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Brands | Piano Evaluation Contest

Background
The latter half of the 19th Century was replete with expositions in which the top piano manufacturers showed off the fruits of their ingenuity and craftsmanship, and panels of experts judged the qualities of the pianos.  During the 20th Century, as piano production declined, the piano makers’ piano expositions and competitions ended.  Unfortunately, this left a major void with regard to useful information for the consumer about the relative qualities of pianos. 

In the spirit of filling at least some of this void, in 2002, we conducted a scientifically run study with nearly 300 highly qualified and accomplished pianists to evaluate, side by side, the best of America’s new concert pianos, the new Steinway ‘B’ and the new Mason & Hamlin ‘BB’ (the seven-foot grands). 

The pianos were rated by the pianists for (i) touch, (ii) tone, and (iii) overall quality.  The pianists also indicated what they thought the results of the study would be (and the pianists that most accurately predicted the outcomes won prizes including a prize of the new Mason BB). 

The Evaluation Results
Once the data from the evaluation forms was tabulated, the results were clear:

  • Tone - roughly 67% of the pianists preferred the tone of the Mason & Hamlin; 33% preferred the tone of the Steinway
  • Touch - the pianists were split equally on touch; 50% preferred the touch of the Steinway, and 50% preferred the touch of the Mason
  • Overall - the pianists were split equally overall; 50% preferred the Steinway, and 50% preferred the Mason

Click here to review the detailed results.

Conclusion
The piano evaluation was a success.  Not only did the pianists enjoy participating in our comparative study, but valuable information was produced, surprising many of the pianists as well as the broader performance community.  The new Mason & Hamlin concert grand piano was rated equally or better than the new Steinway.  But more impressively, a new Mason & Hamlin costs about 50% of the price of a new Steinway.  In this regard, the Mason is the true winner.  This is the type of value proposition we are pleased to offer our clients.

The Prizes

  1. First Prize was a new seven-foot Mason & Hamlin (BB) grand piano1. The retail value of this prize (MSRP) is approximately $60,000. The odds of winning this prize, based purely on chance, were one in 282.
  2. Second Prize shall be a transferable coupon valid for up to three years and worth $10,000 towards the purchase of any new Mason & Hamlin or Estonia grand piano in the Faust Harrison inventory. The odds of winning this prize, based purely on chance, were 1 in 281. This prize has no cash value.
  3. Third Prize was a transferable coupon valid for up to three years and worth $5,000 towards the purchase of any new Mason & Hamlin or Estonia grand piano in the Faust Harrison inventory. The odds of winning this prize, based purely on chance, are 1 in 280. This prize has no cash value.
  4. Fourth Prize (to be awarded to each of 50 participants) shall be a transferable coupon valid for up to three years and worth $1,500 towards the purchase of any new Mason & Hamlin or Estonia grand piano in the Faust Harrison inventory. The odds of winning this prize, based purely on chance, were 50 in 279 (or about 1 in 5.5). This prize has no cash value.

 

Delta Sum Score

Rank

Name

Category

First Prize Winner:

0.64

1

Roger Peltzman

Overall Quality

Second Prize Winner:

0.30

1

Jeffrey Klitz

Tone Quality

Third Prize Winner:

0.59

1

Jerry Wong

Touch Quality

52 Fourth Prize Winners:

0.96

2

Pete Maliverni

Overall Quality

 

1.33

3

Ben Loeb

 

2.26

4

Eleanor Sandresky

 

2.86

5

Jeffrey Lodin

 

2.86

6

Neal Larrabee

 

 

2.94

7

Kurt Weiting

 

 

2.94

8

Dan Lipton

 

 

3.04

9

William Wolfram

 

 

3.47

10

Paul Shaw

 

 

3.47

11

Maiko Tanaka

 

 

3.54

12

James Millar

 

 

3.54

13

Ethan Iverson

 

 

3.67

14

William Stein

 

 

4.03

15

Tomoko Isshiki

 

 

4.14

16

David Berkman

 

 

4.24

17

Tim Harrison

 

 

4.54

18

Tim Long

 

 

4.54

19

Tara Hofmeister-Sheng

 

 

4.73

20

Mark Riggleman

 

 

4.87

21

Katherine Pope

 

 

4.93

22

J. Wendell Smith

 

 

5.14

23

Sanja Drakulic-Ratkovic

 

 

5.16

24

Sila Cevikce

 

 

5.27

25

Deidre O'Donahue

 

 

5.27

26

Barbara Winn

 

 

5.33

27

David Iskowitz

 

 

5.34

28

David Witten

 

 

5.44

29

Riko Higuma

 

 

5.47

30

Ron Drotos

 

 

5.53

31

Lisa Moore

 

 

5.53

32

James Mirakian

 

 

5.67

33

Natala Mchedlishvili

 

 

5.84

34

Robert Wolski

 

 

5.85

35

Roberto Hidalgo

 

 

5.86

36

Stefan Beuter

 

 

6.07

37

Richard Horowitz

 

 

6.07

38

Howard Watkins

 

 

6.14

39

Neal Kirkwood

 

 

6.23

40

Eduardo Browne

 

 

6.33

41

Matthew Kanelos

 

 

6.33

42

Alex Mauldin

 

 

6.36

43

Madeline Bruser

 

 

6.54

44

Julia Zilberquit

 

 

6.56

45

Miah Im

 

 

6.67

46

Linda Gerson (Hall)

 

 

6.74

47

Marc Peloquin

 

 

6.74

48

Quinh Nguyen

 

 

6.76

49

Roy Zv-Arets

 

 

6.83

50

Elisa Rha

 

 

7.04

51

Sachiko Kato

 

 

7.04

52

Mei-Ting Sun

 

 

7.04

53

Martina Cukrov

 



 
 
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