In a town that reveres the piano, one of the largest purveyors of fine instruments is packing up shop. Steinway Hall is moving from their location on Camp Bowie Boulevard and leaving behind a storefront that is steeped in piano history.
"This store has been wonderful, and it's been a piano store for almost 75 years," said Danny Saliba, president of Steinway Hall.
Saliba has owned Steinway Hall for more than 25 of those years, the exclusive Steinway dealer for DFW that provides pianos to everyone from musicians to families to schools. They have placed 270 pianos on Fort Worth ISD campuses alone. And for years, Saliba also provided pianos to Fort Worth's own legendary pianist Van Cliburn.
"Van could do anything he wanted. If Van wanted the moon, I'd find him two," said Saliba.
Many of Cliburn's pianos came from here, even when he was playing far from home. Saliba recalled shipping pianos to Japan via FedEx for Cliburn to play in concert. And Cliburn would also come to the store at all hours to play in solitude. The legendary night owl had his own key to hall.
"To have a fresh piano," explained Saliba. "Not that he didn't have access to a fresh piano, but he wanted a fresh piano at 2 o'clock in the morning!"
Saliba said Cliburn would sign the pianos that he played with a pen, and over the years he probably signed at least 125 instruments.
"We'd always know he was here because the next day we would find pianos signed by Van, so we knew he stopped by," said Saliba.
But after all these years, Steinway Hall is packing up. They are opening a new gallery space in downtown Fort Worth next year, right across the street from Bass Hall where The Cliburn competition is held. Saliba said it will allow them to grow their business.
To prepare for the move, they've sold 50 pianos from the store and have placed 100 more in temporary storage locations. Saliba said some instruments are being loaned to friends and acquaintances to host in their homes through the holidays.
"Pretty much anybody I know," he said. "You got room?"
While the number of piano stores in DFW has dwindled in recent years, he said the market for Steinway and its affiliated brands has only improved. The Steinway pianos are manufactured by Steinway & Sons in New York City, and they also offer Boston and Essex lines.
"Fort Worth is one of our biggest markets," he said.
Cowtown will remain a piano town, with a new home for Steinway, even as they leave the stage on Camp Bowie.
Location Mentioned: Bass Performance Hall