When I first heard of the existence of a dual piano, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be two pianos spliced together like some of those homemade bicycles built for two? And why? Why even make a dual piano?
My questions were answered when I met the piano’s creator, Peter Nehlsen. Peter lives on Washington Island and invited me to see his unique piano at the Shepherd on the Bay Church in Ellison Bay. Peter, with help, had the piano hoisted on to a truck and made the ferry crossing. The piano is here at the church for special upcoming performances.
The idea for the dual piano came to Peter years ago but only recently did Peter find the time to put his inspiration to work. And when you examine Peter’s background you begin to understand just how qualified he is to be the one person in a long time to offer this unique musical device. For years, Peter tuned pianos. He even taught others how to tune pianos. He was so good that he was hired by Steinway to be their premier piano tuner. For over forty years he tuned hundreds and hundreds of pianos. And while it’s easy to put two pianos side by side, the energy, the music, bounces off the floor. In a dual piano, with two sets of keyboards, one at each end, and two sets of strings, the energy flows up and offers more of a true stereophonic sound. That was what Peter wanted to accomplish; a clear, clean, unique sound.
And despite my initial skepticism, his dual piano looks amazingly sleek, sturdy and attractive.
The big test will be on February 9th at a special concert at the Shepherd on the Bay Church when two nationally renowned pianists will perform. But even with the little I heard with Peter playing, it promises to be spectacular.