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Steinway Piano Rebuilder, Consultant, & Voicing Specialist

My name is Boaz Kirschenbaum. I’m a Steinway concert technician & I have been custom-rebuilding pianos since 2002. I live and work year-round on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, in the town of West Tisbury, Massachusetts. I’m also a Registered Piano Technician in the Piano Technicians Guild.

I have recently reduced my tuning work-load dramatically along with much of my field service work, due to my full-time job as Technical Director of the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. Locally, I offer concert tuning, complete appraisals, evaluations, estimates for custom rebuilding, and custom humidity control packages for discerning clients. Currently I am only accepting new tuning clients with high-quality grand pianos. 90% my piano work is offered directly to the piano trade.

Information for Piano Owners & Clients

I tune pianos 100% aurally without the aid of an ETD. As a Steinway concert technician, I offer a superior tuning & voicing service for high quality grand pianos only. My tuning rates start at $185 per service call and my hourly rate is $120 per hour. I do not offer a free consulting service.

If you have found this page and are in need of basic piano tuning & repair, please contact

David Stanwood in West Tisbury, at (508) 693-1583.

You can also email David at

stanwood@tiac.net

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I rebuild pianos and actions from Boston, New York City, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, North Carolina, and further afield. I also rebuild piano actions for universities and university technicians. As a Licensed Precision Touch Design Installer, my primary focus is to develop vintage piano tone paired with a very even, balanced, and consistent action. I call this “piano hot-rodding”.

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Background

About ten years ago, I worked at Steinway & Sons, inside the famed Steinway Hall “basement” on West 57th Street in New York City. I was employed full-time as a tuner-technician & voicer in both the retail and concert departments, specializing in restored vintage Steinways. My mentors included renowned concert technicians Ron Coners, Aleks Markovich, Eric Schandall, and Kent Webb.  In 2004 I became a Registered Piano Technician in the Piano Technicians Guild after passing a series of practical tests (tuning, repair, and regulation).

After my tenure in New York, I worked for Steinway overseas for two years in New South Wales, Australia. I received further training at the Steinway Hamburg factory during that time. I started my private practice after I left Steinway in 2006.

Personal Signature & Life on an Island

This rural area is home to many farms, as well as very talented craftsmen – shipwrights, carpenters, cabinetmakers, luthiers, machinists, and mechanics. There is also a vibrant and diverse music scene. Believe it or not, we have more than a few high-quality music venues and concert halls. I am able to work as a concert technician seasonally, and I take care of two Steinway Model Ds in two wonderful venues. I chose the name “Cherry Tree Piano” for a couple of reasons. My last name translates from the German as “cherry tree”, so it is a direct way of putting my own name on my work. Also, I wanted to have a connection to the past by having a simple, old-fashioned name. It just seems to have a straightforward ring to it, like many of the farm names on the island.

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Musical Aesthetic & My Life as a Musician

My taste in piano tone is influenced by my taste as a musician. My “signature sound” is really the classic New York Steinway sound from the past, especially the 1940s and 1950s.

As a guitarist  I have always been on my own “tone quest” for over twenty years. Almost fifteen years ago I thought I should learn a skilled trade that would involve helping other musicians find their own tone. I wanted to mix together my interests in instrument-making & repair, audio engineering & acoustics, woodworking & metalworking, and most of all, preserving & restoring vintage things. Piano rebuilding combines all of these.

I am sometimes asked, “what does being an electric guitar player have to do with piano tone?”

I answer….it’s all from the same place. I play some piano, yes, but for me music-making is about collaboration. I can best collaborate with other musicians as a guitarist and bass player. I collaborate with sound engineers & piano technicians helping them make pianos sound beautiful and play well.

I’ve been a semi-professional electric guitar-player for a long time, over 25 years. I studied musicology and performance at the McGill University Conservatory of Music in Montreal. I began playing guitar at age 12 at the encouragement of my father, learning songs by Buddy Holly & Carl Perkins. By the end of middle school, I discovered several guitarists whose tone influenced my taste greatly: Mark Knopfler, Jerry Garcia, Lowell George and Jimmy Page. This was at a time when the tones these players made were not really in fashion (it was the mid- to late 1980s). Vintage 1960s and early 1970s guitar tones are now considered to be classic, of course. Medium-wattage tube amplifiers, simple pickups/simple guitars made in the late 1950s, and a minimal use of effects – all contributed to the singing, shimmering, round “golden” tone they achieved. This tone aesthetic is my goal as well.

Boaz Collaborating

Rehearsing for my 40th birthday concert, January 2014.

L-R: Tauras Biskis, drums. My wife Shelagh Hackett, vocals. Me on guitar. Brian Weiland, drums. Mike Benjamin, guitar & vocals.

All images, video, tool designs, & recordings are ©2009-2015 Boaz Kirschenbaum.

All rights reserved.

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