The language of music, like many forms of art, transcends translation. The words, as in notes and expression, speak in ways that written or verbal communication cannot, creating a truly universal language. I am involved in this form of communication in a variety of ways and I take on several different roles when working with the instruments.
I became interested in pianos as a young man. By the time of my high school graduation, I had decided to attend Western Iowa Technical School to study piano tuning and repair. After completing the coursework, I furthered my education by apprenticing in two piano repair shops before opening my own business in 1980. Because of my love for old instruments, I have focused my business on restoration and have sought out old and unusual pianos and organs for my personal collection, which is now extensive and quite complete in scope.
When working with clients my role is often to listen and consult in an effort to give them a sense of direction in finding the type of sound and tone quality they want from their instrument in order to help them make decisions about what type of piano they need. In other situations, I am more of a mechanic and by working with diverse examples of pianos and organs, I have come to see and understand how pieces of wood, iron, and felt can be put together in a way that by a mere movement of a finger on a key, sound is produced.
In my role as an artisan and craftsman, it is my desire to maintain and improve these individual design features in ways that balance the originality of the instrument with advances in piano technology to continue to give each piano “life” and still maintain its integrity.
I act as a conservator and historian by researching old and historic instruments and by maintaining my own archives. I cultivate relationships with other museums and institutions to study their pianos in an attempt to add provenance to the instruments in my collection and those of my clients. My clients describe me as a magician. I suspect that by combining all of the above facets this comes together somewhat magically. My real desire is to enable the performer to create and enjoy their music, to truly hear what is in their soul.
Steve Misener, Collector