"I volunteer for an organization called Sing for Hope that I believe most New Yorkers know, because they put pianos outside across the five boroughs during the summer for a couple weeks. I was playing one in Grand Army Plaza underneath the arch, and a mother and a son gathered to watch. I turned the piano over to the son to play, and spoke with the mother. Towards the end of the encounter the mother asked if I needed a piano, just out of the blue, as I had mentioned that I was teaching piano. I said yes, I definitely need a piano, I'll take one! She said she would contact me later that day, so I gave her my email - but I wasn't sure I would hear back.
But she stuck to her word, I got an email that night, then I reached out to the lady in the Upper West Side that she knew, only tangentially through an online home schooling network, and went to meet her the next day after work to try out the piano. Turns out she was giving the piano away for free - it had been a gift from her father about 20 years ago, but had mostly sat unused during that time. So Friday I heard about the lady with the piano, Saturday I met her, and Sunday my sister was gracious enough to oversee the moving of the piano into our apartment. And that's how I got my first real acoustic piano!
I knew I needed a tuner, so I contacted Orpheus Piano Co. and Isaac came by to tune my piano. While he had the piano taken apart, lo and behold he finds a polaroid stuck inside the piano of a little boy with a bull cut and a t-shirt with Tweety on it. I contacted the piano's last owner to see if the photo meant something to her, and in fact the photo turned out to be of her son - taken 20 years ago. Her son had recently graduated from college. I made sure to mail the photo back to her. She confirmed that she received it when attending a recent recital I gave.
In fact, this recital was a testament to music's power to bring people together - I didn't know who would end up attending, but all the characters in this story, including me, the lady who I spoke with at Grand Army Plaza, the lady who gave me this piano, and Isaac my piano tuner, all convened at my recital and were able to meet each other and enjoy this story!"
Jae is an accomplished concert pianist. He received a M.M. in Piano Performance from Mannes College of Music and is now at Manhattan School of Music for a Professional Studies Certificate in Performance. He had been practicing on an electric keyboard - after procuring this piano, the keyboard is now for sale...he simply doesn't play it anymore.
Pianos of New York is a blog for people who love pianos and the stories they tell. It features an ongoing series of photographs and stories from New York City piano owners who wish to share their passion for pianos and the special place they hold in human lives.
Pianos of New York is brought to you by Orpheus Piano Company, a Brooklyn-based piano service specializing in piano tuning and repair of the highest quality.