before, Eddie’s vision began from his years working with so many musicians for a place that would foster collaboration between artists.  With the Red Clay Music Foundry, combining a music school with a performance venue has created that nexus in our community in downtown Duluth.

With established partners Gwinnett School of Music and Camp Jam, and numerous sponsors like PianoWorks and Hailun USA, the Music Foundry was built.  Upstairs is the main stage, right on main street.  Downstairs is the music school, recording labs and collaborative spaces where artists can come to learn life skills (like writing a P&L statement) as well as music skills.  PianoWorks and Hailun USA are also supplying Hailun pianos for piano and vocal lessons as part of the music school.  Hailun pianos, now 2-time reigning “Acoustic Piano Line of the Year” will foster musicians on stage and in studios at the Red Clay Music Foundry.

Red Clay Music Foundry –
Eddie Owen Presents –
Gwinnett School of Music –
Camp Jam –

Hailun USA –
Click for more photos of the Grand Opening.

photos courtesy of Lou Raimondi Photography –


Hidrau Model names PianoWorks as a US Distributor for Hydraulic Piano Benches

Hidrau Model (HM) has named PianoWorks a US distributor for their premium hydraulic piano benches.  Hidrau Model’s hydraulic piano bench models are featured on so many of Europe’s stages and concert halls as the first choice for artists.  Made exclusively in Spain, their hydraulic benches offer steel construction and premium vinyl or leather upholstery, suitable for heavy-duty placements.  Their comfort and contemporary European style make them a favorite alternative to heavy, mechanical benches of the past.  PianoWorks wishes to introduce this competative alternative to existing adjustable piano benches to more US universities, conservatories, performance halls, recording studios and professional users.

The hydraulic piano bench comes in 3 styles:

  • Standard 30″ width with premium vinyl top (BM-45H)
  • Extra-wide 43″ Duet with premium vinyl top (BM-45HL)
  • Standard 30″ width with premium leather top (BM-45H Leather)

The Extra-wide 43″ Duet bench is currently the widest adjustable piano bench on the market (most others are 32″ – 36″).

shown: Extra-Wide 43″ Adjustable Duet Bench

Close-up photos reveal the leather-like look and texture of the premium vinyl tops.  Only a side-by-side comparison reveals the difference in leather on the Standard 30″ models.  All models feature tops with supportive, ergonomic, extra-firm foam with a slight forward angle for best playing posture.

shown: Premium Vinyl Top with leather-like texture

As a US distributor, inquiries for institutional pricing or dealer & retail opportunities can be directed to PianoWorks here.  What institutions in the US are already using HM hydraulic piano benches?  Here is just a small sample of repeat customers:

  • Florida State University
  • University of Texas – Austin
  • University of Georgia
  • Spivey Hall (Clayton State)
  • Auburn University
  • The Juilliard School

*The HM Hydraulic bench is actually a misnomer.  It uses a superior Pneumatic mechanism with compressed air to facilitate height adjustments.  Similar Hydraulic piano benches from other manufacturers use fluid mechanisms that, if they fail, can leave an oily mess.

Samick Music Corp. CEO Baik Lee visits PianoWorks, now a Seiler Gallery Dealer

Last Saturday, Baik Lee, CEO of Samick Music Corporation visited PianoWorks to discuss our growth as a Seiler Gallery Dealer and the long-term strategy for Seiler Pianos in Atlanta.  For years, PianoWorks has partnered with SMC to bring their premium brands to our customers.  When Knabe represented their premium brand, we represented their Artist-series grand and upright pianos.  Today, Seiler is SMC’s premium German brand, making them a perfect fit with our other European brands:  Bösendorfer, Estonia & Grotrian.

Seiler Pianos are among the world’s best and oldest piano makers, founded in 1849.  They continue to build traditional, hand-crafted grand and upright pianos in Kitzingen, Germany using the best European woods and German components.  These instruments represent a great value among the elite German brands, but not every customer is ready or able to make the significant investment in a true, hand-built instrument.  Ursula Seiler, 6th generation in the piano business, recognized this and choose to partner with SMC to bring more of Seiler’s designs to todays value-driven buyer.  Seiler has always made instruments for both professionals and students – combining SMC’s modern CNC manufacturing with Seiler’s award-winning designs creates better value.  This unique approach brings the beauty of Seiler’s instruments into more homes, more teaching studios, more churches and more performance venues.

This year, PianoWorks has become a Seiler Gallery Dealer.  Our commitment to Seiler, Eduard Seiler & Johannes Seiler brand pianos offers our customers better selection, a better-trained sales staff for a better shopping experience, and ongoing training for expert service.  We thank Mr. Baik Lee for his vision and support of our commitment to offer better instruments to our customers.

Bösendorfer Imperial Makes The Long Journey Home

At the end of 2013, we captured the final leg of this Bösendorfer piano’s long journey home on video.  The final leg required a crane to get this 9’6″ long, 5’6″ wide, 1,250+ lbs monster into a second floor condominium in Atlanta.  PianoWorks and Superior Rigging joined forces to reunite this finest of concert grands with its loving owner.

This Bösendorfer made an incredible journey. Originally purchased in Atlanta decades ago, the piano later traveled across the country to the coast of Washington state where it resided on a small island. To return home to Atlanta required a 4×4 truck, a Uhaul, a ferry, an 18 wheeler, our delivery truck and finally a crane to lift it to an upper floor condo. Before the piano was delivered, we were tasked to refurbish and service the instrument. It’s a joyous homecoming.

“This was the most amazing move of my Bösendorfer Imperial in all of its journeys: from the thriving international arts world of Atlanta and my days with the ASO to the gorgeous San Juan Islands and back again over a 40 year period. It has a wonderful history in my home, having been played over the years by dear artist friends, Claudio Arrau, Garrick Ohlsson, Emanuel Ax, Lili Kraus and many others. It began it’s life in Atlanta giving many chamber music concerts with my ASO colleagues and friends. Now, with it once again staring me in the face, it’s time to get practicing again. Many thanks to PianoWorks for their wonderful reconditioning and superb care, and to Superior Rigging for the entrancing, balletic and graceful delivery through my second floor balcony.” – Micheal Palmer, conductor for Georgia State University Symphony Orchestra.

A Sad Steinway (Viewer Discretion Advised)

Pianos need so little to endure for decades; a little playing time, periodic tuning, and a comfortable environment.  We put our heart into our pianos when we sit and play them, when we remember the long hours of practice and the rewarding years of enjoyable music.  Which is why this sad piano story affects us so deeply.  Warning, the images you are about to see are disturbing to piano lovers.  The names and serial numbers have been withheld to protect the innocent.

We were recently contacted about restoring a piano.  The piano was a Steinway grand, already once rebuilt with care less than 20 years ago.  Only a few years after so many parts were replaced, cabinet finished, and so on, the piano was moved to a country home where it was exposed to daily changes and seasonal extremes.  In just over 10 years, the piano was left in ruins.

We were asked if there is any hope for this piano.  The piano was donated to an institution of higher learning.  Hmmm.  Remarkably, it may be possible to save this piano at great expense.  Given the price of a new Steinway, it may still be worth it.  By way of our PianoWorks Restoration facility, we have saved pianos in similar condition including a Steinway concert grand that was found in a condemned building, sitting in rainwater from a collapsed roof.  That piano became a primary performance instrument for Auburn University.  We’ve salvaged a few from flood waters, fires and even a hurricane or two.

Please be kind to your piano.  Give it love, tuning, regulation & voicing, and protect it from the elements.

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