Keepers of the Keys

Oberlin Conservatory of Music has 231 Steinway pianos, making it an all-Steinway school and the piano maker’s oldest continuous customer. It is rare to find such a concentration as this outside of a metropolitan area, making John Cavanaugh’s job as director of piano technology vital. Cavanaugh helped develop Steinway’s only offsite factory training facility in Oberlin, where apprentices attend the summer C.F. Theodore Steinway Technical Academy.

During the academic year, students such as Seido Karasaki, in his second year in the double-degree program (studying viola and neuroscience), can learn skills alongside Cavanaugh and his staff. In turn, they help the department keep up with concert tuning, rebuilding, and adjusting pianos throughout campus.

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Photograph by William Reiter