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Giving credit where credit due

  • 1.  Giving credit where credit due

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-02-2021 07:32
    List
    Just watched a fantastic movie " Nomadsland" the other evening.  Probably the most enchanting part of the movie was not the script and acting (although excellent), was the music. Specifically, much of the music featured one of the most cleanly tuned and voiced pianos I've heard in a long time.  Anyone on this list responsible for that work? Kudos!  My guess is it was a Bosendorfer grand. At any rate, I always like to check the credits, especially if the music was fantastic.  The thorn in the side is no mention at all as to who the musicians were, and to my point, who the piano technician was.  For a project where the piano really stole the show, you would think some credit was due.
    I'm always sadden that our industry continually gets overshadowed by the 3rd and  4th secondary hairdressers, and just about everyone else associated with the film production. But the music production side of it, forget about it!  The music production director usually get a mention, but that usually about it.
    How has this practice of not giving credit to those musicians (and piano technicians) who poured the heart and soul into a project, and not get any credit.  Is it because we are not unionized, and the screen actors guild is?
    Anyhow, just ranting.  The last time my blood boiled over was when the "Kings Speech" came out. Again, a beautifully tune and voiced piano stole the show. And again, no mention to the source of the beauty.
    Tom Servinsky

    ------------------------------
    Tom Servinsky
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  • 2.  RE: Giving credit where credit due

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-03-2021 02:49
    https://www.classical-music.com/features/articles/nomadland-our-guide-to-ludovico-einaudis-soundtrack/




  • 3.  RE: Giving credit where credit due

    Posted 05-04-2021 08:19
    Here is the composer and pianist.


    https://www.classical-music.com/features/articles/nomadland-our-guide-to-ludovico-einaudis-soundtrack/

    ------------------------------
    Douglas Mahard
    Bethlehem CT
    203-266-6688
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Giving credit where credit due

    Posted 05-04-2021 19:26

    I contacted Mr. Ludovico's management and found out who the techs were and what type of piano. See bleow.. My original query is below the answer.

    Hello Douglas 
    Many thanks for your mail and appreciation 
    Here the info you need:

    Steinway D 
    Prepared by 
    John Elliot
    Fabio Angeletti

    best


    Il giorno 4 mag 2021, alle ore 14:16, Douglas Mahard <dougmahard@yahoo.com> ha scritto:
    Hello,

    This might be an unuasal request but I was wondering what kind of piano Mr. Ludovico used in his beautiful score of the movie Nomanland? Also who the piano technician was. One of the best sounding recorded pianos I have ever heard. Just gorgeous.

    Thank you.

    Doug Mahard
    Mahard's Piano Service, LLC
    Bethlehem, CT






  • 5.  RE: Giving credit where credit due

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-04-2021 20:04
    That's great!


    Tom Servinsky
    Registered Piano Technician
    Concert Artist Piano Technician
    Director/Conductor- Academy Orchestra
    Assist. Conductor-Treasure Coast Youth Symphony
    Clarinetist-Atlantic Classical Orchestra
    772 221 1011 office
    772 260 7110 cell





  • 6.  RE: Giving credit where credit due

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-04-2021 21:07
    Tom,
    Thanks to you, I watched the movie last night and agree that the piano was luscious and I like the way she wove his pieces into the story.

    Regards,
    ~ jeannie

    Jeannie Grassi
    PTG Registered Piano Technician
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    206-842-3721
    grassipianos@gmail.com




  • 7.  RE: Giving credit where credit due

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-05-2021 03:59
    Dear Tom,

    If you want to pursue this with PTG please count me in.  My PTG experience with the subject of money i.e. notice is
    very negative.  Their concern has to do with the Guild definition; Betterment of the Craft.  As soon as a related money
    issue is raised they back off for fear of loosing Guild status.  Local AF of M 47 in Los Angeles does not want piano tuners
    as members, I never got a reason.  My take is it is too few members for too much administration but I don't know.
    I can join as a pianist but not a piano tuner. 

    There may be too few of us in Los Angeles but not across the United States or the world.  It might be the 80/20 rule that
    I know to be true among recording musicians in Los Angeles: 20% of the musicians get 80% of the work, actually they
    get much more than 80%.

    This is a worthy cause if you think I can help it would be my pleasure

    Keep a song in your heart


    Ed Whitting, RPT

    Professional Products & Services, Inc.

    24392 Peacock Street, Lake Forest, California 92630

    Cell 714-501-4717, Office 949-830-6847, FAX 949-830-1392









  • 8.  RE: Giving credit where credit due

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-05-2021 07:19

    Ed

    Very interesting. Although I'm sure I'm the one to be the mouthpiece for this issue.  Judging from the responses to this thread, those who do the high level concert work got the gist of what I was putting across the table. They too, are tired of the low regard our craft represents to the big recording and media industry. Let's keep this discussion going....

     

    Tom Servinsky 

    Registered Piano Technician

    Concert Artist Piano Technician

    Director/Conductor- Academy Orchestra

    Assist. Conductor-Treasure Coast Youth Symphony

    Clarinetist-Atlantic Classical Orchestra

    tompiano@tomservinsky.com

    Website: tomservinsy.com

    772 221 1011 office

    772 260 7110 cell

     

     

     






  • 9.  RE: Giving credit where credit due

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-03-2021 12:07
    Dear Tom,

    This harkens back to at least The Piano Technicians Guild of the 1960s-70s wanting to do a good thing but supported the very issue you bring to us.  There was and maybe still is a piece of literature available through the Guild titled:
    The Unseen Artist.  It says all the right things but the title implies just the very point you are making. 
    Norman Neblett, RPT, graduated from USC in piano performance, was a B-17 Instructor Pilot during WWII, learned our trade becoming Head of Piano Technical Services at USC.  Being enterprising he found his way to Capital Records, Fox Studios, Warner Brothers and many lesser known but famous studios around Los Angeles.  Others closer to the situation are invited to chime in with corrected detail. In 1965 Norman was asked by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and the newly built Los Angeles Music Center Complex to be their piano tuner of record, he said "Yes" and the deal was struck.  Norman was Mr. Piano Tuner in Los Angeles.  

    Zuben Mehta was the conductor of the Philharmonic, Ernest Fleischmann was the Musical Director, world class giants!  The greatest artists of the era played in Los Angeles, Norman was a huge success.  Norman's list of greats started or stopped with Rubinstein. As part of the job he could attend any concert he wanted to if he gave proper notice. It was a perk of the job!  Norman left the Philharmonic 10 years later.  In all that time Norman became known by the music community in Los Angeles but was not mentioned consistently anywhere in print other than at PTG Conventions.  Time marched on.  In 1979, I was invited to work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn. I called Norman for advice.  As a part of my written contract was:  "To be listed on every program in which a piano is used as a solo or accompanying instrument when I am the piano tuner-technician for that performance.  If I am not the tuner for a specific performance, the tuner of record shall be listed on the program."  Franz Mohr (Rudolf Serkin) traveled with his piano and technician) was one of two piano tuners listed.  The other was Alan Cate (Itzek Perman/Janet Guggenheim pianist).  My title was:  "Chief Piano Tuner/Technician, The Los Angeles Philharmonic."  In addition, I was the first piano tuner-technician in Los Angeles to have 120 minutes available for tuning if I was to be accountable for the result.  Also, the first to be paid to 'Stand By' at every concert the piano was
    used as a solo or accompanying instrument.  I was the first in Los Angeles to be paid X 1.5 on Saturday and X 2 on Sunday.
    These multipliers included stand-by time.  Stand-by pay was equal to the cost of a tuning.  Stand by did not pay what it should have during solo recitals, Chamber Music Concerts and when the solo piano was played during the 2nd half.  At the time I was so thrilled to get the contract it didn't seem to matter.  9.5 years later I resigned.  The job had grown from 35% of my income to 85%, I had no severance agreement, my family could not take a hit of 85% loss of income.  The Philharmonic did not want to negotiate on this.  The colleagues who came after me got what I wanted and more because they did what I did; they insisted on it as a condition to come to work.  This is my point.  There are many like Norman who were at least overqualified and rarely mentioned.  Today there are several piano technicians working in Los Angeles receiving notice on everything they do.  Why?  They are good at their craft, leave their egos at the door and have the business sense to insist on proper notice and pay.  In the end, it is that hard and that simple. 

    It is hoped this invites a larger discussion on a subject that is rarely addressed at this level.  Quite frankly it should be a 101 class taught by those who have done the heavy, commercial music lifting and withstood the Baths of Fire.
     
    Sincerely,
    Ed Whitting, RPT







  • 10.  RE: Giving credit where credit due

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-03-2021 14:01
    Thanks Ed for the interesting history and I agree with your assessment.  I'll only mention that 11 years ago I tried and proposed to Council at the National Convention an amendment to our By-Laws that would encourage mention of Piano Technicians, especially when other technical staff and expertise are mentioned in the program credits. It did not mandate anything, of course, but was intended to support and encourage simple and appropriate acknowledgement of our craft.  I believe this makes a difference in raising public awareness and promotion of the craft among young people. The proposal was completely shut down with zero support from the Board and very little elsewhere, so naturally it was dropped.  Ultimately, I guess we are on our own when it comes to this kind of thing and some will have better luck than others. My institution and the piano faculty here have been very supportive, for which I am grateful. 

    best,
    Dennis. 

    --
    Dennis Johnson
    Piano Technician / Music
    St. Olaf College
    Office: 507-786-3587Mobile: 612-599-6437 
    1520 St. Olaf Avenue Northfield, MN 55057






  • 11.  RE: Giving credit where credit due

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-03-2021 17:41

    Ed

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think this is a discussion worth trying to get some momentum. The important elements we bring to the live performance is vital to the performance  and should not be overlooked. This is not an ego issue, but more of basic fairness. The venues get it, as do the touring artists who go from one venue to another.  If your work measures up to the national level, by all means, you've earned the right to be credited for your work.

    I have a standing verbal agreement with my concert venues and recording studios.  I get a mention for the exclusive recordings when a full CD is being recorded, and/or if the piano is being used as a solo, I get a mention in the program. I'm not looking for royalties, just some basic recognition stating my involvement in this performance/recording.

    I think the film industry is probably overwhelmed with the royalty issues and assumed this why so many names are mentioned. If the film does well, so do all of the people who are involved. But again, when the piano happens to play a huge role in defining the beauty of the movie, in this case I was talking about "Nomadsland", it's rather obvious that he piano tech should have been given a thumbs up on the credits. 

     

     

    Tom Servinsky 

    Registered Piano Technician

    Concert Artist Piano Technician

    Director/Conductor- Academy Orchestra

    Assist. Conductor-Treasure Coast Youth Symphony

    Clarinetist-Atlantic Classical Orchestra

    tompiano@tomservinsky.com

    Website: tomservinsy.com

    772 221 1011 office

    772 260 7110 cell

     

     






  • 12.  RE: Giving credit where credit due

    Posted 05-04-2021 01:14

    Thank you, Thomas, for raising this important topic. How we are seen by others in the music world is within our ability to influence, and a subject that is near and dear to my heart. In fact, it was focus of an article that I submitted to the Journal almost 8 years ago, which was ultimately rejected for publication due to the objection of some members of the Editorial Staff. It was felt at the time that the content of the piece did not conform strictly to the journalistic standards of the day. 

    For anyone interested, the article, "A Day in the Life" is still available in the CAUT "Blog" platform of ptg.org. I'm as proud of its message now as the day it was submitted. 



    ------------------------------
    Paul M. Rattigan
    Senior Concert Technician
    Harvard University
    rattigan@fas.harvard.edu
    ------------------------------