The Emperor of Instruments
The piano is a music-making machine par-excellence. It’s complex timbre, wide tonal range, and dynamic capabilities remain unmatched in the world of modern musical instruments. Even the most expensive digital imitations cannot match it’s acoustic warmth and complexity. This is why the piano has survived for almost 300 years, weaving it’s magic through the many changes in music itself, from Beethoven to Oscar Peterson, from Glenn Gould to Elton John, from Sonata form to boogie-woogie, the piano has been adapted to every style of music while remaining virtually unchanged in the last 100 years. It’s design supports between 18-30 tonnes of tension and yet it stays in tune. There are over 3000 moving parts in its action yet it responds to every nuance of a musicians touch. For these many reasons, the piano still earns it’s 19th century nick-name, “The Emperor of Instruments”
Such beauty and functionality has it’s price, however. This machine demands attention; it must be maintained through the changing seasons. This is where we come in.
The Piano Man
For more than 4 decades, The Piano Man has been servicing piano’s for musicians, teachers, concert halls, church groups, and other piano people all over Grey and Bruce counties. From fine tuning and maintenance, to complex repairs and restorations, here at The Piano Man we have the expertise and experience to diagnose and fix your problem right the first time, and for a fair price. Whether restoring a hundred year old concert grand to it’s former glory, or tuning up the family piano at exam time, The Piano Man has been there and done that – we’ve seen it all. We’ve got you covered.
Co-founder, Master Technician
Andrew Burgess knows pianos. Since he co-founded The Piano Man with his wife Mary in 1975, Andrew Burgess has been a one-man piano service department. He has fixed every crack, gap, broken-string, water damage, warped wood, burnt out action, or fire damaged piano that’s ever entered his shop. He has relentlessly hunted down and eliminated every little click, clack, squeak, or thump to cross his path is the last several decades. He has brought life back to crumbling piano carcasses, restoring them to their former glory as beautiful instruments. He has tuned and maintained pianos for thousands of customers – musicians, piano teachers, music festivals, schools, and has been requested by travelling professionals like Downchild Blues Band’s Jane Vasey, and classical virtuoso Anton Kuerti.
Andrew Burgess began his career in 1966 as a lowly chip-tuner at the Heintzman piano factory in Hanover, Ontario. His talent and affinity were quickly recognized, and over the next several years Andrew worked his way through an intensive apprenticeship program, working nearly every job on the factory floor. During this time, Andrew also learned the technique of fine-tuning, passed down and refined for generations, from mentor Stan Jones, an accomplished tuner and graduate of the renowned CNIB program. Andrew started The Piano Man as a part-time business in 1975, tuning and maintaining customer’s pianos in their homes. Meanwhile 1980, Andrew had worked his way up to Heintzman’s plant superintendent, overseeing all aspects of design and production. Over the next few years, the piano business became erratic as production moved over-seas, Andrew worked for Sklar Peppler, Lesage, and Oasis International. In 1989 Andrew left his final post as manager of Sherlock Manning, the last surviving piano factory in Canada, to dedicate his time fully to The Piano Man, where he resides as master technician to this day.
When Andrew Burgess retired from the road he passed the torch to his son Justin, the only one of many apprentices to complete and pass Andrews training program. “The tuning method we use has been around for a couple hundred years. It has been constantly refined by tuners over the decades as the instrument itself evolved – especially in the booming factories of the early 20th century. My father’s technique embraces all these refinements, plus those of the CNIB, as well as a little secret mojo of his own, perfected over his nearly 5 decades of tuning experience. It takes years to learn the technique. It’s tough.”, says Justin. “I had a huge advantage since I practically grew up in The Piano Man shop listening to Dad tune.” Justin started out sweeping, the re-stringing and rough tuning. Slowly but surely picking up the tricks of the trade over the years, Justin became The Piano Man’s behind the scenes tuner, rough tuning the rebuilt pianos in the shop, and keeping the pianos on the sales floor sounding good. Since finally joining The Piano Man team full time in 2015 Justin has helped rebuild some beautiful pianos, tuned hundreds more, and enjoys rave reviews from many of his clients.
Co-founder, The Boss
Mary Burgess has been absolutely essential to The Piano Man from the very beginning, making The Piano Man a true blue Mom ’n’ Pop enterprise. Since 1975, Mary Burgess has been the voice of The Piano Man, getting to know each and every customer, learning about their needs, and walking them through the technicalities of piano maintenance. She doesn’t just run the office, she IS the office. Mary handles all departments: public relations, scheduling, accounting, advertising, etc. She is chief salesperson, nowadays wheeling and dealing in the used piano, and antiques markets. She is no stranger to the shop, often working right along side Andrew and Justin on restoration jobs. Mary Burgess is truly the heart and soul of the whole operation.