A Budding Pianist and Teacher
Erica’s gift was born of a unique childhood shaped by music. Growing up in Old Bennington, Vermont with 4 siblings and music-loving parents, Erica lived in a home with 26 pianos. Summers at home enriched Erica’s teaching skills as her childhood home turned into a piano camp called Summer Sonatina. By age 9, Erica was giving piano lessons.
Having been awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious Juilliard School Pre-College Division as a pre-teen, Erica boarded a bus destined for New York City every Friday. She attended classes at Juilliard Prep all day Saturday and then made the return 5-hour trip back to Vermont that evening.
As a teen, Erica played solo engagements with the Vermont Symphony, Nashua Symphony, and Albany Symphony Orchestras, among others. Thereafter, she went on to earn a BFA in Piano Performance from SUNY College at Purchase.
Buying a Fine Piano of Her Own
As a sophomore in college, Erica saw a commercial for the “Miss America Scholarship Pageant” on television. She viewed participating as an excellent opportunity to earn a scholarship toward the purchase of a fine piano of her own. The award for winning the state title was accompanied by thirty-five hundred dollars.
Erica won the state title and was crowned Miss Vermont. Four months later, she was onstage at the Miss America Scholarship Pageant. Performing onstage in Atlantic City, Erica won the preliminary talent competition, which brought her an additional three thousand dollars. It was enough so that with some creative borrowing, she was able to purchase a pre-owned Steinway & Sons baby grand. This completed her move to New York City where she’d built a successful piano teaching practice.
Later, she was in a skiing accident, which resulted in a torn thumb ligament. While painful on many levels, this provided Erica to re-evaluate her commitment to becoming a concert pianist with the many hours a day required for practicing and total immersion in the world of classical music. As a result, Erica sold her piano teaching practice and stopped playing the piano entirely.
Having retired from the only career path she had ever traveled, Erica enrolled at Baruch College in Manhattan and earned an MBA in Marketing. While attending Baruch, she began to explore her gift for matching a piano to a person when she began selling Bösendorfer pianos part-time at a small dealership in New York City.
Success Selling at Steinway Hall NY for Steinway & Sons
Following her graduation from CUNY Baruch in 1992, she joined Steinway & Sons in New York City full-time. This is when she really began bringing music into other people’s lives.
From the time she began her tenure at the renowned Flagship Showroom at Steinway Hall located at 109 West 57th Street, Erica demonstrated an extraordinary ability to understand the sound and touch of each of the hundreds of pianos housed there. Supplementing that understanding was the ability to retain each piano’s unique six-digit identifying serial number.
As a pianist, master piano instructor, and world-class salesperson, Erica is able to speak the language of a master musician and also understand the needs of a novice who wants to fulfill a desire to play.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart pens “Matchmaker: Erica Feidner knows the piano you want,” in The New Yorker
Erica’s skills brought her to a level of success that led to the media spotlight. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer James B. Stewart purchased a Steinway & Sons Model B from Erica. The experience had enough of an impact on Mr. Stewart that he wrote an 8-page in-depth story about Erica which appeared in The New Yorker in August 2001. Stewart wrote,
It is not unusual for Feidner’s customers to describe her as a force of nature. This is not because they feel pressured by her but because after they meet her many soon find themselves in the grip of musical ambitions they never knew they harbored.James B. Stewart
Articles about the Piano Matchmaker have appeared in Forbes Magazine, Smart Money, the cover of Inc. Magazine with a full-page story, and Canadian Business.
Television appearances include CNN Nightly News, Breakfast with the Arts on A&E, The Genuine Article with Gordon Elliott, New Morning on the Hallmark Channel, “The New Selling of America,” on PBS, a documentary aired on NHK, and “Relentless,” a podcast on Century 21.
Named one of “10 Greatest Salespeople of All Time” by Inc.com
In 2011, Inc.com named Erica one of “10 Greatest Salespeople of All Time.”
Establishing Piano Matchmaker LLC
Having enjoyed a long-term, successful relationship with Steinway & Sons, Erica realized she could continue to assist in the selection of virtually any top-tier piano, anywhere in the world, and in 2005 she founded Piano Matchmaker LLC.
In keeping with her “matchmaking” philosophy of pairing each individual with the perfect piano given its respective unique personality, she takes great care to live by her professional standards: Erica frequently visits many piano dealerships to get to know as many pianos as she can, to assure each one she makes available for her clients meets her own meticulous standards, and then begins to match them to the people for whom each of the pianos was born.
Having grown up in a home with 26 pianos and having been surrounded by piano-playing nearly all the time, Erica always understood that every piano, like every person, possesses different traits, some challenging, and some glorious. The key is finding the right match between the player and a particular piano.