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NEW TUNE(R) FOR THE KZNPO (article first published : 2007-03-5)

The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra has announced the appointment of a new piano tuning company who will be looking after their Steinway Concert Grand Piano in future.

The company is Midlands Piano Services which is in the capable hands of James Webster. Based in the Howick/Merrivale region of the Midlands, Webster learned the business from his father who in turn was tuning pianos for 45 years.

James Webster tuned his first piano when he was ten years old and it was a natural progression that when he left school, he should go straight into the trade. He worked locally at first and then went to Holland to gain more experience and has been running his own company for almost six years. He now employs his father, his brother in law and 3 young apprentices.

Midlands Piano Services’ staff travels from Port Shepstone to Richards Bay and to Newcastle, Kokstad, Underberg and everywhere in between. They look after the pianos at most of the private schools, universities, the SABC, for Christopher Duigan and now the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

Webster said that the KZNPO’s Steinway was the first new piano he had worked on and he commented how pleasing it was to note that the quality of the Steinway product has been maintained over the past 120 years. He commented further that the piano tunes nicely and its notes were very pure.

It normally takes about 30 to 45 minutes to tune a piano but the first tuning of the KZNPO Steinway took nearly two hours which Webster said was a challenge. He explained that the instrument can become unsettled in the city’s variable climate, but the more consistent the conditions in which the piano is kept, the better stabilised it becomes after which tuning is relatively easy.

The KZNPO Steinway is kept in the piano room on stage in the City Hall, the room being controlled for both temperature and humidity.

James Webster can be contacted on 083 777 7135.




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