James Carney is excited to announce the opening of the first maker's piano workshop and showroom in Industry City - located on the Sunset Park waterfront in Brooklyn, NY.
A lengthy career in music including performance, composition, leading several recordings and curating a well regarded series of live music led him in recent years to expand into skilled work in the tech and restoration of fine pianos. In his new shop and showroom located at 68 34th Street in Brooklyn, Carney transforms older, beloved Steinway grand pianos into custom, modern instruments. Retaining the integrity of these instruments is a driving force behind his work, informed by his decades of musical experience.
"For eight weeks of Covid lockdown, gigs had been cancelled and my new album was about to come out.” (Pure Heart / Sunnyside Records, June 5, 2020). “So there I was, not working and not being able to play concerts, stuck at home like everyone else. During that time, I reconditioned a 1930s Sohmer grand piano that had been sitting in our apartment for years. The process was so fulfilling that I began searching for a space to restore more pianos. For the last 12 years I have either done major repairs and regulated pianos onsite in client’s apartments and homes, or brought pianos and piano actions to our apartment. Once I discovered this space in Industry City, I recognized that it would serve not only as a wonderful work space - but that it would also lend itself as the perfect showroom for the finished pianos."
In keeping with his history of curating and producing acclaimed musical gatherings and creating community in Brooklyn, Carney plans to host small gatherings and performances in his new space. "Eventually, the new studio could be a place where people can not only explore the beauty of the restored pianos, but also enjoy private concerts featuring top jazz musicians."
The large, secure, light-filled space with 13' ceilings and polished concrete floors is perfect for Carney's high end, meticulous piano work. "It's a modern, clean, and technologically advanced shop with real humidity and acoustic control. Featuring state-of-the-art tools and equipment, the focus is on rebuilding techniques that make the most of an instrument's performance potential while preserving the vintage parts and aspects of a piano that can’t be replaced. We’ll engage in time-honored rebuilding techniques while utilizing newer innovations such as wire rescaling, hybrid wire inclusion, and customized action modifications that elevate the touch and tone of each individual piano. My hope is that it will be a relaxed and welcoming space where the pianist can either select an instrument that we've redone, or bring their own instrument in for repairs, upgrades, or full rebuilding."
Carney plans to host an "open studio" on at least a monthly basis, accommodating about 10 people at a time. These open house "pop-ups" will be an intimate gathering of friends, fans, music lovers, and serious pianists - complete with a brief introduction to the various aspects of a piano restoration. “It will be wonderful to demonstrate what’s under the hood inside a grand piano. It’s a complex, mysterious machine, and one of my goals is to encourage all pianists to learn more about the technical aspects.”