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!
Reviews for Sol’s Piano
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A good one
I have tried a bunch of them, paid and free, and this one is the best (to my taste). Nothing is not good. OK, maybe that hammer noises are a bit loud on some of the high notes, but that is kind of nice, and if you don't like it, just eq down at around 145 hz and you will be fine :-)
Also works in sforzando
I've tested it on sforzando and it works perfectly. Great smooth sounding piano.
Sampled with genuine intentions
I tried dozens of Pianobook entries, but this one definitely belongs to the top 10% tier of what can be found on this site. The tone is perfect and so is the playability. Enough layers and round robins for realistic performances. One can sense the extra effort the author made in memory of his musical mentor.
A beautiful, delicate piano.
This is a piano that sounds beautiful solo. It is easily among the best piano sample libraries at PianoBook. The piano has a very special, warm character to the tone. I find it inspiring to play and the playability of the library is excellent (I used the KONTAKT version). If this were a commercial/paid library, I would be quite happy with it. Kudos, Pete. You did a great job and honored your late music teacher and friend. Thank you.
Beautiful Bright Piano
Wow. im pretty blown away by this. Im usually into felt pianos and find non felts lacking in character and being boring. This one blew me away though because even though its not felt it possesses all the characteristics i love in felt pianos. Warm, cinematic, emotional, characterful. This will probably be my new go to non felt piano. Not much else to say about this one. Nothing to complain about. Everyone should check this out, even people like me who usually prefer felt pianos