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The Royal Conservatory Unveils New Concert Grand Piano for Koerner Hall

The Royal Conservatory Unveils New Concert Grand Piano for Koerner Hall

Published on January 26, 2023

Purchase of the Model D Hamburg Steinway was made possible by donors Pam Spackman and Allan Kimberley.

James Anagnoson, Dean of The Glenn Gould School, plays the new Steinway piano after it is delivered to the RCM.
James Anagnoson plays the new Steinway
after it is delivered to The RCM.

A world-class concert hall requires an elite performance instrument, and after an extensive international search, The Royal Conservatory recently unveiled its extraordinary new concert grand piano – a Model D Hamburg Steinway. The world’s foremost artists will explore every nuance of its richly varied sound palette to excite and inspire Koerner Hall audiences in the years ahead. 

In late 2022, Dr. Peter Simon, President and CEO of The Royal Conservatory, along with James Anagnoson, Dean of The Glenn Gould School, travelled to Europe, where they tested several concert grand pianos, and in the end debated between three exceptional instruments at the Steinway Gallery in London, England. 

“The number one requirement is that the sound of a piano has the broadest possible range, the greatest colour, the greatest nuance. An artist works in sound – that’s all we have,” says Dr. Simon. “This magnificent instrument is a marvel of engineering. It gives you an extraordinary avenue to make beautiful music, to escape from the everyday world, to connect with others, and to inspire – that's its real function.” 

The new piano was purchased thanks to the generosity of Pam Spackman and Allan Kimberley, both RCM alumni. “It’s very rewarding to us to be able to reflect our pleasure with what the RCM continues to do in promoting and delivering excellence in music education and performance,” says Mr. Kimberley. 

Artist in Residence Stewart Goodyear plays he new Steinway in Koerner Hall.
Artist in Residence Stewart Goodyear plays
the new Steinway in Koerner Hall.
The piano replaces the showpiece that sat centre stage in Koerner Hall for 13 years and was at the end of its peak performance lifecycle (the standard stage life of a concert grand is approximately one decade). 

The musical components of Steinway pianos are handmade. Hamburg Steinways are described as having a “singing” treble and a “sweeter” and more “bell-like” quality than the New York Steinways, which are often known for having a “darker” sound, and a “more colourful” bass.  

“I’ve always worried about choosing a piano in a certain setting and wondering what it’s going to sound like in our Hall,” Mr. Anagnoson says. “As soon as we unpacked it and I played these beautiful chords of Brahms, I knew we chose well and the sound will only get better.” 

Damon Groves, Head Piano Technician at the RCM, is thrilled with the new arrival and has been busy fine tuning to ensure top-quality sound for performances. It takes time for a new piano to “settle” and acclimate to its new surroundings. 

“The first time I heard it I realized just how much power it has, which is a quality you want, to fill a concert hall, but along with that there was this sweetness as well, in the sound. Almost like a kiss. Those two qualities combined really make a fantastic instrument,” Mr. Groves says. “I think everybody who plays it will understand just how special it is.” 


Watch the video of the arrival and assembly of the new piano at The Royal Conservatory: