Henry Steinway: The piano man
My mother was a concert pianist. One of my earliest recollections is sitting under her shiny ebony Steinway baby grand, listening to its full, rich and colorful range, as she practiced intensely for her concerts. The Steinway is a powerful reminder of my youth, her music imbedded in my soul, but I never considered where Steinway came from or how it became the standard for excellence in pianos. The story begins with Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg, born in Westphalia, Germany in 1797. It was far from a model childhood. Napoleon’s occupation of Germany forced the Steinweg family to flee to the Hartz Mountains after their home and lands were confiscated. By the time Heinrich was 15 he had lost his mother, father, and all his siblings save one sister. He was also penniless.