... were expecting to watch only a small portion of the movie at first, as it was late when we started watching it after dinner guests had left. Having known Richard for quite a while, we were expecting the movie to have some substance. But we also also expected it to be a documentary dealing with what many would consider a rather dry topic. But to our amazement, we were riveted to the screen, and watched it all the way through with keen interest. The subject of course was of great interest to us, but the manner in which you narrated the story was simply fascinating, with a perfect blend of humor, tight editing, and very well selected music. Right from the beginning, when we heard the first piece in E flat transition to Richard striking a low B flat, and the subsequent modulation, we knew that the director was a musician. I have never seen any movie where the music crossfaded to live sound at the same pitch - I speak of a transition to a table saw clip.
Congratulations on a terrific movie. I'm sure it will have much success.
... making that movie-it's amazing! But I'm going to be very pissed if you don't make a bit of a movie about the lady who talked about her time working for another firm (David Abell Pianos) and hanging out with Oscar Peterson and all the people she mentioned. She must have amazing memories and pictures - so many of these people are gone and she is our last link with greatness. I don't think there is a musician on the planet who wouldn't want to hear her stories. All the best to you and your amazing accomplishment.
... and I was blown away --
It was exciting and informative for me.
I am not a musician myself - but very interested in music and musicians. I just wanted you to know how I felt about the show -- I think it was perfect - and all the friends and musicians around you interesting and worth while and fortunate to have been able to share the filming experience with you and each other.
I who do not play the piano found it fascinating.
My husband who does love the Piano was dazzled by it.
I really want to purchase 2 of the DVD's to share the experience with an interested friend and my grandson who loves the piano.
... and it is fine. We so enjoyed watching it. Congratulations on putting it all together. It was great to be able to watch the 30” collection of takes that couldn’t be included in the final copy also. Thanks so much for your work and the work of all the gifted artisans and craftspeople you documented.
Best, Mary B.
"American Grand" this evening.
Congratulations on your great documentary and many thanks for including me.
...and would like to send us a comment, please use this form. Then you will be famous just like the people on this page.
It was as if I were visiting your workshop, meeting your co-workers while having a most interesting and enjoyable experience. Your warmth, enthusiasm, expertise and love of what you do permeated the documentary. Your work is so specialized, but I never fully realized the depth and intricacies of the technical aspects of the piano until you disassembled each part and rebuilt it again from scratch. It is a creative musical process as well as a technical one. It is truly an art! The background music was perfect. The choices fit the scenes exactly, moving the action along and providing momentum. The owner of the Steinway must have been thrilled with the outcome. Thank you for sharing this labor of love with all of us. We thoroughly enjoyed it. I recorded it so I can replay some of the technical aspects over again. Congratulations and Kudos to you and your team of dedicated experts.
Fondly, Michael and Janice
... on KCET (Los Angeles) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you so much for producing it and we really look forward to receiving the DVD.
Were you guys charging by the hour? Don't you know it's the twenty-first century? Nobody works like that anymore. Now you know why everything's made in China. And the part about 1/64 inch making a difference? Ha! If you could hear that difference there must be something seriously wrong with your hearing.
It truly was an amazing film and we were both impressed and delighted to see the joy and satisfaction you all took in doing a job so magnificently well. The movie was deceptively well made, capturing the real spirit of your collaboration and giving the public perhaps their first insight into the enviable lives of true craftspeople. The values you embodied and the lightness of spirit that permeated your creative team were persuasive role models we both hope inspire younger viewers.
In short, your movie is a hit with us.
Robert Primes ASC
Senior lecturer in cinematography
American Film Institute
the American Grand DVD last night. I am one of those pianists who did not have a clue about the workings of a piano. All I knew was to have it regularly tuned and if the sound board was cracked, it was a really bad situation. I loved the film! I really loved the music in the background and the piano playing at the end. My husband who only knows his wife plays the piano, really enjoyed the film, too. He is a craftsman and found the whole project very fascinating. He pointed out to me that the bandsaw in the workshop was a really nice expensive one! He loved the amazing detail work involved and truly sympathized with the sound board getting dinged! Thanks for making a great film about a much loved piano!
Best wishes from M. N.
I am a retired pipe organ technician, pipe voicer & console builder and Webmaster of the Church Organ Trader. There is such a DIFFERENCE between Pipe organ technicians and piano technicians. Piano technicians, by comparison are TRUE ARTISTS, in their own right.
The movie is worth every cent!".
... my favored piano technician anywhere since I moved to Los Angeles 17 years ago. He rebuilt from ground zero, a Steinway grand from 1898, shabbily rebuilt by an amateur who'd sold it to my mom for me back in late college. The further Richard got into taking it apart, the more often he'd ask "is it really worth rebuilding this piano?", and the more he and I became convinced that there were such deep structural flaws in the piano, it must have been originally in a ballroom of the Titanic. So, he wasn't merely rebuilding, bringing the piano back to its pristine condition, he re-manufactured it: he went back to Steinway specs of the time, and remade the piano to the micron, in every conceivable part of the mechanism. It is that unsurpassed confluence of passion and precision one views in his life and labor and the work of his team in American Grand; passion, precision and perfection, like nailing Rachmaninoff Concerto #3, 88 times.
... the American Grand movie at the PTG WESTPAC conference a few days ago, I realized I was witnessing the birth of a brand new piano documentary classic. Congratulations on this grand achievement! The camera follows almost every step of the rebuilding of a 1913 Steinway by a team of enthusiastic and dedicated Los Angeles technicians lead by the legendary Richard Davenport, RPT (Registered Piano Technician). Before the movie, a colleague's wife who's undoubtedly seen one piano tech documentary too many commented, "oh no, not another movie about key bushings," but she sat to the end and clapped enthusiastically as this edge-of-the-seat exploration of tenacity and search for order in the ocean of uncertainty drew to a close. What a ride.
(Author of "Pianos Inside Out")
It's a very important film. All music theory classes and music appreciation classes show lots of films and this one is way more interesting than almost all of them and should be required viewing. Instructors are always looking for the film that will be interesting to the class. You have so many performances as well as the rebuilding of the piano and that's so perfect.
You can use my name or quotes -I'm somewhat well known in the jazz world however you can get great quotes from anyone besides me for sure! You should send e-mails to music teachers or make a flyer and send to the theory and appreciation teachers. they are always looking for cool stuff to get through 18 week semesters-all the best,
Your commitment to customer support in these matters is great