FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JULY 30, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 31
Courtesy of Steinway & Sons
Steinway & Sons reopens historic Astoria piano factory
BY BILL PARRY
Steinway & Sons announced that its
historic Astoria factory is fully reopened
and once again producing the world’s fi nest
Aft er a partial opening earlier in July
with nearly 20 percent of its workforce,
the company has gradually welcomed
back its full complement of more than 200
artisans, along with managers, foremen,
engineers and other employees supporting
Steinway’s manufacturing process.
Aft er its 1853 founding in Manhattan
and multiple New York City expansions,
Steinway & Sons purchased the land
where the Astoria factory has stood for
more than 150 years. It opened the factory
soon aft erward. Piano production
has continued on this site, mostly unabated,
through the 1918 Spanish fl u pandemic,
two World Wars and the Great
During World War II, the factory was
used to build gliders as part of the U.S.
war eff ort as well as special “Victory
Vertical” pianos that provided live music
to troops on the front lines.
“Our company is more than 167 years
old, and we have faced many unique challenges
since our founding,” Steinway &
Sons Presidentand CEO Ron Losby said.
“While today’s pandemic is unprecedented
in many ways, I have no doubt that we
will rise to the occasion once again as we
continue to provide our precision-craft -
ed pianos to artists, institutions and those
who love music. In these times, the power
of music to heal and bring us together is
needed even more.”
During the factory downtime, extensive
measures were taken to ensure a safe
work environment for returning workers.
Among the many changes Steinway’s
workers encountered upon their return
to work were temperature checks upon
entry; health screenings; company-provided
face masks; staggered shift s and
breaks; numerous new hand sanitizer stations
and rigorous cleaning schedules;
and a new layout in some areas to ensure
adequate distancing between workers.
“While we are a very traditional company,
one of our most important traditions
is constantly improving our manufacturing
facilities and processes, and in
turn improving the pianos that we produce,”
Steinway & Sons Vice President of
Manufacturing Stephen Emmerth said.
“So integrating these changes happened
naturally, and we’re now not only building
the best Steinways we’ve ever built, we’re
doing so in the safest factory environment
we’ve ever had.”
Th e Steinway factory was closed for
nearly four months.
“It’s very diffi cult to lose almost onethird
of our production for the year.
Building a Steinway is a labor-intensive
process that can’t be sped up,” Losby said.
“We were actually surprised with the level
of sales we saw during this pandemic. If
the demand for Steinways this fall is typical
of other years, we will likely run out
of pianos, so we are very hopeful that our
factory will be able to continue at full production.
However, the safety of our artisans
is our number one priority. If at any
point we feel there is a safety issue, we
will take whatever steps are necessary to
remediate that issue, up to and including
another factory shutdown.”
As another casualty of the COVID-19
pandemic, many piano festivals and competitions
that were set to take place this
summer and beyond have been canceled
or postponed. As a result, Steinway has a
large inventory of almost-new, competition
approved pianos for sale to the general
public at a discount through the end of July.
After a four-month COVID-19 shutdown, Steinway & Sons has reopened its world-famous piano factory in Astoria.