As concerts dry up, a pianist has to sell his Steinway

As concerts dry up, a pianist has to sell his Steinway


norman lebrecht

October 27, 2020

From RTE Ireland:

An international concert pianist based in west Cork has said he has been forced to put his 120-year-old Steinway grand piano up for sale because he has not been able to perform for more than seven months due to the pandemic.

David Syme, 71, who has lived in Castletownbere with his wife Suzanne since 2005, has had to cancel tours of the US and the Czech Republic…

Read on here.


  • V.Lind says:

    Kind of the Chinese sponsor, but couldn’t he just find a way to leave the Steinway with Mr. Syme while forking over the money — like maybe buying the Steinway and lending it to him for his lifetime? In the end he has a Steinway that he can sell, perhaps to a Chinese academy or anywhere else in which he has an interest?

    This is a sad story. There are much worse — the US support programmes are not quite as good as the UK’s, and nobody’s is saving everyone, but I am seeing stories of wrenching poverty in the States from people who were working, feeding their kids and paying their mortgages only a few weeks ago. This is not the worst, but it puts a very comprehensible face on it.

  • CRogers says:

    This is a heartbreaking story. What help are freelance musicians getting in the Covid era. I thought they were being helped?

  • Papageno says:

    I’m sure someone will start a GoFundMe to save his heirloom Steinway.

  • Bruce says:

    How awful.

  • Wendel Jean says:

    Waiting for Safford to be his typical sarcastic self as this poor man looses his life while liberals play with themselves.

    • Dan Penderecki says:

      Willy doesn’t care if people kill themselves. That man-child’s corrosive, leftist ego gets off on the suffering of others hence his solitude.

  • Dante says:

    Time for someone to set up”go fund me” for him!

  • Michael Smeer says:

    This is terrible news! Someone knowledgeable should setup a StageIt account for this pianist so he can sell tickets and give concerts online. All you need is a computer, some microphones on stands, and a good internet connection. Wishing you all the best and hopefully this way you can save your instrument!

    • Sharon says:

      And access to email lists to tell the people who are going to your concerts through concert halls when you are giving Zoom concerts. Will concert halls be willing to release them, most of which are their donor lists, if they even have them?

      He would also need some means to set up codes and passwords to exclude those who do not pay as well as set up something through the English equivalent of paypal

      Norman, perhaps you could list Zoom concerts and recitals through this blog. In this day and age it would be a real mitzvah

  • William Mitchell says:

    Don’t sell you’re piano Sir. It’s apart of who YOU are and what makes you, YOU! You worked super hard to afford that instrument, Cherish it and pass it down as a family heirloom! And not only that, You always have your biggest fan to enjoy listening to you play, she’s been with you for years. Never stop doing what you love and loving what you do✋

  • Leight says:

    I know how it’s feels! I’m sorry!!

  • Qwerty1234 says:


  • Rogerio says:

    The “numbers” in this story don’t add up. A brilliant international solo career that spans decades … and the money dries up in seven months?

    • Fliszt says:

      The story oversells Mr. Syme, who plays reasonably well and has hustled for performance opportunities for many years. But he hasn’t performed on major circuits, nor with top conductors or orchestras. He did make some vanity-production recordings. He enjoys performing, and has carved a niche for himself in Ireland with his house concerts.

    • Sharon says:

      There are a lot of expenses in touring and in paying agents. Also unless one is a real star the audience and compensation for most solo piano recitals may be relatively small.

      In New York City for example pre Covid one is competing with the Mannes school of music and Julliard where the students’ recitals that are part of the requirements for their MFAs are free and open to the public. Mannes used to have one virtually every night. Most of the listening public cannot tell the difference.

  • Liam Allan-Dalgleish says:

    We are turning into Barbarians, but unlike Attila, we don’t attack others but destroy ourselves. The government doesn’t have money for health insurance; the government doesn’t have money for Higher Education; the government doesn’t have money for children in poverty; but boys just a bit out of puberty can wandering around looking at the big buildings while passively making more money than Denmark. (Credit: White House Information Service)

  • Liam Allan-Dalgleish says:

    Should be: wander