History of Pianos Wholesale
by R. Scott McKay
Nestled in a quiet pocket of the western San Gabriel Valley, one
can find traditional European craftsmanship still flourishing. This
is the workshop of Ivan Tudor. He is an artist of international
reputation, yet a gentle man who eschews the arrogant trappings
his reputation could bring and infuses his charm into everything
he accomplishes. He is a direct descendant of Renaissance masters
and is the master craftsman at Pianos Wholesale.
Trained in the rich traditions of the master instrument makers of
Europe, the young apprentice attracted the attention of many of
the most preeminent manufacturers of musical instruments of Europe.
Here he established his reputation as one of the most gifted artisans
on the Continent.
The maestro was born on the Island of Hvar in the Adriatic Sea to
a family whose traditions can be traced to the Fifteenth Century.
In his seventeenth year, he claimed his baccalaureate in musical
engineering. Harmonia, a prestigious instrument maker, rewarded
his genius by naming him Director of the Institute and Technical
Director for Harmonia itself.
After excelling in advanced studies at the renown School of Music
in Zagreb, he was brought to Germany by the House of Stahl, which
had for generations created fine pianos, pipe organs and guitars.
As their protégé, his genius was allowed to blossom.
He began to improve on processes, fashioning new pneumatic valves
and vibratos for pipe organs. Steirer Stahl Orgelbau had made pipe
organs for decades for the finest musicians in the world, and this
young artist developed new electric assemblies for organs and fashioned
many other mechanical and electronic advancements.
Lured to a respected competitor, he used his genius to solve problems
others could not. He continued his innovations, improving the construction
and purity of sound of the instruments on which he worked. His reputation
as a master craftsman whose inventions had tremendously improved
fine instruments spread across the Continent and eventually brought
him to the United States.
In the last quarter-century, he was called to America, where his
unique talents were very much in demand. He accepted a position
with David Saphir, whose family had for generations built pianos
for the world's greatest musicians. Saphir owned Pianos Wholesale
in Los Angeles, and needed Tudor's talents as Master of Piano Rebuilding,
an intricate and time-consuming art. He inspired other artisans
from around the world in rebuilding fine pianos for decades, guiding
them with all the understanding and artistic talent at his command.
It is largely due to this expertise that the firm flourished into
one of the premiere piano outlets in the state. Because of his broad
understanding of quality instruments, he has always found innovative
solutions to musical problems.
After laboring so long in the service of others, the maestro knew
it was time to open his own shop. He discovered the ideal location
hidden in the San Gabriel Valley and secured the building in a single
weekend, bringing with him the finest craftsmen from his professional
practice in America.
He is the first to be embarrassed by a listing of his prodigious
achievements, and most of us would not truly appreciate the clever
innovations that mark his pianos as work touched by genius. Such
is his humanity that he shares something with the pianos he lovingly
rebuilds--he beguiles; he charms, as the sweet music from the pianos
charms. He is proud of his studio tucked into the gently valley,
where he continues to renew the life of fine instruments. He has
completely rebuilt more than 8,000 grand pianos by hand and has
supervised an additional 22,000 by his skilled team.
Another important element of continuing his skill and craft, the
master must pass his knowledge and talent on to other generations.
Calling upon his traditional training at the hands of other master
instrument builders, Maestro Tudor has accepted talented youth into
his apprenticeship program. Thus, he ensures the grand talents he
possesses are in some measure passed along. Artistic craftsmen of
this caliber represent nearly the last members of an honorable fraternity.
Ivan Tudor is at their forefront.
His son John is continuing the family tradition by following in
his father's footsteps. Apprenticed by his father and the pianists,
symphonies, institutions, etc., he has worked for, he has become
a highly regarded piano technician and consultant.
Artists and connoisseurs worldwide appreciate the sensitive, responsive
touch of his pianos, and their instant reaction to any of their
intentions. Patrons have included past and current members of the
world's most prestigious philharmonics, orchestras, and concert
halls. These beautifully restored instruments have been featured
in major motion pictures and are sought constantly by the most successful
pianists, actors and businesspeople in the country.
Rarely is the public privileged to meet so fine an artist. Whether
working with a philharmonic conductor such as Zubin Mehta or teaching
the scale to a child, he is entirely accessible, Genuine European
hospitality and humanity are embodied in this warm and gentle man.
He is ready to answer any questions you may have about how pianos
are built, restored, and improved. This is your opportunity to discover
how these beautiful instruments can improve the quality of life
in your home.