“This glorious masterpiece” said Franz Liszt, referring to the fine, exceptional tonal quality of the 19th century Steinway – now revered as one of the finest examples of instrumental craftsmanship in all of history.
Whether its for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sotheby’s or the demanding and discerning touch of some of today’s great piano artists and Juilliard masters, Leopold Holder is dedicated to restoring the fine and rare tradition of excellence and beauty to the art of the piano. Mr. Holder has been passionate about the world’s favorite instrument since the age of 4 – growing up in Europe – and instilled with the finest of European traditions. Ever since, his life has been a pilgrimage to acquire and elevate extensive abilities to perfect his much beloved pianos in need of new vitality and care.
“There is simply is no better example of great art and skilled craft coming together to make something truly beautiful” insists Mr. Holder. Leopold has seen the quality standards of piano making decline steadily since his youth, which is why he aims to fill the void left by contemporary corporate manufacturing by providing quality restored instruments for those who demand the very best.
OLD WORLD CRAFTMANSHIP
Schooled in Europe and America in the Old World traditions of attention to detail and artistry in every aspect of instrument care, restoration and workmanship, Leopold applies the skills and techniques developed for more than a century. The rare artist of French polishing, hand-nothing of bridges, and the crowning of soundboards with go-bars are just a few of the special techniques that distinguish Mr. Holder’s unique process of restoration. He also is one of the very few remaining craftsman skilled enough to do all the work on the instrument, committed to only the highest standards of excellence. With the finest materials in the hands of a skilled craftsman, a fine piano always emerges with a unique and distinctive personality by utilizing materials which produce a tone which is rich, clear and full of carrying power.
Our soundboards are of specially scrutinized sitka spruce, quality controlled to at least 8 grains per linear inch. To withstand the great stress imposed on the turning pins, pinblocks are cut from hardwood laminate. The bridges are of quarter-sawn hard-rock maple. We use American Steinway hammers, German action parts, and German wire. Before installation our soundboard planks are cured in a hot box at 120º F. They remain there for three to four months, until their moisture content has dropped to 5%.
SOUND AND BEAUTY
Leopold firmly believes that the beauty of the instrument extends beyond just it’s sound. Indeed, the look and style of pianos is an interesting study and art all by itself, and it is vitally important to understand that the complete instrument involves tonal, mechanical and visual aesthetics. In 1979, the exquisite and world famous Alma-Tadema nine-foot Steinway grand which sold at Sotheby’s auction for $400,000 was musically prepared by Leopold Holder. I am an expert at finding and restoring unusual instruments – even by period, finish or style, whether it’s a “Louis XV grand in red mahogany” or “Something white in an Art Deco case.”
I service all 5 NYC boroughs as well as Westchester, Putnam, Nassau and Suffolk counties.