May 17-19, 2016
After my short but full stay in Cartagena, I flew into New York City. I was excited to return to the Floating Piano Factory home base, catch up with friends, and re-discover the beauty of this town. While I was there, I stayed with friends in Long Island, a couple that I came to know through a long chain of music-related moments…
May 10-17, 2016
It was time to take a break.
I’d been exploring Peru, finding rogue pianos, producing concerts, doing pro bono tunings, hunting down elusive piano technicians, and all the while running Floating Piano Factory from afar. The lines between my work and personal life had become increasingly blurry. I needed a little time to re-center.
Much like paddling into unknown waters on a surfboard, I do have a plan in mind as I move forward—but until the waves come, it’s hard to say exactly how things will turn out. I just keep trying to follow the paths that open up to me, and to pursue the things that feel most worthwhile. Taking some time to travel and relax seemed like a good way to gain some perspective.
Well, just as I started to paddle out, that’s exactly when the waves rolled in. Waves of emails, actually. I’d submitted a scientific paper to an academic journal, it was under review and I found out it would be considered for publication—if I was able to make an array of changes. Here I was, arriving in Colombia, hoping to step away from my work, but this was an assignment that just couldn’t wait.
Okay, so there were actually a few more things that happened before I left Arequipa.
I returned to La UNSA to work with the music students once again. This time, we pulled apart a piano so they could see how it’s assembled. How the various pieces all fit together.
This is a rare opportunity. As a student, you don’t usually get the chance to take a piano completely apart, because once you open it up and start poking around, it can get really delicate. There’s a lot you have to learn in order to explore without doing any damage.
But I’ll come back to that.
One of the first important steps in grand piano action regulation is the adjustment of glide bolts. The glide bolts sit at four points distributed lengthwise along the center rail of the grand piano action. They have a tuning-pin-shaped protrusion towards their top, a central threaded portion that allows for up-down adjustment, and smooth rounded bottom. The bottom of the glide bolt both provides support for the center rail of the action and allows the piano to easily glide from left to right when the una cord pedal is depressed. Continue reading
I’ve recently returned from some extensive travels over several weeks. This is why it’s been quiet on the blog for a while, but now we’re back online, and there are many new stories to share. New adventures, new friends, and of course, new pianos.
The next several posts will cover the entire journey, city by city. After departing from Arequipa in early June, I stopped in Lima, Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, New York, Philadelphia and Hong Kong—then returned by retracing my path.
We’re at a halfway point in our journey in this foreign land. I arrived in Peru six months ago with some ambitious goals in mind, but without a completely concrete plan on how to accomplish them. For instance, I had no idea how or if the Ambassador program would evolve. We didn’t know if we could thrive as a business with members on different continents. I knew I wanted to perform a concert somewhere in town, but where? When? How? Continue reading
Filed under Ambassador Program, Arequipa, Creativity, Glass Piano, Lima, Multidisciplinary, Music Practice, Peru, Piano Action, Piano Maintenance, Piano Repair, Piano Stories
In part one of my story about Tacna, I did some detective work to locate a woman named Ingrid. She introduced me to a very special piano in the Regional Museum of History, and she agreed to have me tune it. I encountered a few other things along the way.
The museum held a lot within its walls: a large library, dozens of historical paintings, a performance room, and the piano, just to name a few. There was also a collection of portraits all around the piano. For some reason, I couldn’t stop looking at the faces of the people in those frames.
Just before I had to rush off to Arica to renew my visa, I received an unexpected email.
A man named Jonathan reached out from West Virginia, writing to say that he had recently discovered our blog. Not only that, he was heading to Peru to rebuild a piano in a Baptist seminary, in a town called Urubamba. He wanted to see if I’d like to join him.
Although Urubamba is far from Arequipa, I was definitely interested in making the journey…but I was already rushing out of town to get that visa renewed. Fortunately, Jonathan wasn’t coming down for two weeks, so I figured I could make that work. No problem. Plenty of time.
In a previous post I talked about my conversation with piano-playing diplomat Hernando Torres-Fernández, and how meeting him quickly led to several other adventures. For instance, only a few hours after meeting him, I attended a concert at the Peruvian-North American Cultural center that he had recommended. That’s where I met José and Roxana, a lovely couple with a passion for music and a spectacular Rönisch upright piano, imported from Germany by their ancestors. I wound up spending a beautiful day with them and their piano that epitomized why this Ambassador Program feels so special.
Although it was Hernando’s influence that helped me along my circuitous journey to Jose’s piano, I actually had not yet visited the instrument in Hernando’s own home. I was very eager to investigate. It was in need of a tuning, so we decided we would set a time to meet. Continue reading