The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Historic Steinway Hall in Manhattan to be torn down and moved. | December 29, 2014

By Jacob Stockinger

I think of Steinway Hall the same way that some people think of and advertise Sedona, Arizona: A kind of navel to a spiritual world.

For many pianists, anyway, such is the case.

Steinway Hall (below is the hallmark rotunda of the famed building) is a landmark building where a historic meeting took place between composer-pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff and keyboard virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz.

steinway hall

For generations it is where the greatest keyboard artists have gone to select the proper instrument for the Carnegie Hall and other solo recitals, chamber music concerts and concerto appearances at other venues such as Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center.

To be selected and named a “Steinway artist” was the highest professional accolade, whether you were Arthur Rubinstein or Van Cliburn or Emanuel Ax or Pierre-Laurent Aimard or Jeremy Denk or Daniil Trifonov. And there have been countless others.

But nothing can block “progress.”

Especially the progress officials call economic development.

So soon the old Steinway Hall will move to a new location, and the old Steinway Hall will be demolished to make room for upscale luxury condominiums.

Maybe it is just another example of the old real estate saying: Location, location, location.

After all, Steinway Hall is not very far from Carnegie Hall (below).


Talk about prime locations and reputable or prestigious addresses.

Here is a link to an earlier story and less complete story, with less background, from March 2013 in The New York Times. Be sure to read the Reader Comments:




  1. I love your blog and I love reading your posts.
    This post is very well-written, just like all of your other posts, but it also makes me very sad because just like most of the readers and writers of this blog, I also study classical music (and couldn’t live without it), and it’s just painful to hear that the building where two of the oldest and most famous composers/pianists held a meeting is going to get torn down. I wish that there was something we could do to stop those developers from doing it, but I think that someone like us probably tried their best to stop them already, and they’re clearly not listening.
    But anyway, I wish you a happy New Year! Even if something sad is going to happen, we should still celebrate the New Year happily. 🙂

    Comment by fifiandlulucrew — January 1, 2015 @ 8:37 am

    • I actually just read that they chose to sell it, and they’re still going to keep the first floor, so it’s actually not as sad as I thought it was. 🙂

      Comment by fifiandlulucrew — January 1, 2015 @ 9:30 am

  2. It’s a shame that there seems to be no way to stop developers, who tend to be destroyers of so many important landmarks to build yet another boring metal and glass building. It’s happening here in Madison too. Sad loss.

    Comment by Eva Wright — December 29, 2014 @ 8:26 am

  3. What a shame. In America, we destroy our own heritage, while in Europe. it is one of their main economic engines. We are in the adolescent phase of a culture: disparage the ‘old’ and take stupid risks. I fear some of those risks are going to be the end of the planet.

    Comment by slfiore — December 29, 2014 @ 8:03 am

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