Sol Berkowitz was my theory and orchestration teacher at college. He also gave me free piano lessons and composition lesson and I remained close to him right up until he passed on in 2006. This piano was at his home in Queens NY. He owned it for over 50 years and I played it often as a young adult.
The story behind that piano is that he and his wife, Pearl were taking a cruise in the early 1950’s and he noticed a beat up looking piano tucked into a corner of a dining hall. He opened it up and saw it was a Steinway B, played it for a few minutes and was amazed at the richness of tone. He had found a piano that he loved.
During the cruise, he made a deal with the cruise line to buy them a new Knabe grand in exchange for the Steinway. He shipped the instrument to a place in New York to have the entire cabinet reworked.
Fast forward to today where one of his relatives donated the piano to the Copland School Of Music, Queens College CUNY where he taught for over 40 years and I am now on the faculty. It was in Sol’s will that it not be sold but donated if the person inheriting it no longer wanted it. To be honest, the piano needs both regulation and voicing and there might be a slight crack in the soundboard but it still has a beautiful tone. While my sampled instrument doesn’t fully capture the entire range of this instrument, it does capture the spirit of it.
I think Sol would be very happy that this instrument would live on well into the 21st century to be enjoyed by whoever downloads it.
There is a longer story about this and also a performance on the original piano on my YouTube page:
The version that I have uploaded has 3 dynamic layers. I recorded 4 but was having some issues programming a good velocity curve. If anyone would like to take a try at programming one with all 4 that would be great. Also I have some nice photos and did create a wrapper for the instrument but it is at the original size of the Kontakt instrument GUI. If anyone could make a larger one with one of the photos that would be great!
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Interesting, but not perfect
This piano isn’t for everyone. 4/5!
A piano to inspire
From the moment I sat down in front of this piano, I couldn’t step away from it. Music flooded out of me from nowhere. This never happens! Sure, there’s better sounding pianos out there and it’s got a lack of high frequency resonance but a little eq and reverb adjustment and I was sold.
SOL’S PIANO Is probably my favorite sampled piano so far on this website.
The only critique is the lack of velocity layers. But other than that, this is amazing.
Thank you very much Pete and Sol.
Hi Pete, Great piano!
Great piano! Thank you so much!
Like you suggested, I made a patch with the MP samples. I found the oringal volume differences quite good. So I simplified the velocity curve and made some changes to the mapping areas. I also changed the velocity modulation strength for the “Release Group” from 100% to 10%. I am not an expert piano player, but is the realse volume not independent from the strike force?.
I will adjust the settings of my patch in the coming weeks according to feel and ear.
So maybe today’s patch will change a bit, but then somehow i could be released in the forum.. or if you like it i can send it to you and you can put in into your downloadable Zip file.
Kind regards from Berlin,