STEINWAY & SONS
Steinway & Sons is founded on March 5, 1853 by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway in a Manhattan loft on Varick Street. By the 1860s, Steinway has built a new factory at Park Avenue and 53rd Street, the present site of the Seagram Building, where it covers a whole block. With a workforce of 350 men, production increases from 500 to 1,800 pianos per year. Steinway’s pianos win several important prizes at exhibitions in New York City, Paris and London, and over the next thirty years, Henry and his sons, C. F. Theodore, Charles, Henry Jr., William, and Albert, patent 127 inventions and contribute to the development of the modern piano.
THE ORIGINAL ARCHITECTS:
MASTERS OF MANHATTAN
The celebrated firm Warren & Wetmore is founded in 1887. The firm designs many of Manhattan's most refined residential and cultural buildings, from 927 Fifth Avenue to Grand Central Station, and go on to design Steinway Hall in 1923. Warren & Wetmore's artistic approach culminates in classical proportions, carefully carved stonework, and a picturesque roofline.
STEINWAY HALL ON 57TH STREET
In 1916, Steinway announces its plans to construct a new ten-story building with the purchase of adjacent town house properties on West 57th and 58th Streets, for nearly one million dollars. Steinway & Sons selects the architectural firm of Warren & Wetmore, which files for construction of a 16-story building in 1923. Steinway Hall’s design makes the front page of The New York Times, in October of 1923, in an article that hails the planned building as “an important addition to the new center of the fine arts.” Construction begins in June 1924 and is completed in April 1925.
STEINWAY HALL OPENING NIGHT
The official opening night takes place on October 27, 1925 with a performance by Willem Mengelberg and 35 musicians from the New York Philharmonic before 300 invited guests of the New York society. The entire performance is broadcast over the radio. As the flagship home of the premier maker of pianos, Steinway & Sons, Steinway Hall includes acoustically ideal rooms for musical performances by such virtuosos as Sergei Rachmaninoff and Vladimir Horowitz, as well as spaces for making and tuning instruments.
The glorious Beaux Arts building sees the most renowned piano artists of all time walk through its doors to perform, and select performance instruments from the famed piano bank in the basement. In this Steinway Hall, Vladimir Horowitz and Sergei Rachmaninoff famously meet and practice together, and over its nine decades of service to the piano world, Steinway Hall welcomes regular visits from the likes of Arthur Rubinstein, Van Cliburn, Judy Collins, Lang Lang, Billy Joel, Evgeny Kissin, Diana Krall, and Harry Connick, Jr. Countless performances take place in both the glamorous upstairs recital hall (destroyed in 1958) and the glittering domed reception room.
In 2001 Steinway Hall is designated as a landmark, being “a timeless monument to classical music and architecture.” Steinway Hall’s Reception Room and Hallway and its well-preserved interior rotunda are declared a New York City landmark in 2013.
THE NEXT CHAPTER
In 2013 the next great chapter in Steinway Hall’s famous history is written. JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group acquire the landmark building and adjacent lot to build a one-of-a-kind, bold yet slender skyscraper in custom-cast terra cotta, bronze, and glass, designed by SHoP architects with interiors by Studio Sofield. In 2014 they break ground and construction will be completed in 2019.
111 WEST 57TH STREET
In 2019 Steinway Hall will be completed followed by the iconic new tower in 2020. From a historical foundation to a contemporary landmark, 111 aligns old and new, art and engineering, nature and culture, and is situated perfectly symmetrical to beautiful Central Park. The tower lifts history into the iconic Manhattan skyline, and adapts Steinway Hall’s classic pre-war layouts into character-rich residences.