My first experience with pianos and organs was as a teenager in the 1960’s, working with my father restoring instruments in churches and theaters. During this time I performed, gave lessons and studied piano and organ. Our family moved from or NJ home to the Chicago area where I began my studies as an organist and choirmaster, receiving a degree in liturgical music from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. However, during my schooling I realized I was not well suited to be a church musician.
After graduation I decided to go into business and rented my first shop in Oak Park, Illinois in 1971 where I gave lessons and rekindled my love for technical work. After five years in that small shop I moved the operation to larger quarters down the street where rebuilding and refinishing pianos could be done on a “grand” scale.
During the 1980’s my Muse Piano Workshop expanded into an adjacent store and built a showroom for our Story & Clark Piano dealership. We had 11 employees tuning, servicing, rebuilding and selling pianos. Integrated into this was a refinishing business where we refinished and repaired furniture as well as pianos. In 1988 we learned that the building where our shop had been located for 12 years, was being sold and that the new owner of the building wanted the retail space for himself. I decided this would be a good time to downsize so I kept just the in-home and concert tuning part of the business and built a reputation for quality service over the next 2 years with an eye toward moving to Vermont where we had often dreamed of living and working.
While vacationing with our relatives during Christmas 1989, they convinced us that the timing was right for our move to Vermont - so we did - in July of 1990. During that summer I started to build some wonderful relationships with clients, many of whom are still with me today. Currently I enjoy and am fortunate to have relationships with some of Vermont’s leading music making venues such as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Youth Orchestra, the University of Vermont, St. Michael’s College, the Flynn Center for the Arts, Flynn Space and Vermont Public Radio.
I am also very fortunate to have two beautiful women in my life: my wife Vikki and my daughter Emily. Both are very active musicians. Vikki belongs to several area singing groups including Maple Jam - an acappella jazz octet and my daughter is enjoying a successful singing career in the San Francisco Bay Area with her band, The Cosmo Alleycats.
We also share our home with two beautiful springer spaniels. I had never had a dog when I was growing up, but visiting customers homes I have met so many wonderful dogs that I had to discover the joys of pet ownership for myself. They are so wonderful! Why did I wait so long?!
It's been almost 30 years since moving here, and I am so proud to call myself a Vermonter (Even if the natives still consider us "flatlanders").
My Dad and me restoring a pipe organ in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1964.
My shop and showroom at 225 Harrison St. in Oak Park, Illinois. We were a fixture in that neighborhood for 16 years!
Our shop in Oak Park also handled full piano refinishing services: here a rare white piano.
My daughter Emily and my wife, Vikki.
Lucy and Ella - they help keep me sane!