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Instructors • Bios

Rick Baldassin, RPT
Baldassin Pianos - Salt Lake City, UT
 
Rick received his education and piano technology training from Brigham Young University. He is the author of the book On Pitch, and recently released four companion DVDs by the same name. Rick served as the Tuning Editor for the Journal from 1987 to 1991. His teaching has taken him to piano factories and conventions throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Austria, Russia, Korea, Indonesia, Japan and Australia. Rick has served as the Concert Technician for the Utah Symphony and Opera for over 35 years, and has been the Teaching and Technical Consultant for Renner since 1989. He has taught Grand Regulation Actionpalooza for two decades, and is the head instructor at the Renner Academy. He has been trained in the concert and artist programs of Fazioli, Steinway and Yamaha, and has been a consultant to the Falcone, Mason & Hamlin, and Pramberger Piano Companies. Rick also serves as the Technical Support Director for Fazioli in North America. He is currently the concert technician at Brigham Young University. In addition, Rick and his wife Cindy currently operate Baldassin Pianos, a full-line rebuilding and retail showroom located in Salt Lake City. Rick’s honors include the Member of Note, Jim Burton, MARC Lifetime Achievement, Hall of Fame, and Golden Hammer awards.
Christian Bolduc
Pianos Bolduc - Quebec
 
Christian Bolduc is a technician/bellyman specializing in soundboards and pinblocks. Following his studies at Ecole du Meuble de Victoriaville to become a fine cabinet and furniture maker, he spent a full year at the Schimmel factory in Braunschweig, Germany studying piano structure and design. His combined understanding of wood and design has made him an expert in his niche. He is a constant searcher for new ideas and methods to make your rebuilding projects easier. Christian is the president and owner of Pianos Bolduc.
Keith Bowman, RPT
Performance Piano - South Central Pennsylvania
 
Keith has a broad background in woodworking, spanning nearly three decades, where he has specialized in wood carving, cabinet making, and furniture restoration. His interest in piano technology began in 1979 with an apprenticeship in piano restoration, player piano rebuilding, harpsichord and other early instrument restoration, leading to the management of a full service piano restoration & sales facility. In 1984, he started his own business which now services a diverse tuning clientele and includes piano remanufacturing, harpsichord and American reed organ restoration. Keith is responsible for the development of the Renner USA Custom Tuning Lever program, and personally hand crafts each of the Artist Series custom tuning and voicing tools.

In 1992, he Co-developed PTG's first marketing class with RPT Member, Fred Fornwalt and subsequently taught several business classes and workshops. He has written many articles for the Piano Technicians Journal, and currently teaches a variety of technical classes dealing with tuning, tool use, and shop procedure topics. He is active in the music industry and in 1993 received a citation from the National Coalition for Music Education, and has received several PTG awards including the Member of Note.
Steve Brady, RPT
Brady Piano Services - Seattle, WA
 
Steve Brady was head piano technician at the University of Washington for 25 years, and more recently at the Aspen Music Festival for five years. Steve served as editor of the Piano Technicians Journal from 1995 to 2001. In 1996 he received PTG's "Member of Note" award, and in 1999 PTG published his book, A Piano Technician's Guide to Field Repairs. His latest book, Under the Lid: The Art and Craft of the Concert Piano Technician, was published in 2008. In July of 2012 he was inducted into the PTG Hall of Fame. Most recently, Steve was honored with the prestigious PTG Golden Hammer award.
Melanie Brooks
Brooks LTD Piano Products - Connecticut
 
Melanie Brooks is the owner of Brooks LTD Piano Products, a family-owned business providing quality hammer, action and rebuilding supplies and services. After obtaining a degree in Economics and Business, she rejoined Brooks LTD in 1995 specializing in customer service and technical support. Melanie took on the role of General Manager in 2002, and in 2009 purchased Brooks LTD, carrying its successful philosophies into a second generation.

Melanie was raised in a rebuilding shop and is a third generation PTG member, actively participating since 1996. She continues to teach courses on wood, wood products and grand action replacements throughout North America. Committed to collaborating with technicians and rebuilders to create, service, and restore instruments with innovative and specialized products.
Chris Brown, RPT
Grandwork Tools - Boston, MA
 
Chris Brown RPT started work as a piano technician in 1977. A graduate of North Bennet Street School, he has worn many hats in his career: college technician, concert tuner, rebuilder, private customer piano-care provider, teacher. And now, designer, engineer, and manufacturer! In 2005, Chris officially specialized in grand regulation and rebuilding and started work on the tools and protocols that have become the Grandwork System.
Rick Butler, RPT
Butler School of Piano Technology - Washington, D.C.
 
Rick has served as chief piano technician for two large universities and as shop foreman for a major piano dealer. His service as concert technician includes many years with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Kennedy Center, Washington Performing Arts Society, and the White House. He currently serves as Chief Concert Technician for Steinway & Sons in Washington D.C.

Within the the Piano Technicians Guild, he has served his Chapter (Washington D.C.), as President, Vice President and Secretary, as well as served on various committees locally and nationally. He has also lectured at local, regional and national meetings on such subjects as Tuning, Voicing, Regulation and various aspects of Rebuilding. He is also certified to administer the written, tuning and technical examinations which are given to qualify members as 'Registered Piano Technicians'. Rick founded 'The Butler School of Piano Technology' in 2005, which is a home study course helping interested people to learn this very rewarding profession.
T. Michael Carraher, RPT
Performance Piano - South Central Pennsylvania
 
Mike has worked full time in piano service and rebuilding since 1979 . He has been a Certified Examiner for the PTG since 1981 and has served on numerous committees at the local and national level. Mike has received several PTG awards including Member of Note and Examiner of the Year. Mike developed the first repair jigs for the PTG Technical Exam, created Associate Days, which was the first pilot program in the Northeast for mentoring those aspiring to RPT certification, and continues to provide training and mentorship as a regional and National instructor. Mike's innovations in shop procedures and equipment can be seen in many fixtures carried through Renner USA and his overall experience provides a firm basis for factory consultation for Hailun USA. He has been the owner/operator of Carr's Piano Service in Elizabethtown, PA for over thirty-three years.

In 1992, he Co-developed PTG's first marketing class with RPT Member, Fred Fornwalt and subsequently taught several business classes and workshops. He has written many articles for the Piano Technicians Journal, and currently teaches a variety of technical classes dealing with tuning, tool use, and shop procedure topics. He is active in the music industry and in 1993 received a citation from the National Coalition for Music Education, and has received several PTG awards including the Member of Note.
Jason Cassel, RPT, M.A.
Brigham Young University - Salt Lake City, UT
 
Jason Cassel currently serves as a Piano Technician for the Brigham Young University School of Music. Before accepting this position, Jason Cassel graduated with an MA in Piano Technology from Florida State University – a distinction shared by only a dozen technicians in the nation. He earned his BM in Commercial Music from BYU while working as a student apprentice in the university’s piano shop. Jason has received training at the Steinway & Sons Factory in New York, the Mason & Hamlin Factory in Boston, and from Yamaha Pianos in California.

Jason is a Registered Piano Technician with the Piano Technicians Guild and has presented at local chapter meetings and attended various regional and national conventions. Many of his articles on piano technology have been published in the Piano Technicians Journal and his work on the revolutionary On Pitch DVD Series has been considered “an unprecedented tool to propel the next generation of fine tuners.” (Anne Garee – Former Head of Piano Technology at FSU)
Gregory Cheng, RPT
Allied Piano and Finish LLC - Southeastern Pennsylvania
 
Gregory Cheng graduated from West Chester University with degrees in Music Performance and Computer Science. Tuning pianos since he was a teenager, Greg worked through college apprenticing with the Chief Technician at West Chester University. During his tenure at the university, he learned and refined his skills in aural tuning, repairs, and action rebuilding.

Greg was the Service Manager for Jacobs Music in Philadelphia responsible for a service department of 16 full-time technicians. Greg also specializes in modern player piano repair, action rebuilding, touch weight analysis, and polyester/lacquer furniture repair. Greg is the General Manager and Chief Technician for Allied Piano and Finish LLC and is highly regarded and sought after by the top manufacturers for his customer, technical and problem solving skills.
Bruce Clark
Mason & Hamlin - Boston, MA
 
Bruce Clark grew up working in the shop at his father’s piano store in Kansas. After college, he began his associations with several manufacturers including Falcone and the Mason & Hamlin division of the Aeolian American Corp. Today he is a senior Design Engineer at Mason & Hamlin and Wessell, Nickel & Gross. Among other achievements, Bruce was the lead design engineer on the new Mason & Hamlin AA-64, B-54 and CC-94, and also served as one of the lead design engineers for the Wessell, Nickel & Gross Composite Action project.
Louis del Bene, RPT
North Bennet Street School - Boston, MA
 
After graduating from both NBSS Piano Technology programs, Louis worked in a number of piano rebuilding shops, and eventually launched his own business, Brevet Piano Service, in Santa Rosa, CA. He is a Registered Piano Technician with the Piano Technicians Guild, serving as President and Vice President in the Central North Carolina chapter and later, as Vice President for the San Francisco chapter. In 2016, Louis joined the North Bennet Street School Piano Technology Faculty.
David Durben, RPT
Yamaha Corporation of America - Pomona Valley, CA
 
Mr. Durben is a Piano Service Specialist for Yamaha in Buena Park, CA and is in his 14th year with the company. Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, he has served the PTG in many positions. Beginning as President of the MinnKota, ND chapter and during his four years saw the chapter's membership quadruple. David was the PTG International's Central West Regional Vice President (1994-1996), Vice
Luke Ehresman
Gazelle
 
Luke is a 15-year veteran of web-based software development. With both a Bachelor and Master of Computer Science, he has spent his career developing sustainable software solutions for both small and large organizations. He is our Co-Founder and CTO for The Gazelle Network.
Ryan Ellison, RPT
Yamaha Corporation of America - South Bay, CA
 
Ryan Ellison earned a Bachelor of Music from the University of Northern Colorado in 2007. In 2011, he began his piano technical career at the Chicago School for Piano Technology, a year later launching a private piano tuning and repair business while contracting with a Yamaha dealer in his native Denver, Colorado. Ryan joined Yamaha’s Piano Service department in 2015.
John Gallen
Brooks LTD Piano Products & 1040 Pianos - Connecticut
 
John has been with Brooks LTD since 1996! As Production Supervisor, John is our go to man for all that is “shop”. If you have questions, John has solutions; providing you with the best parts selection and service available in a consistently timely manner. As the man with the answers, John is the back bone of our Brooks LTD production team.

Entering the piano business just out of high school, John has been around pianos all his adult life. John also owns a tax preparation business, primarily servicing the self-employed tax payer for over twenty years. An active member of the Piano Technician’s Guild (PTG), He teaches tax related business classes at the local, regional and national level. John was the Institute Director for the PTG’s 2015 Annual Convention in Denver, CO.

When not working, John is an elder and treasurer in his church and treasurer of the local library. Did we mention that he and his wife Heidi, of twenty-six years, have TEN children! In John’s spare time … “Spare time”?? It’s John’s strong work ethic and dedication that make him a pillar of our team.
Anne Garee, RPT
Florida State University (Ret.) - Tallahassee, FL
 
Anne Garee, Program Director for Piano Technology (ret), came to Florida State University as a piano technician in 1983 and joined the faculty in 2004. Along with her concert tuning and restoration duties, Ms. Garee has enjoyed a 29 year teaching career in the College of Music offering a series of piano technology courses for pianists and piano technicians. She is an active clinician in the U.S. with yearly invitations to present at conventions throughout the country. Her international teaching experiences have included technical courses for pianists and technicians in Costa Rica as part of the University’s FloRica Program, an invitation by the Carter Center in Atlanta to formulate a Piano Technology course for teachers of the blind in mainland China, and most recently presentations in Denmark, Canada, and New Zealand. Thanks to a strong Early Music Program at The Florida State University, she has enjoyed working with harpsichords, clavichords, fortepianos and square grands and their historical temperaments and tuning systems.

She designed and implemented the Piano Technology track within the Master of Arts degree program in the College of Music at FSU. This program is the first of its kind anywhere and affords graduate students the unusually rich experience of working with students and faculty in a comprehensive school of music. Past graduates of the program are now employed in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

Ms. Garee holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and completed a three year apprenticeship program for the Certificate in Piano Technology from the Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She is a Registered Piano Technician with the Piano Technicians Guild. Anne has additional training from Steinway and Yamaha working with concert technicians and digital acoustics instructors.
Gabriel E. Granitz, RPT
PianoWorks - Atlanta, GA
 
Born and raised in rural, northern Minnesota, Gabe began servicing pianos in 1999 while in high school. Gabe joined PianoWorks in 2007, focusing in action rebuilding, action geometry, and forefinishing, and has rebuilt over 300 actions at PianoWorks to date. In addition to his shop duties, Gabe maintains a healthy clientele in the Atlanta area and annually services numerous concert instruments nationwide. He has an undergraduate degree in Piano Performance from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks and a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from Georgia State University, Atlanta. Gabe also repairs and rebuilds accordions, and performs on accordion weekly.
Arlan Harris, RPT
Arlan Harris Productions - New York City
 
Arlan has over 40 years experience as a piano technician. Formerly of Steinway & Sons in New York, Arlan worked in the well known basement of Steinway Hall in the 80’s, then worked as a liaison for Steinway & Sons as an independent contractor for 12 years as a Concert Piano Technician, Educator, Troubleshooter in Latin and South America. He has worked in the majority of major venues as well as serving artists and tours. Arlan was the Director of Technical Division for Faust Harrison Pianos for 6 years and Director of Technical Division and Concert/Artist Services with Klavierhaus for three years. He regularly assists concerts and recordings in New York City and frequents major venues such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Town Hall. Arlan combines “in the trenches” knowledge and experience combined with a holistic approach to solving problems using a wide variety of tools and techniques. A few of the many artists Arlan has worked with include: Lang Lang, Ivgenni Kissen, Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea, Angela Hewitt, James Levine, Louis Lortie, Yuja Wang etc… Arlan is currently owner of Arlan Harris Pianos and Atelier and Arlan Harris Productions.
Kelly Hollifield
Dampp-Chaser Corp. - Western Carolinas, NC
 
Kelly Hollifield is General Manager for Dampp-Chaser Corp. Joining the company in 2004, she is a member of both the Management and Quality teams, providing technical support to Piano Life Saver System installers, worldwide. Kelly brings extensive knowledge of Dampp-Chaser products and broad experience in business and customer service.
Mario Igrec, RPT, M. Mus
Chief Technician, Julliard School | Author, Pianos Inside Out - New York City
 
Mario Igrec, RPT, MM, is Chief Piano Technician and Manager of Piano Maintenance at the Juilliard School in New York and the author of the 2013 book "Pianos Inside Out: A Comprehensive Guide on Piano Tuning, Repairing, and Rebuilding,"  He was Chief Concert Technician at Faust Harrison Pianos and taught piano technology at North Bennet Street School in Boston. Previously he taught piano technology and served as piano technician during his eight-year tenure at Louisiana State University. As an independent concert technician and master rebuilder, he has serviced and rebuilt many pianos in southern Louisiana, and has worked for Richard Goode, Jon Kimura Parker, Garrick Ohlsson, and other renowned pianists. Mario is the creator of Practical Touch™, a system for advanced action performance analysis and adjustment. Himself an award-winning pianist, with a Master of Music degree from SUNY Stony Brook, he brings to the field a unique perspective that bridges piano technology and pianism.
Don Mannino, RPT
Kawai America - South Bay, CA
 
Don began an apprenticeship with a piano rebuilder while completing his studies at San Diego State University as a piano performance major in 1979. After working for 11 years as an independent piano technician in the San Diego area, he held the position of National Service Manager for Young Chang Pianos, then Manager of Technical Support for Kawai Pianos for North America, and now serves as the Director of Field Services for Kawai America Corp. Don and his wife Patty are the editors of the Southern California Combined PTG newsletter. In 2010 he was certified in Japan as a Kawai "Master Piano Artisan" (or MPA), the highest level of technician for the Kawai company. In 2013 Mr. Mannino was inducted into the PTG Hall of Fame.
Ray Negron
Ronsen Piano Hammer Co. - Hudson-Adirondack, NY
 
Ray is a second generation piano hammer maker, following in the footsteps of his father, Marty Negron, who was co-founder of Ronsen Piano Hammer Co. as well as former manager at Pfriemer Piano Hammer Co. Ray started working summers at Ronsen in 1961, and has been working full time since 1971, becoming company president in 1983. Ray is always looking to learn more about piano hammers, and enjoys talking with piano technicians regarding hammers, but will always find time for a conversation about baseball.
Chris Palframan
Roseland Piano - Atlanta, GA
 
With over 20 years’ experience, Chris Palframan has been a part of PianoWorks growth from a small garage operation to the largest piano retail and restoration facility in the metro Atlanta area. Chris joined PianoWorks when he was just a teenager and learned the trade from Don Bennet, RRT. Chris has completed hundreds of complete piano rebuilding projects including new sound boards and key sets. In 2018, Chris, Don and a third partner saw an opportunity to purchase Roseland Piano Co. thus enabling them to provide custom piano keys for rebuilders. They are now able to fill a need for other rebuilders nationwide.
Elizabeth Pearson, RPT
Complete Piano Service - Washington, D.C.
 
Elizabeth is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music in Piano Education and the North Bennet Street School. She has had the pleasure of working for Jude Reveley and Christopher Brown, among others. Her career has included working under Kevin Stock and Doug Hershberger at the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles, CA, as well as piano service and restoration with PianoCraft. Elizabeth is humbled to be the first female piano technician for the President’s Own Marine Band, a position that brings her work into the White House. She regularly maintains concert instruments for numerous performance venues in addition to her private clientele in and around Washington, D.C. When not restoring and servicing pianos, she can be found doing traditional stonework, timberframing, and hewn log cabin building.
Randi Potter, RPT
Randy Potter School of Piano Technology - Portland, OR
 
Randi is the founder and director of the Randy Potter School of Piano Technology which has become the largest producer of training materials for piano technicians in the world. Randi has written three books, and she is the editor of The Piano Action Handbook, third edition, published by the Piano Technicians Guild. She has produced numerous technical articles and over a dozen technical training video tapes. Randi is a frequent instructor at local, state, regional and national PTG conventions, and has taught at seminars in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Cuba. Randi is the 2009 recipient of the Piano Technicians Guild Hall of Fame award in recognition of service to PTG and the industry.
Charles Rempel
Dampp-Chaser Corp.
 
Charles Rempel is a piano technician with over 30 years’ experience. He has spent countless hours on the concert stage working with the world’s top artists as well as servicing thousands of pianos in private homes, churches, and educational institutions. He has worked not only as a technician, but also as a sales person, manager, district sales manager, and owner of a piano retail store where he sold Steinway & Sons, Bosendorfer, Schimmel, Mason & Hamlin and various other brands of instruments. Charles background comes from the perspective of someone who has seen and experienced nearly every side of the piano industry.
Dean Reyburn, RPT
Reyburn Pianoworks / Reyburn CyberTuner - Western Michigan
 
Dean Reyburn, RPT spent decades as the Steinway and Yamaha piano technician for West Michigan. Dean was also concert tuner for DeVos hall and other venues in West Michigan for over 25 years. An avid woodworker since high school and fine cabinet maker, Dean’s piano tech specialty is rebuilding and restoring grand piano actions and has 40 plus years experience working on pianos. Dean both manages and works in the Reyburn Pianoworks shop building keyboards. Dean is also lead software engineer for Reyburn CyberTuner. Dean makes his home in both Cedar Springs, Michigan with his wife Marty
Nate Reyburn, RPT
Reyburn Pianoworks / Reyburn CyberTuner / Reyburn Tools - Western Michigan
 
Nate trained in piano technology both with Dean (his dad) and is a graduate of the prestigious North Bennet Street School Advanced Piano Technology course, and passed his RPT exams in 2008. Nate's passions are not only for piano tech but for making tools for the trade, including the Reyburn Rigid tuning lever and the Reyburn CyberHammer, the industry's finest impact tuning hammer. Nate constructs the PTG's Golden Tuning Hammer award starting in 2013, the highest PTG award given. Nate and his wife Bethann live in Kent City, Michigan where he tunes, repairs and rebuilds pianos. Nate and Bethann have two small daughters and enjoy hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor sports.
Gregory Sikora
Jacobs Music Company
 
Greg is currently the Vice President, General Manager and Chief Steinway concert technician for Jacobs Music in the Philadelphia region. He prepares concert pianos for music organizations, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and all visiting concert music organizations to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, as well as for universities, schools, and theaters in the region.
Kazuma Suzuki
Yamaha Corporation of America
 
Kazuma Suzuki came to Yamaha Corporation of America in October of 2018.  Having joined Yamaha Corporation of Japan in 2006, Kazuma served at Yamaha Artist Services Europe in 2012, 2013, and Yamaha Music Europe in Germany from 2013 to 2015.  Since then he has been at the Piano Technical Services group at YCJ.
Starr Taylor, RPT
St. Piano Rebuilders - Southwest Florida
 
Starr Taylor has been in the piano tuning & rebuilding business since 1985. An amateur musician and journeyman machinist, he studied with Andrew Snowden in Indiana and started his own business in Tampa, Florida in 1987. A Registered Piano Technician with the Piano Technician's Guild, he attends regional and national conferences on a yearly basis to update his training. At the local level, he lectures on piano maintenance and rebuilding and has served as president for the Tampa Bay PTG chapter. When not tuning pianos and installing soundboards in vintage instruments, he collects art, makes sculpture from found objects and builds trebuchets for fun.
Carl Teel
Salt Lake City, UT
 
Carl has been operating a piano repair and restoration shop in Utah for over 40 years. He has been a member of PTG since 1976 and has served continuously as Treasurer of the Salt Lake City Chapter since 1979. Carl was instrumental in running the Utah Intermountain Seminar for a number of years. He has taught numerous classes to his chapter, as well as at Regional and Annual Conventions. Carl has taught Grand Regulation Actionpalooza for two decades, and has been an instructor at the Renner Academy for the past several years. He was the 2012 recipient of the James H. Burton Award for service to the Pacific Northwest Conference and a 2019 recipient of the Crowl-Travis Member of Note Award.
Emily Townsend, RPT
North Bennet Street School - Boston, MA
 
Emily is a 2008 graduate of the NBSS piano technology program and a Registered Piano Technician. Before enrolling at NBSS, she earned a degree in piano performance from Trinity University. In addition to establishing a successful tuning and rebuilding business, Emily has served as the head technician at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and a concert technician at Aspen Music Festival and School and Tanglewood. Emily is on the faculty for the Piano Technology program at North Bennet Street School.
Kent Webb
Steinway & Sons - New York City

Kent is the Manager of Technical Service and Support for Steinway & Sons. In this position, Kent oversees and conducts the Steinway Training Academy. He also works closely with All-Steinway Schools and Institutions to develop and maintain service strategies and resources. In addition, Kent coordinates service literature and publications, works closely with Festival Events, and participates extensively in educational events. Kent Webb has been involved in the piano industry for over 30 years as a concert technician and rebuilder.

In addition to his position at Steinway & Sons, Kent served as a contributing writer and consultant for both editions of The Encyclopedia of Keyboard Instruments (Garland Press, NY, NY) supplying articles on rebuilding, regulation, tuning, and piano design. He also served as technical columnist for the Soundboard, a publication for music educators in the United States with a circulation of over 50,000. Prior to his position with Steinway, Kent was the National Service Manager for Baldwin Piano Company for 10 years. Kent also was on the Board of Advisors for the School of Piano Technology at Western Iowa Tech and the Board of Industry Advisors for the University of Western Ontario for their School of Piano Technology. Kent has taught at over 400 local, regional, national, and international events.