NEW YORK, NY (April 19, 2017) – Steinway & Sons yesterday unveiled one of the most ambitious and finely crafted art case grand pianos ever created: the stunning “Pictures at an Exhibition” Model D concert grand by Steinway Artist Paul Wyse.
Through sound and pictures, Wyse took visitors to the unveiling on a multi-dimensional journey into Modest Mussorgsky’s intricate piano suite “Pictures at an Exhibition.” A concert pianist who has performed all over the world, Wyse is the first master artist in history to design, paint, and play a Steinway art case piano. This one-of-a-kind piano is available for $2.5 million.
More than four years in the making, “Pictures at an Exhibition” is the first Steinway & Sons piano inspired by a musical composition. The painted case and lid feature immortal images and personalities from Russian musical history and folklore, culminating in grand manner oil paintings adorning both sides of the massive lid. The unique and imaginative piano legs are finely crafted in the form of Baba Yaga’s hut and balance on richly cast bronze hen’s legs. Twenty-four-carat gold leaf highlights are expertly worked into the intricately detailed paintings, and the gold-plated music desk and pedals frame original rose wood keys. All this remarkable visual artwork unfolds on a majestic nine-foot Steinway Model D grand piano—itself built to exacting musical specifications and to the time-honored standards for which Steinway & Sons has been known since 1853.
“The piano has a life of its own,” said Wyse. “I wanted to use the Steinway piano to tell a story, not just of Mussorgsky’s piano suite, but of everything surrounding it…. For me it’s about capturing the mystery of the Russian soul, and all its facets; fairy tale, legend, history, and fascinating politics all come together in a dramatic and surprising way.”
“Watching the development of this piano as it has come to completion has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Ron Losby, CEO of Steinway Musical Instruments. “It is difficult to express the experience of not just seeing the visual art on the piano, but of hearing the unmistakable sound of a Steinway Model D emanate from it. When I see the result of Paul’s work combined with the impeccable work of our Steinway craftspeople…I’m very proud of what they have created.”
Paul Wyse is a globally-renowned artist and pianist. With major portraits in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, the Steinway Hall historic portrait collection, and the House of Commons of Canada, he is one of North America’s finest portrait painters. He holds degrees in Piano Performance from The Peabody Institute and the New England Conservatory, and has performed with leading artists around the globe. Learn more at www.wysefineart.com