Twenty years ago, two young Steinway executives working late at Steinway Hall, heard the gentle sound of a student piano recital eminating from the building’s lower floors. This prompted a conversation reflecting back on their two childhoods and the wonderful effect the piano and such recitals had had on the direction of their lives.
Their discussion continued and subsequently led to the idea of creating a children’s book encapsulating this magic. The central concept was that all pianos have their own personality and that they hoped the book would inspire children to make a piano “their friend for life”.
The two young executives in question were Sally Coveleskie and Peter Goodrich. At that time Henry Z. Steinway (1915-2008), the great-grandson of founder Heinrich Engelhard Steinway, and the last family member to be company president, was still a profound influence at Steinway. He was greatly respected by Coveleskie and Goodrich, and they felt it most appropriate to name the piano at the centre of the story after their mentor.
The book tells of “Henry the Steinway,” a magical piano with a warm comforting personality. Ana is about to give her first recital, but is struggling. Henry offers sage advice and timeless wisdom to Ana and becomes her very special friend. Students of all ages continue to identify with Ana’s experience, taking comfort and courage in Henry’s sage advice.
The book’s illustrations needed to be perfect. And the authors engaged New York illustrator and designer Laura Friedman, who had actually met Henry Z. Steinway on several occasions, to convey the magic.
“His [Henry Z. Steinway] gentle spirit, contagious kindness, and untold generosity provided just the right touch of whimsical inspiration I needed to immerse myself in this project.”Laura Friedman, Illustrator
Henry is depicted as a Steinway grand piano with an affable avuncular face. His character and appearance have the warmth and wisdom of Henry Z. Steinway, but his round glasses are perhaps a reference back to those of Heinrich Englehard.
“Henry the Steinway and the Piano Recital” was first published in 2002. Such was the book’s popularity that the authors released two more titles: “Henry the Steinway, A Star is Born” and “Henry the Steinway Tours the World”. Over 100,000 copies of these charming piano books have been sold.
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of its initial publication, “Henry the Steinway and the Piano Recital” has just been reissued. In addition, Beijing Science and Technology Press has now translated and printed all three titles for audiences in mainland China.
Henry the Steinway is a wonderful series of books about your best friend who is always by your side. I concertize in every corner of the globe and have been called a citizen of the world. Wherever I go I can depend on Henry the Steinway to be there with me. Teachers, children and parents will delight in this gentle story of making beautiful music, never giving up and becoming the best you can be.Lang Lang
Sally Coveleskie served as the National Director of Institutional Sales at Steinway & Sons in New York for over 25 years. Peter Goodrich also worked for Steinway for more than 25 years and was best known as the Vice-President of Concert & Artist Activities, Worldwide.
Title: Henry the Steinway and the Piano Recital
Author: Sally Coveleskie and Peter Goodrich
Illustrator: Laura Friedman
Publisher: GIA Publications Inc
Print Length: 36 pages
Dimensions: 31 x 23.5 cm
Full Retail Price: $17.95 / £16.99
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