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Note By Note: The Making Of Steinway L1037

Airs Thursday, September 17 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Factory workers manufacturing a Steinway concert grand, #L1037.

Credit: Ben Niles, courtesy of Plow Productions

Above: Factory workers manufacturing a Steinway concert grand, #L1037.

The most thoroughly handcrafted instruments in the world, Steinway pianos are as unique and full of personality as the world-class musicians who play them. However, their makers are a dying breed: skilled cabinet-makers, gifted tuners, thorough handcrafters. "NOTE BY NOTE" follows the creation of a Steinway concert grand, #L1037, from forest floor to concert hall, in a process spanning 12 months, 12,000 parts, 450 craftsmen and countless hours of fine-tuned labor. It explores the relationship between musician and instrument, chronicles the manufacturing process and illustrates what makes each Steinway unique in this age of mass production.

Viewers are treated to interviews and impromptu performances with a number of world-class artists — including Chinese phenom Lang Lang, Hélène Grimaud, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, contemporary singer Harry Connick Jr. and jazz greats Hank Jones, Marcus Roberts, Kenny Barron and Bill Charlap — as they shop for and test out pianos in the basement of the Steinway showroom in New York City.

Watch clips from the film.

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