The National Liberal Club has an impressive programme of musical events throughout the year, including a series of concerts organised by our partner The Kettner Society, a charity with a particular focus on showcasing young musicians and encouraging musical appreciation by the general public. Shows and concerts hosted include the London Bel Canto Festival, performances by talented members such as Dillie Keane (from "Fascinating Aida") and the amazing soprano BeiBei Wang. We also have musical accompaniments to main events such as our St George's, St David's, St Patrick's, Burns Night and Trafalgar Dinners as well as Carols at our Christmas lunches and dinners.
These musical events are under threat as the grand piano, a Steinway, which we have used for many years, has left the Club before its owners vacate their space on our ground floor later in 2021.
We therefore need to raise funds for a new piano which will last for the century ahead. We aim to purchase a Steinway Model D concert grand piano, continuing our link with Steinway & Sons who tuned the previous piano, and we need to raise £100,000 to fund this. We have identified the ideal instrument - a hardly used piano from Steinway's Concert & Artists Department.
A Model D is the ultimate Steinway, and is the same nine foot concert grand piano that you will hear at Wigmore Hall, the Barbican, the Royal Albert Hall and all major concert venues around the world. We want an instrument of this quality to support our ambitious concert series and to support recordings and broadcasts from the Club.
We are asking members of the National Liberal Club and of our 30 groups, societies and forums like The Kettner Society, to contribute through donations and fundraising activities. With their help, we hope to have a piano in place for the second half of 2021. In the meantime, we will borrow one.
The musical life of the Club adds to the fellowship and welcoming nature of the NLC, and is something we want to build on in the years ahead. Please help us invest in a suitable instrument to bring joy to all our members and guests.
You can donate to the Appeal using JustGiving.com at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/NLCPiano
It is also possible to donate by Bank Transfer - contact us if you would prefer to do that.
Donations through the Kettner Society are eligible for Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer and we can claim an additional 25% from the taxman. In addition, if you are a higher rate taxpayer you can offset the higher rate difference against your tax bill to help reduce it.
Steinway & Sons was founded by master craftsmen, trained in the best European tradition. They built their pianos then as they do now, one at a time, applying skills that were handed down from master to apprentice, from generation to generation.
Each Steinway grand piano takes nearly a year to create. Nothing is hurried. The carefully selected woods employed in the rims, tops, soundboards and actions cure for months in our yard kilns and conditioning rooms until they stabilise at our rigidly specified moisture content.
Legendary Canadian pianist Glenn Gould described his relationship with his beloved CD318. A wonderful 2008 book by Katie Haffner explains why the Model D is the ultimate piano:
"Glenn Gould was famous for his obsessions: the scarves, sweaters and fingerless gloves that he wore even on the hottest summer days; his deep fear of germs and illness; the odd wooden "pygmy" chair that he carried with him wherever he performed; and his sudden withdrawal from the public stage at the peak of his career. But perhaps Gould's greatest obsession of all was for a particular piano, a Steinway concert grand known as CD318 (C, meaning for the use of Steinway Concert Artists only, and D, denoting it as the largest that Steinway built). A Romance on Three Legs is the story of Gould's love for this piano, from the first moment of discovery, in a Toronto dept. store, to the tragic moment when the piano was dropped and seriously damaged while being transported from a concert overseas. Hafner also introduces us to the world and art of piano tuning, including a central character in Gould's life, the blind tuner Verne Edquist, who lovingly attended to CD318 for more than two decades. We learn how a concert grand is built, and the fascinating story of how Steinway & Sons weathered the war years by supplying materials for the military effort. Indeed, CD318 came very close to ending up as a series of glider parts or, worse, a casket. The book has already been lauded by Kevin Bazzana, author of the definitive Gould biography, who notes that Hafner "has clarified some old mysteries and turned up many fresh details."