In many of our favorite gathering places—schools, churches, concert halls, jazz clubs—pianos still take center stage. Some of these instruments are still going strong more than a century after their birth. Come enjoy a remarkable documentary that follows one shop of technicians that keeps these beloved, complicated beasts alive. The best of these shops can also improve a piano, even when it’s well into its elderly years.
Introduction by TODD OPPENHEIMER
Film by JOHN KORTY
Narrated by JOHN LITHGOW
When a promising rock musician tired of the road and the pressure, he gave up music and got a job at a hardware store. Then one day, he had a revelation.
Written by NANCY LEBRUN
Photography by STEPHEN KRAMER
In the 1970s, Hohner, the world’s largest harmonica manufacturer, changed its flagship model, and in the process its signature sound. A few musicians and harp customizers waged a quiet rebellion. And they won.
Written by BEN MARKS
In honor of Juneteenth and Black Music Month, take a tour through the history—and the sounds—of the musical culture that has been a cherished folkway in and around the nation’s capital for decades.
Written by ALONA WARTOFSKY
Of all the wind instrument players in an orchestra, oboists are among the few who have to spend more time making their reeds than playing their music. As the comic monologist Josh Kornbluth has painfully learned, just one of the myriad micro-adjustments that reed makers create will make a world of difference in their music.
Written by JEFF GREENWALD
Photography by SCOTT CHERNIS
In the depths of London, a “toy theatre” born in the 1800s continues to stage regular performances. In their heyday, these productions drew London’s top writers and artists, creating Victorian England’s version of the modern PR campaign. Replicas of these miniature theatres are still for sale.
Written by GARRETT EPPS
Many cultures have enjoyed the playful freedom that one feels after donning a mask. But no place has taken it to greater extremes, both elegant and diabolical, than Venice. A tour of the world of Venetian masks, and the annual Carnival mega-party they have inspired.
Written by ERLA ZWINGLE
Photography by RICCARDO ROITER RIGONI and ERLA ZWINGLE
A writer searches Istanbul’s cafés and alleys for the king of the ney, an enigmatic — and at times, endangered — flute that has long been a mainstay of Muslim musical traditions.
By ROLLO ROMIG
Martha Mae Jones, a New York fabric artist, has built a rich (and financially successful) life by traveling to various countries, bouncing between art and political activism along the way. Throughout it all, she says, her creations, as well as her life choices, have come from heeding inner voices.
By MELANIE EVERSLEY