Flying to Portsea in a helicopter to tune trucking magnate Lindsay Fox’s piano is all in a day’s work for Mark O’Connor.
As is having customers part with $250,0000 for a grand piano, despite not being able to play a note. Then there was a time a potential customer arrived with a rubbish bag stuffed with $50,000 in notes, asking for a cash discount on a very expensive Steinway.
“It took us half an hour to count that,” says O’Connor, the managing director of the Exclusive Piano Group, of which Fox is the major shareholder.
The business, which has one store in Essendon, Melbourne, and another opening soon in Adelaide, started in 2008, with all of Fox’s profits going back into music and the arts.
Hold the requiem, the piano industry sounds like a carnival in Melbourne’s outer west. Sarah Harris strikes a chord.
For Jim McCorry, a good piano movement is less about practicing scales than distributing weight – about 500kg in the case of a nine-foot concert grand.
McCorry is a piano man of the muscular kind, having been in the piano removals business since the early 80s.
“We move between 200 and 300 pianos a month,” the owner of Campbellfield-based JM Piano Moving says. “We used to also do furniture, but the last seven years all I’ve done is pianos.
“We’ve taken concert grands as far as Rockhampton. Most people are surprised to discover that we run a semi-trailer between Melbourne and Sydney. People don’t think of a truck that size running round full of pianos.
“Some are new, some are collector pianos — you do get a lot of heirloom stuff.
On Sunday the 2nd of March we held the Victorian Music Teachers Association (V.M.T.A) Piano Day, this is a bi-yearly event and we were fortunate enough to have our Chapel Street Store chosen as the location for the event. The piano day comprised of three main speakers each of which explored topics as diverse as bio-mechanics to composition, below I have provided a brief outline of each speaker’s background.
Timothy Young is one of Australia’s most versatile pianists. He received his Bachelor of Music at the University of Melbourne as a student of Ronald Farren-Price and Mack Jost. He then continued his studies in Italy with Lidia Baldecchi-Accuri, receiving his Diploma at the Paganini Conservatorium in Genova, Italy. Throughout Europe Timothy won first prizes in Piano Solo, and Chamber Music competitions, and performed with various distinguished chamber musicians in many prominent festivals. Since his return to Australia, Timothy has appeared with success in most of the nation’s music festivals as a solo performer, accompanist and chamber musician. He is also a busy recording artist, continually adding to his internationally acclaimed discography. Currently, Timothy is the Co-ordinator of Piano at the Australian Academy of Music and a founding member of Ensemble Liason. He performs regularly in recital as a soloist, accompanist, and in partnership with leading Australian and international ensembles.