“Whether preparing a concert grand Steinway for a virtuoso piano artist’s recital or taking on an on-site resurrection of grandmother’s neglected piano parked in someone’s shed, I feel both competent and comfortable in any situation I am called for. I come equipped for every job with a comprehensive kit of specialised piano tools, including some rare old tools that have been passed on to me from retired piano tuners, especially with the older surviving instruments that still exist and are worth tuning and repairing.”.
What inspired me to become a piano tuner?
I took up piano lessons as a kid, advancing through all the classical grades to the final A.Mus.A standard, performing in the local Eisteddfod competitions and winning a few prizes along the way.
As a curious teenager, after watching the piano tuner one day, I started pulling the front of the piano myself and watching the mechanism work as I played it. Pianos have always intrigued me and have moulded my life and career as a professional piano tuner and, at times, a professional musician.
What did my training involve?
I started training as a shop assistant in a local antique shop specialising in musical instruments, including pianos, where I was trained in French polishing, piano repairs and basic tuning and restoration of older pianos, pianolas, and pedal harmoniums. This led to acceptance (one of 6) into the Piano Tuning and Technology course at the Conservatorium in Sydney, NSW.
This course was an intensive and rigorous six days a week, a year-long training program on modern pianos, concentrating on tuning by ear, fine regulation voicing, repairs, and piano rebuilding practices. My par excellence teacher and mentor were the Armenian concert piano technician Ara Vartoukian, who has owned and run the prestigious “Theme and Variations” Steinway dealer piano business in Sydney, NSW, for many years.
Since graduating in 1984, I started my own tuning and repair business in Hobart, Tasmania.
It has taken many years of knowledge-building and experience to get to where I am now with a strong and loyal clientele at both extreme ends of the country. It has been a profession of constant learning, greatly enhanced by the sharing of skills with fellow Australasian and worldwide piano technicians and manufacturers, with attendance at various Guild Conventions and events over the years.