I started piano in elementary school; French horn a little later. After earning a French horn performance degree from Indiana University, I landed a symphony job in Mexico City, never dreaming I would stay twenty years. In my 30’s, I returned to school (Michigan State) for a degree in piano technology. My teacher was distinguished scholar Owen Jorgensen, known for unearthing the forgotten history of tuning systems. The piano technology degree had three years of aural tuning, one year each of upright and grand regulation and rebuilding, acoustical physics, piano literature, etc. The students did all the tuning at MSU – I tuned for opera stars Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman while still in school.
When I finished the program, I returned to Mexico and started a program in piano technology. As the only Registered Piano Technician (RPT) in the country, I was asked to tune for many soloists and symphony orchestras, in recordings and all the principal concert halls. I tuned for a host of famous pianists like Yvgeny Kissen, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Alicia de la Rocha and jazz legends like Cecil Taylor, Keith Jarrett, and Dave Brubeck. I also got a doctorate in Improvisational Mexico City Driving (I’m joking!)
But after twenty years in Mexico, it was time to return to the USA. When the Steinway dealer in beautiful Portland advertised for a Steinway Concert and Artists Technician, I sent my resume. In 1996, with great memories but no regrets, I drove to Oregon, and have loved living and working in the Portland Metro area for over twenty years.
Though I have had the pleasure of working for various dealers, I’m currently an independent technician. I have enjoyed my work at local universities, in addition to occasional work with Oregon Symphony and Chamber Music Northwest, and occasional “gigs” like the Aspen Music Festival. I am especially interested in teaching pianists about the physical instrument they use, and have taught classes at PCC, the Portland International Piano Festival, and Oregon Music Teachers Association meetings. Making every piano better, and spending time with the delightful and interesting people I meet each day are two of my greatest pleasures.
In the past twenty years I’ve helped build a cohousing community, taken up kayaking, tango, and singing, planted fruit trees, was a foster mom for kids and dogs, and still think working on pianos is fun.