Historical Piano Study Center
The Historical Piano Study Center:
The Historical Piano Study Center, showcasing the Frederick Historical Piano Collection, is open to the public for individual and group tours. Its mission is to provide opportunities for listening to, playing on, and learning about the piano, as known to important composers and pianists from Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven through Debussy and Ravel.
The Study Center can provide a forum for lecture-recitals, master classes, seminars, panel discussions, and such, on matters concerning the relationship of compositional style and performance practice to the instruments for which the standard repertoire was composed.
A tour of the Piano Collection takes three hours, due to the number and variety of pianos to be encountered, and the need to introduce each type with a few words, and with appropriate musical selections. Visitors may play the pianos.
The Study Center is open Thursdays, 10:00 to 4:00; Saturdays, 1:00 to 4:00, and at other times by appointment, year 'round. In winter, to maintain optimum humidity for the pianos, the temperature is kept at 50°f. Visitors are advised to dress warmly. Appointments may be made by phone or by e-mail (email@example.com).
While there is no fee for a tour, the Study Center depends upon (deductible) freewill donations for maintaining its building and supporting its musical programs. The Piano Study Center is fully handicapped accessible.
The Frederick Piano Collection:
The Frederick Collection of historical grand pianos includes two dozen instruments by leading makers in Vienna, Paris, London, Leipzig, and the United States, from about 1790 to 1928.
Each piano represents a major type known to and played by a specific composer or generation of composers and pianists from Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, through the nineteenth to the early twentieth century.
Collection of Pianos on Display:
(By unknown maker), Vienna (?) c.1790-1795
Brodmann, Vienna c.1800-1805
Katholnig, Vienna c.1805-1810
Clementi, London 1805
Bösendorfer, Vienna c.1828-1832
Conrad Graf, Vienna c.1828-1829
Tröndlin, Leipzig c. 1830
Stodart , London c. 1830
Erard, Paris 1840
Pleyel, Paris 1845
Bösendorfer, Vienna 1845
Streicher, Vienna 1846
Chickering, Boston 1862
Steinway, New York 1866
Streicher, Vienna 1868
Streicher, Vienna 1871
Broadwood, London 1871
Bösendorfer, Vienna 1877
Blüthner, Leipzig 1877
Erard, Paris 1877
Mason & Hamlin, Boston c. 1885
Erard, Paris 1893
Blüthner, Leipzig 1907
Erard, Paris 1928
Historical Piano Concerts Series:
Established in October, 1985, the Concert Series is held in the spring and fall at the Ashburnham Community Church, 9 Chapel Street, at the corner of Main Street (Route 12).
Concerts have included music for solo piano, piano duo, piano with violin and/or cello, lieder, and French art songs, performed by outstanding professional musicians.
Each concert matches a single historical piano from the Frederick Collection to the repertoire best suited to it: For example, Chopin's music on the 1845 Pleyel or 1840 Erard; Brahms's on the 1868 or 1871 Streicher; Debussy's on the 1877 or the 1893 Erard or the 1907 Blüthner.
The church, built around 1835 and renovated in the mid-1960s, is a light, airy space with superb acoustics. It can seat two hundred people and is fully handicapped accessible.
The concerts, at 4:00 o'clock on Sunday afternoons in September-October and May-June, last about an hour and three quarters. Admission is $10.00 per person, children and students free. There are no advance ticket sales or reserve seats. To learn of upcoming events, either consult our Web site (http://www.frederickcollection.org) or ask to be on the mailing list. Fliers announcing concerts are mailed only twice a year, in spring and fall.
William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer
Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.
The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.