Hugh Sung of Curtis Institute and owner of AirTurn demonstrates the New Cunningham Grand Piano that he purchased for his home.
New Cunningham in St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
The New Cunningham Piano is a project that has been long in the making - longer than can be easily expressed in this brief description. Patrick J. Cunningham began a Philadelphia tradition in 1891 that still has lasting impressions on Philadelphia’s musical heritage today. Many Philadelphia musicians remember playing on the Cunningham piano in their parent’s homes, in their public schools, their churches and synagogues, and these experiences resonate in them when they visit or revisit our facilities today.
It has always been our dream to bring the Cunningham piano back to the marketplace. After all, it is a part of Philadelphia history.
But rather than simply reproducing history, today’s New Cunningham has taken on a whole new face. The driving force in this piano was to be relevant in today’s marketplace and to address a present need – to offer a premium instrument that gives an artistic performance without charging the same premium that so many other makers require.
The first pianos that we brought in under the Cunningham brand were in association with Chaobo Musical Instruments, who has also had relationships with Palatino/Music Link, May Berlin/Schimmel, and many others. We took their instruments and spent many hours on each piano in our facilities. The adjustments and changes that we made to each of these pianos enhanced their performance dramatically and any suggestions that we made for technical improvements were gladly incorporated by the assembly factory.
The success that we immediately had and the positive feedback from our clients spurred us onto the next step. With a laundry list from our technical staff and with the help of George F. Emerson, a piano designer who has done work with Mason & Hamlin & Baldwin over three decades, and Mr. Hailun Chen, proprietor of the best piano production facility in China, the Cunningham Piano has become a distinct, unique instrument.
It was at this point we felt it was appropriate to continue the serial number sequence that ended when Patrick J. Cunningham discontinued his pianos in 1943.
Our client list is as impressive as the piano itself. Instructors from Curtis Institute and University of Penn. have used The Cunningham in concert and purchased them for school and their personal use. Schools, teachers, artists, and students have all given us wonderful responses and input by offering us the most impressive praise possible… They have invested in purchasing the new Cunningham Piano for themselves.
Listen to NPR's "piano taste test" with Alex Schmidt and pianist Hugh Sung.
See Ang Li, 2009 Van Cliburn Finalist perform on network television on a new Cunningham grand:
Andre Watts, Pianist; Prof. of Piano Performance: Indiana University:
"The New Cunningham Piano has a beautiful, warm, singing tone!"
Marc-Andre Hamelin, Concert pianist and Grammy nominated performer:
"This is clearly a very good piano for the money."
"The New Cunningham piano is musical and warm in tone and responds beautifully to the player. This is why I encouraged my daughter to get one for her family."
George Crumb, Composer, pianist, Prof. Emeritus at University of Pennsylvania (Penn):
"Speaking as a pianist, I like the New Cunningham quite a bit. It has a very nice tone and action."
"I am quite pleased with my New Cunningham Piano, especially in comparison to what else is available - even for many thousands of dollars more. I have trust in the product and the company and highly recommend this piano."
Jeffrey Khaner, Principal Flutist, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Faculty, The Juilliard School, Faculty, The Curtis Institute:
"I've had my Cunningham Piano now for almost two years, and it has been terrific! We use it for many things: concerts, masterclasses, even cabaret performances, and it has received uniform praise from every pianist who has played it. It sounds wonderful, and it looks really great! Thanks so much for all your support, and for creating an instrument of such quality and value."
Janet Miller, Pianist, Director of The Philadelphia Suzuki Piano Academy:
"The New Cunningham grand pianos that I purchased for my school are wonderful! It is amazing to get such nuance, response, and tone for such a low price."
Douglas Lutz, Music Director, The Walnut Street Theater:
"We have used the New Cunningham Piano here at the Theater many times and I run into them across the region. These pianos never disappoint me."
Rosalind Erwin, Faculty, TCNJ Music Department, Freelance Conductor:
"The tone and touch of our new Cunningham PIano is lovely. It fits both a teaching situation and a professional situation superbly."