City purchases $90k piano for conservatory

The City Council on Monday night approved $90,000 for the purchase of a handmade Italian piano as part of the plan to establish the Klavierhause Piano Conservatory. The council entered into a contract with Piano Culture Institutional Consultants at Klavierhaus “for the purchase of a Fazioli Pianoforti F-228 (photo below) to enhance the Arts District Expansion Project.”

The piano retails for $140,000, according to City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier, but the city will pay $90,000, with “another source outside of the municipal tax base” that will contribute $5,000. The piano will be on loan to the Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC) and can be moved for performances at the planned amphitheater as well as the arts center.

The bank building adjacent to UCPAC (on the corner of Coach Street) will be retrofitted to house the Klavierhaus Piano Conservatory, which will offer a variety of recitals, lessons, performances and more “with special emphasis given to young people.” The Edge art gallery nearby is being eyed for a satellite sales office for Klavier, where it could feature console pianos, according to Mayor James Kennedy.

A world-class piano brings an interesting component of a respectable art form, Kennedy said, and it shows that city is serious about the arts, especially to funders like the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

The piano will attract internationally renowned pianists that have chosen Fazioli pianos in concert halls, conservatories, theaters and recording studios to perform and record their performances for the public to attend, according to Pelissier. “This is one component that will be a tremendous asset for the UCPAC to provide for and make Rahway a distinct destination of the arts,” he said.

A ceremony to celebrate the piano’s arrival will be Sunday, Feb. 21, at 4 p.m. at the UPCAC Studio Theatre, featuring Russian-born pianist Vassily Primakov.

Asked how a $90,000 purchase for a piano could be justified as property taxes rise, Pelissier described it as an investment in the arts district and the city’s overall redevelopment plans, not unlike the county’s $6-million purchase and renovation of UCPAC, construction of the library and recreation center, and renovation of Train Station Plaza.

“Municipalities that have concert halls have testified that the monies that come in to their respective towns and cities are in the millions resulting from parking fees, spending in restaurants, etc.,” Pelissier said. “In as much, as redevelopment has slowed down with the exception of a few projects, the arts initiatives set forth by the mayor will not only attract people to Rahway, it will continue to attract redevelopers to our city when the economic market returns. Our city will be ready.”

20 thoughts on “City purchases $90k piano for conservatory”

  1. Wow.I'm speechless.$90,000 for a piano. I'm not a liberal, but $90,000 could help a LOT of people. Or put on some really great events for downtown to attract customers to the downtown restaurants and merchants – maybe keep from adding to the boarded up buildings downtown.Which patrons are going to have to walk past to get to see the $90,000 piano.Just, wow.I hope the Mayor knows what he's doing.

  2. Michelle, Maybe if you amortize the cost it's more palatable? If it's used twice a month (random # I'm just throwing out there) for shows, concerts, recordings, etc., that's <$4,000 per use in the first year. I know that's now how it's paid for, but I'd be curious how much it might be to rent. I'm not trying to diminish the cost or even disagree with you – $90k is a lot of money (our property taxes). I just looked at it that way since the idea is that the piano, and conservatory, amphitheater, etc., is part of the overall plan to draw people downtown. I don't know that we need more events downtown, at least the one-time events downtown (Hot Rods, Wine Tasting, The Tastes). They're great but more than once a quarter might be overkill. The difficulty doesn't seem to be getting people to come downtown for those events but getting them to come back, and more often. That goes back to filling the storefronts.

  3. So this $90,000 piano gets housed in the old bank building, is on-loan to the UCPAC & will also be used by the new amphitheater..can you picture the city employees pushing this thing up and down Irving St. to get to these 3 places?..for $90,000, you would think that it would be kept in a perfect temperature regulated building with no one coming within 30 feet of it that had no business being there.

  4. I can't believe this. Who will get laid off now to pay for this piano or how much more will our taxes go up? Or maybe this is their idea of job creation pushing the piano up and down the street. I can't see how this is a good idea – especially now.

  5. At least this is 90k of something tangible. Think of all the money that gets blown that you have no idea where it ends up. Or shall I say comes out the other end cleaned up in the form of a "gift"

  6. Are you telling me that a piano for a fraction of the cost would be the difference between people attending piano concerts and people not attending piano concerts? It's absurd, especially considering the current economic climate, that this expense was approved. Its time we get new leadership in this town.

  7. Barbara, To be fair, the question I proposed to the administration included a reference to recent layoffs but in the interest of brevity I did not include that portion, so here it is: City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier said there is no correlation between employee layoffs and the purchase of the piano. "Employees were laid off because government is being run more efficient and those employees were not needed."Government is not run on the number of employees that are on the payroll. Decisions are made as to the residual effect of programs and how they impact on the greatest number of taxpayers and businesses," he said.Anon, 1:07, The difference between coming out to a free summer concert on a Thursday night or not? Doubtful. But in some cases, maybe yes, at least from the way the administration is pitching it. I'm no expert on the piano/pianist scene but I'd imagine that a world-class pianist might require/request a world-class piano and not play grandma's old Yamaha. The administration's plan also includes using it as part of a recording studio/conservatory which they expect will bring attention as well as prestige.

  8. Being a neanderthal, I guess I just don't understand. If it is in fact "all about the arts" than I'm sure a really good quality piano would do just fine. Forcing a municapality to buy a hand made,$90,000, piano to show "we are serious" is ludicrous. I believe it's more about elitists supporting each other, and less about the arts. But again being a neanderthal what do I know?

  9. are these guys in rahways office retarded. look at downtown rahway its crap. u have cops making 90k. now a piano. Kennedy and his office, who would not object, r idiots.

  10. If this doesn't finally wake the voters in Rahway up nothing will.This Mayor and his 9-0 democcrat council are out of touch with the reality of people suffering and struggling in Rahway.They asked city employees to take furloughed days, wage freezes, and higher co -pays, and they didn't pay into police/ fir pension plans this budget.Pelisier makes more money then any BA in the State of NJ, how could he possibly relate with the common plight of a hard working Rahway citizen?My question is this, when is the person who controls this site going to reach out to other groups in this community who have differant opinions for his stories?The State of NJ was contacted about this outragous expentature and hopefully an investigation will be launched into this.

  11. Anon 12:34, Please, feel free to call me Mark, it's posted all over this site. If you've read the blog for any length of time, I'd like to think you've seen many different opinions and comments. I greatly appreciate some of the regular contributors like Realist, NCR and Matt (among others), who I'd say have varying opinions. I'm not one for moderating comments but I'd like to keep this blog on the, shall we say, gentlemanly side, as opposed to other online forums I've seen. Rarely do I delete comments, the only instances being if they're unnecessarily offensive; and while yes that's my call, I like to put them to the "reasonable person" test. But I'm confused about what "groups" you'd like me to reach out to. I reply to reader email on an almost daily basis, solicit suggestions pretty regularly, and have "hosted" a happy hour gathering where blog readers were welcome to meet and chat. (It was a lot of fun — another is coming up on Feb. 26 @Flynn's if you care to join us.) If you'd like me to reach out to you or some other group, please feel free to send me your address or email. I Googled Anonymous, Rahway, NJ but it didn't really narrow it down for me.

  12. This piano will be destroyed in no time, as it will not be an easy task to move it back and forth between the Arts Center and the Klavierhaus Conservatory. The piano will have to be lifted from street level to the Arts Center loading dock and then onto the stage. Professional piano movers, with a truck outfitted with a tailgate lift, will definitely have to be hired every time the piano needs to be moved. Who is going to pay foot this bill?

  13. once again its either the lack of the city council thinking the mechanics of things thru, the lack of communicating the real message & how things are really intended to work, or the shear non-regard of the economy & the stubborness of this 'arts district' vision.

  14. I think it was a stupid and particularly insensitive purchase to make on the backs of the citizens of Rahway given the times we are living in right now. That being said, are they planning on taking as good care of this piano as they did the solar panels on top of City hall? – oh wait!

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