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#1970297 - 10/08/12 12:40 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
BDB Online   content
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It all becomes a question of money, something that a lot of pianists seem not understand well, and audiences understand even less.

Eugene Istomin used to travel in a truck with his own piano. Few people do that sort of thing these days.
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#1970328 - 10/08/12 01:56 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: turandot]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: turandot
''Steinway tried everything to get me to play Steinway, including some Steinway representative waiting for me in my dressing room right before the concert and asking me in not a very polite way why would I choose to play another piano.''

One reason she could provide is that she has her own endorsement deal with a rival company. I doubt that she shows up at music trade show booths simply because she happens to be in the neighborhood buying groceries. In bucking the trend and attempting to displace the usual brand house piano, she must assume the burden of some difficulties as a touring artist.
Are you saying that Lisitsa's apparent treatment by Steinway is justified by her endorsement of another company?

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#1970406 - 10/08/12 05:06 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: pianoloverus]
turandot Offline
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Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7219
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: turandot
''Steinway tried everything to get me to play Steinway, including some Steinway representative waiting for me in my dressing room right before the concert and asking me in not a very polite way why would I choose to play another piano.''

One reason she could provide is that she has her own endorsement deal with a rival company. I doubt that she shows up at music trade show booths simply because she happens to be in the neighborhood buying groceries. In bucking the trend and attempting to displace the usual brand house piano, she must assume the burden of some difficulties as a touring artist.
Are you saying that Lisitsa's apparent treatment by Steinway is justified by her endorsement of another company?


No.

I'm giving an opinion that......

1) if the artist in question was asked bluntly by a business representative of Steinway why she would choose to play another piano, she could state bluntly that she represents the maker of a rival piano.

2) if the artist in question feels that such a question is inappropriate, she should understand that the piano biz is a competitive enterprise and that her endorsement deal exposes her to the realities of the competition.

The case was made here that Ohllson was a naive emerging artist when he ran afoul of Steinway. It would be a big stretch to say the same about the artist in question here. If she cannot accept the unwanted attention given her by Steinway in any other way, she can attirubte it to her stature as a performing artist.

I agree very much with the opinions expressed by the mature Mr. Ohlsson here in the sound clips. From a professional and business perspective, it's smart for a performing artist to remain contractually independent in terms of instruments.
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#1970412 - 10/08/12 05:21 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
Minnesota Marty Offline

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Registered: 05/15/12
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Maybe, Turandot, you should offer your advice to Ms. Lisitsa directly. Since she is still considered an emerging artist, as was Mr. Ohlsson at the time of his incident, I have no doubt she would appreciate your intervention.
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It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1970418 - 10/08/12 05:35 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: turandot]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: turandot


I'm giving an opinion that......

1) if the artist in question was asked bluntly by a business representative of Steinway why she would choose to play another piano, she could state bluntly that she represents the maker of a rival piano.

2) if the artist in question feels that such a question is inappropriate, she should understand that the piano biz is a competitive enterprise and that her endorsement deal exposes her to the realities of the competition.
The Steinway rep obviously already knew she endorsed another piano.

I'm sure Lisitsa already understands your second point.

None of this means what the Steinway rep did was appropriate, which was the point of her statement.

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#1970431 - 10/08/12 05:59 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: pianoloverus]
turandot Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

None of this means what the Steinway rep did was appropriate, which was the point of her statement.


plover,

I'm not into judging the appropriateness of something which may or may not have even happened, and if it did happen, may have happened in several different ways. You are referring to a NY Times article about a concert in Atlanta. It is alleged that the artist in question found a Steinway guy inside her dressing room when she arrived. Is that in fact how it went down?

The artist felt the approach was impolite. Was it? I don't know. Do you?

Did a Steinway guy secure the key to the dressing room and implore her on folded knee while extending a bouquet of rose? Maybe not.

Did he cuss her out? Probably not.

Did he strongarm her physically or verbally? You tell me.

Did he threaten to remove the middle C from her delivered Bosie? Unlikely.

Was the NY Times reporter a witness to the scene? I kind of doubt it, but maybe he got a key to the dressing room too.

I made my point. I clarified it just for you. I have no wish to participate in the Forum For Ethical Outrage and Self-Righteous Indignation. I don't have the chops.
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#1970436 - 10/08/12 06:15 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: turandot]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Originally Posted By: turandot
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

None of this means what the Steinway rep did was appropriate, which was the point of her statement.


plover,

I'm not into judging the appropriateness of something which may or may not have even happened, and if it did happen, may have happened in several different ways. You are referring to a NY Times article about a concert in Atlanta. It is alleged that the artist in question found a Steinway guy inside her dressing room when she arrived. Is that in fact how it went down?

The artist felt the approach was impolite. Was it? I don't know. Do you?

Did a Steinway guy secure the key to the dressing room and implore her on folded knee while extending a bouquet of rose? Maybe not.

Did he cuss her out? Probably not.

Did he strongarm her physically or verbally? You tell me.

Did he threaten to remove the middle C from her delivered Bosie? Unlikely.

Was the NY Times reporter a witness to the scene? I kind of doubt it, but maybe he got a key to the dressing room too.

I made my point. I clarified it just for you. I have no wish to participate in the Forum For Ethical Outrage and Self-Righteous Indignation. I don't have the chops.
??? One can require video tape proof for every event discussed(and video tape proof for the video tape) or one can just be reasonable.


Edited by pianoloverus (10/08/12 06:20 PM)

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#1970438 - 10/08/12 06:32 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
BoseEric Offline
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Loc: Fairfield County, CT
One positive outcome of the "piano wars" of the 80's and early 90's is that the average house piano is in better condition then it was then. Yes, I'm speaking in generalities but, if I can be blunt, I know because I was there. I think that development has made it easier for certain artists to remain independent. This positive development in the overall piano world has been a detriment to piano manufacturers as it has taken some of the urgency away from the discussion.

I'm pretty sure the conversation with the Steinway rep happened and I'm pretty sure I know who it was. I'm also quite sure it was a much more civil and light handed discussion then would have been had 10, 15 or 20 years earlier.

I can't fault him or her because I've done that too! This is what reps are supposed to do, sell their brand and get converts! Of course my special brand of charm, style and rugged good looks made my dressing room visits the stuff of legend...
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#1970460 - 10/08/12 07:27 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: BoseEric]
turandot Offline
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Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7219
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: BoseEric

I can't fault him or her because I've done that too! This is what reps are supposed to do, sell their brand and get converts!


And presumably, as an endorsing artist of another maker, she did her job as well.
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#1970521 - 10/08/12 09:46 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Why would one approach a pianist who has already endorsed another brand in anything other than a very indirect way? "In your face" doesn't see likely to be a winning tactic. Perhaps over drinks in a social setting? Perhaps a standing invitation to try a nicely prepped D whenever you want? Perhaps a standing invitation to use your brand in a pinch? Honey instead of vinegar. Oh, never mind ...
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#1970524 - 10/08/12 09:56 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
BoseEric Offline
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Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 731
Loc: Fairfield County, CT
Dad, I can tell you from experience, it doesn't work. However, pressure can come down in a variety of ways, and as Mr. Todd said, "desperate times call for desperate measures". That is a comment on my experience, not that of anyone else.
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#1970525 - 10/08/12 09:58 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: BoseEric]
Rich Galassini Offline
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Registered: 05/28/01
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Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: BoseEric
Of course my special brand of charm, style and rugged good looks made my dressing room visits the stuff of legend...


Sometimes it is too easy. wink
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#1970531 - 10/08/12 10:12 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Eric,

What doesn't work? The indirect and polite offer to be helpful?

Well, the alternative is not likely to work well either if that alternative is heavy-handed intimidation. Steinway may have certain size advantages, but I suspect they are not substantial enough to make totalitarian tactics particularly productive.

I'll stipulate that I don't know the true facts about either the Ohlsson case or the Lisitsa situation, so my thinking is not a direct response to either. I'm just thinking out loud about general human responses to pressure tactics.
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#1970544 - 10/08/12 10:34 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
BDB Online   content
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When I have talked to major artists or their representatives about endorsements, it seems it has been less about the piano than the service that they get, which just reenforces what I say, that at some point, the piano is less important than the person who services it.
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#1970549 - 10/08/12 10:40 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2726
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: turandot
In bucking the trend and attempting to displace the usual brand house piano, she must assume the burden of some difficulties as a touring artist.
The house didn't create a problem, they were very accommodating to their visiting performer. A guest at the ASO who happened to be the Steinway rep named in the article, made his way backstage. "Assuming the burden" may extend to putting up with a certain, afore mentioned, charming backstage visitor (don't go expecting me to call you rugged anything), but in this case, I liken the experience described to parking your car beside a street, having someone crash into it and drive way, and then "assuming" the insurance deductible. You assume the risk, but it's still lousy.

Having the privilege to know Valentina, I can safely say she is very engaging and personable. It would take some effort to make her feel uncomfortable.

Okay, here is backstory. The Steinway rep was previously a Bosendorfer rep. Not successful with Bosie (Bosie way underperformed in the US with that team), he found employment with Steinway. Perhaps his heart was there anyway. The following Bosendorfer team improved US sales by almost 2000% in just a few years.

The performance took place during a weekend Symphony sale by the Atlanta Steinway dealer. So the basement was full of Steinways for sale but there was a Bosendorfer on stage with the rest of the orchestra. This happened again either 1 or 2 years later. Timing can make for beautiful irony.

Does that make it better or worse? Reflecting of company policy or a local decision by an individual at a local event? More or less true as reported? Denied because it was embarrassing, inappropriate or because there is even a chance it didn't happen?
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#1970555 - 10/08/12 10:59 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
BoseEric Offline
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Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 731
Loc: Fairfield County, CT
Sorry for the confusion, Dad. In my experience the "in your face" approach doesn't work.
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#1970599 - 10/09/12 12:51 AM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: PianoWorksATL]
turandot Offline
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Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7219
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
Originally Posted By: turandot
In bucking the trend and attempting to displace the usual brand house piano, she must assume the burden of some difficulties as a touring artist.

"Assuming the burden" may extend to putting up with a certain, afore mentioned, charming backstage visitor (don't go expecting me to call you rugged anything), but in this case, I liken the experience described to parking your car beside a street, having someone crash into it and drive way, and then "assuming" the insurance deductible. You assume the risk, but it's still lousy.



From this parallel I assume you are claiming that the artist in question and/or her chosen instrument suffered damages that were real and measurable.


If that's the case, then it's not a matter of simply being pestered by a competitor of the brand one endorses. If it's not the case, then it's an inappropriate parallel.
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#1970625 - 10/09/12 02:13 AM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
PianoWorksATL Offline
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Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2726
Loc: Atlanta, GA
My parallel was very deliberate. In my example, would you choose to just walk as a result? expend your energy trying to locate a witness? simply drive the car damaged? Or pay the deductible, move one, perhaps complain to your family/friends about what happened to you, and never really feel the same about parking along that same street? Getting past something is not the same as it never happening or not having a cost.

No one argues that the top level of athletic performance is largely mental because the physically unprepared are removed from competition at the lower levels. I would argue the same point for top musicians. Before a performance, its not like offering a business opportunity, its like having a trainer from another team in the locker room to mess with your head.
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#1970719 - 10/09/12 10:05 AM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: PianoWorksATL]
turandot Offline
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Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7219
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
My parallel was very deliberate. In my example, would you choose to just walk as a result? expend your energy trying to locate a witness? simply drive the car damaged? Or pay the deductible, move one, perhaps complain to your family/friends about what happened to you, and never really feel the same about parking along that same street? Getting past something is not the same as it never happening or not having a cost.

No one argues that the top level of athletic performance is largely mental because the physically unprepared are removed from competition at the lower levels. I would argue the same point for top musicians. Before a performance, its not like offering a business opportunity, its like having a trainer from another team in the locker room to mess with your head.


So the artist is the runner whose Sauconys weree stolen from her feet by the Nike guy as she crouched in the blocks at the Olympic trials. grin

With all due respect Sam (and I mean that), I think your parallel is inappropriate even if i is deliberate. A victim of a hit-and-run driver who leaves behind a damaged car is different from an artist who endorses one brand of instrument being pestered by a representative of another.

This thread was ostensibly begun by Rich to draw attention to the thoughts of Mr. Ohllson as expressed in an interview with Eric Johnson. None of those thoughts expressed the view that Steinway bullies artists due to the arrogance of its corporate culture. The interviewer has made his own opinion clear by stating here that a rep who tries to win over an influential artist representing another brand is simply doing his job.

With the Ohllson trail going cold, Rich has introduced another episode to bolster his case that Steinway is a bully, and now we have your car-srash hit-and-run parallel intended to portray this artist as someone who has sustained an injury to her sensitive artistic temperament -- a temperament that is apparently unaffected by her business decision to promote a piano brand, a brand which of course you and Rich are also involved in promoting.

I would suggest to both you and Rich that if you want to highlight what you both feel is a bullying attitude by Steinway toward artists who have signed on with another brand, you should not use Mr. Ohlsson and Mr. Johnson as props for your agenda. It would seem that neither has an axe to grind in this matter.
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#1970725 - 10/09/12 10:23 AM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
LoPresti Offline
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Hey Rich,

Your PM is "ready".

Ed
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#1970748 - 10/09/12 11:22 AM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Where did this notion arise that Lisitsa's piano was damaged? I didn't see that in the story I read.

On the other hand, I find the analogy of the opposition trainer getting into the athlete's head quite plausible. If a Steinway representative approached her backstage right before her performance, then disrupting her concentration could indeed have been a result, and even a goal.

But no one outside of the participants can say that for sure.

In any case, if the rep actually did approach her backstage I consider that simply rude, whatever the intention.
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#1970758 - 10/09/12 11:58 AM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
PianoWorksATL Offline
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Registered: 09/19/09
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Loc: Atlanta, GA
The point of the NYTimes article was to talk about aggressive incidents as it relates to brand wars. They don't report and by filling pages with benign conversations. Artists get approached in a variety of ways. Sometimes it is aggressive to the point of threatening. It's pretty rare that it makes the news. It's up to the individual artist to decide how to react.
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#1970763 - 10/09/12 12:08 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5272
For Lisitsa fans here, you might be interested in what she told me when I met her at a Yamaha showroom in London prior to her Royal Albert Hall concert in London a few months ago (now available on CD and DVD). The Bösendorfer Imperial she played at the concert was shipped over specially from Hannover, Germany, but she practised on a 'lovely' C.Bechstein in her rented apartment in London while preparing for the concert.

On that day, however, she made full use of the three Bösendorfer grands at the showroom (but didn't play any of the Yamahas there), treating the audience to a 3 hour concert - all the pieces she played a few days later at the concert, plus a few there was no time for, like Liszt's Un sospiro and Liebesträume No.3 and Beethoven's Für Elise (though she recorded them specially for the CD; the DVD has the complete live concert). And also spent time chatting to everyone who attended.

I asked her about her choice of pianos, and she simply said she loved the sound of Bösendorfer, but at no time did she denigrate Steinway or any other brand. She really is a warm person who loves playing for an audience. And if you look at her Youtube recordings, some are played on Steinway.
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#1970801 - 10/09/12 01:33 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: PianoWorksATL]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2336
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
Artists get approached in a variety of ways. Sometimes it is aggressive to the point of threatening.


New York can be a rough town.

Nunzio from Steinway: "So, Miss Lisitsa, dat's a nice little piano you gots dere. It'd be a real shame if sumtin were to happen to it, y'know what I mean?"

The scene shifts to Bosendorfer artists nervously checking under their pianos before playing a note...
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#1970952 - 10/09/12 06:58 PM Re: Garrick Ohlsson on pianos [Re: Rich Galassini]
Jeff Clef Offline
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Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...For Lisitsa fans here, you might be interested in what she told me when I met her..."

Oh, I am. Thanks so much for sharing this, bennevis. I've been a big fan since I was seated barely 25 feet from her, in a performance at a local hall--- one of those bolts of lightning that strikes from the stage.

Wish I had been there with you, but your story made me feel almost that I had. We did not get to speak that night; she let the piano do all the talking.
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