photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
This picture shows piano maker and designer Wayne Stuart during construction of the Powerhouse Museum’s Stuart & Sons concert grand piano. This instrument was Stuart’s fourth concert grand and was handcrafted by a small team of dedicated craftsmen at the Tudor Street workshop at The University of Newcastle in 1999.
The Stuart & Sons piano represents the state of the art development of the technical construction and visual design of the modern piano and is the result of years of research and development. It features an innovative system that better controls the vibration of strings for a clearer more sustained sound; as well as a longer keyboard which allows this piano to play both higher and lower notes than a conventional piano. Another characteristic is the use of beautiful Australian timbers. The Museum’s piano features golden Huon pine veneer (seen above) and red Western Australian casuarina which create a stunning visual statement very different from the more common black enamel finish used on other modern pianos.
Pianos have been made in Australia since the 1830s and Stuart & Sons along with other contemporary makers such Ron Overs, represent a continuation of this tradition with a distinctive and innovative edge.
Photography: Marinco Kojdanovski.
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