July 19, 2009
Steinway White House Grand Pianos of 1903 and 1938
Steinway & Sons are promoting the Steinway piano as a cornerstone of American music and culture.
According to them, since 1853, Steinway pianos have set an uncompromising standard for sound, touch, beauty and investment value and Steinway remains the choice of 9 out of 10 concert artists, and it is the preferred piano of countless musicians, professional and amateur, throughout the world.
"We've always known that Steinway & Sons is a great American original," says Todd Sanders, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Steinway & Sons. "By producing the finest handcrafted instruments available, our factory in Queens has contributed to a significant part of American culture for more than 156 years. Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Billy Joel, among many other legendary composers and performers, have all drawn their inspiration from the Steinway piano. We're proud to take a moment to consider how important our company has been in our nation's history. The White House pianos are also a great reminder of this."
Photo: White House Steinway & Sons Model D Concert Grand Piano, designed by Architect Eric Gugler. The piano was presented to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938, commemorating the production of Steinway's 300,000th piano. The case is made of Honduran Mahogany, with gold leaf accents by artist Dunbar Beck. This magnificent instrument currently resides in the East Room of the White House. Photo courtesy of the White House Historical Association.
• In 1903, to celebrate the creation of the company's 100,000th piano - and the 50th anniversary of the firm's founding - Steinway & Sons offered to transform its standard concert grand piano into an artwork suitable for use in the East Room of the White House. The "Gold Grand" was presented to the White House, and President Theodore Roosevelt accepted the $18,000 Steinway "on behalf of the nation." The piano served through the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Roosevelt; it was then donated to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.
• The second White House piano was built and presented to President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938 to commemorate the production of Steinway's 300,000th piano. The new piano, designed by New York architect Eric Gugler, was more than nine feet long, with a case of Honduran mahogany and gold leaf by artist Dunbar Beck. Last renovated in 1992 during the administration of George H. W. Bush, the piano remains today in the East Room of the White House.
Source: Steinway & Sons
"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy."
-- Ludwig van Beethoven