The Piano Tuner/Technician Artisan
The artisan skill required to maintain the piano is now regarded as critically endangered due to the growing scarcity of elite tuner/technicians. This research teaching program seeks to find a solution to preserve these endangered technical skills.
James Boyk states in his article, The Endangered Piano Technician (Scientific American, December 1995) “As a pianist, I have a recurring nightmare that the piano will disappear as a concert instrument, not because people won’t want to hear it or play it, nor because fine pianos won’t be built, but because good concert piano technicians are vanishing.”
The Heritage Crafts Association UK states: “Crafts classified as critically endangered are those at serious risk of no longer being practiced in the UK. They may include crafts with a shrinking base of craftspeople, crafts with limited training opportunities, crafts with low financial viability, or crafts where there is no mechanism to pass on the skills and knowledge.”
The elite piano tuner is one such critically endangered craft.
It is clear that within the next decade, there will be a critical loss of skilled, experienced concert tuner/technicians to maintain acoustic keyboard instruments in performance venues throughout Australia. This will have dire consequences for Australia’s music and performing arts industry and music education. Along with the scarcity of elite, experienced concert tuner/technicians in Australia, the number of available experts with the experience, skills and facility to teach the next generation is very small and diminishing with time.
My experience of over 40 years as an internationally renowned piano technician-artisan, as well as my research into the preservation of historical keyboard instruments throughout the UK and Europe in 2018––thanks to a Churchill Fellowship––has provided me with an understanding of the state of this diminishing craft.
Over the next 6 months, I will be undertaking a research teaching program involving 12 participants. These participants will be taught the traditional skills required to string and tune a late 18th century English square piano.
Although my teaching research involves a historical keyboard instrument, the skills needed for listening and the correct tuning techniques can be applied to the modern piano. The planned outcome of this research is to identify teaching techniques that can sustain the piano tuning craft, and to form methods to impart those techniques to the next generation of tuners.
Your contribution will help us provide a valuable resource in developing a pedagogical curriculum for teaching the next generation of piano tuners. Your contribution will help to preserve this endangered artisan craft, and the piano, for present and future generations.
This project is being overseen by the esteemed pianist and educator, Prof. Geoffrey Lancaster AO.
Paul Tunzi receiving the 2019 Vice-Chancellor's Founding Pianos Masters Scholarship to research the restoration of the ‘First Fleet’ piano.
An English square piano by Frederick Beck, London, 1780. With Professor Steve Chapman CBE, Vice-Chancellor, Edith Cowan University.
Australia House, London. April 2019.
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The Well Maintained Piano
A wholistic approach to realise the potential of your piano
As a renowned piano technician in great demand by the finest professional players from Australia and around the world, Government House feel extremely lucky to also avail itself of Paul Tunzi’s professional skills and high standards.Read More
THE HONOURABLE KERRY SANDERSON AC
The support of the Sydney International Piano Competition from Paul is one that I hope will continue for many years to come and I hope that many more instruments and artists are able to experience the commitment, generosity and passion of Paul – a master of his craft.Read More
Paul Tunzi is an outstanding keyboard technician, educator and artist. His professional skills have led to his premier status in the field of general repair and upkeep, while his understanding of tunings and temperament (historical and modern) has meant that Paul Tunzi is in great demand by the finest professional players.Read More
Emeritus Professor David Tunley AM
Paul Tunzi is without a doubt one of Australia’s finest piano technicians. The standard of work on a range of keyboard instruments is second to none. He is certainly the most in demand piano technician in Perth, and is often flown around the country to prepare pianos for some of the finest pianists in the world.Read More
Associate Professor Graham Wood
Paul Tunzi is a special kind of piano technician. His understanding of the piano (in all of its many historical incarnations) is subtle and sophisticated; this is evidenced by his richly informed and consummate tuning skills, and by his formidable, insightful and faultless capacities as a piano technician.Read More
Professor Geoffrey Lancaster AM
In his review of the album “Haydn: Arianna a Naxos” by Edwards and Lancaster, Roger Covell makes reference to Paul Tunzi’s work by saying: “The instrument Lancaster uses has been beautifully tuned and prepared”.Read More
Roger Covell, Sydney Morning Herald
Personally, I always feel a sense of relief knowing I’m about to perform on a piano that Paul Tunzi has prepared. I have only the utmost respect for someone who has so enriched our community over so many years. May there be many more!Read More
Paul Tunzi’s wealth of knowledge and experience, training in the great piano ateliers of the world, and his gentle diplomacy when seeking professional advice guarantees instruments in his care are maintained to the highest international standards.Read More
Faith Maydwell & Anthony Maydwell
It’s rare to find a technician who understands the subtleties of voicing an instrument to match a hall’s acoustic, to match a player’s requirements and to bring out the best a piano has to offer. Perth offers both great venues and great pianos, beautifully prepared for performance thank to technicians like Paul Tunzi.Read More
Piers Lane AO
Paul Tunzi’s technical skill, empathy for musicians and their music and relentless curiosity and desire to constantly learn have earned him the highest professional respect from his peers and musicians from across the globe. He has a deep love of music and great respect for all those who participate in it.Read More
My instrument was perfectly prepared by Paul Tunzi who was able to listen to my wishes and requests and accomplished all of them even better than expected, if possible. I would love to always find excellent technicians such as Mr Tunzi during my tours.Read More
I cannot speak too highly of Paul Tunzi as piano technician.
To a significant extent, his skill, experience and pleasant manner have for years contributed to the success of innumerable recitals and concerto performances at venues around the city.
It is a delight to find a Fazioli when I come to perform in Perth, and the instruments are always very well looked after by Paul Tunzi. I hope many more pianists in the future will discover the joy of playing a Fazioli, and that it will transform their interpretations.Read More
I went straight to Paul Tunzi for help and advice in sourcing a suitable piano when planning the Crank Recording facility. Paul sourced and restored the Yamaha CFIII concert grand to impeccable playing order. Artists often remark on the piano’s ease of playability, evenness of touch and depth of tone.Read More
Celebrating 40 years of serving Perth's musical community
Beyond just tuning, a piano requires regular cleaning, lubricating, adjusting and servicing parts affected by use and environment