Matching People to Pianos and Pianos to People

Matchmaker, The New Yorker

THE WORLD OF BUSINESS about Steinway piano saleswoman Erica Feidner… Writer describes Feidner’s sale of a piano to Glady Faires, of Knoxville, as well as his own purchase… Tells about Steinway Hall… Almost every twentieth-century virtuoso has passed through this room en route to Steinway’s Concert and Artists Department, housed in the basement, where he or she can select a concert grand for performances at Carnegie Hall, across the street. Feidner, who is thirty-seven, has been the top salesperson in the Steinway organization since 1994, and in 1999 alone her sales netted four million dollars… Erica van der Linde first came to Steinway Hall when she was ten years old, on her first visit to New York City. Her parents drove her from Bennington, where her father, Reinhoud, was a professor of mathematics at Bennington College, and her mother, Rosamond, taught piano and was the president of the Vermont Music Teachers’ Association. Her father was also a talented musician, playing oboe, organ, and piano, and had studied in his native Holland. The youngest of four daughters, Erica, like her sisters, had begun studying piano at the age of three… Tells about her family… At ten, on the visit to New York, she auditioned for Juilliard’s Pre-College Division, where she was accepted and awarded a scholarship. At eleven, she made her début with the Vermont Symphony, playing a Haydn concerto… Tells how she entered the Miss America pageant from Vermont, and went to the finals in Atlantic City… After college, she hurt her hand skiing, and discontinued her concert career… Like many other talented musicians, Erica had an aptitude for math. She enrolled in business school at Baruch College, in Manhattan, and found a part-time job selling Bösendorfer pianos at a Manhattan dealer. After she graduated, in 1992, she moved to Steinway… Explains why Steinways vary widely in their sound… Writer describes literary agent Joel Regal’s purchase of a Steinway grand, as well as Cathy Weisenburger’s purchase of a used Tiffany edition Model L… Other pianos sell for half or less than half of Steinways; the Steinway list price ranges from fifteen thousand dollars for the smallest upright to eighty-six thousand for the basic concert grand… Writer describes giving a concert in Steinway Hall for a group of friends at Feidner’s behest… Describes how Feidner herself had a musical reawakening when she played an impromptu concert for her dying father over the phone from the hall…

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