MICHAEL LIPNICKI, R.P.T.
I suppose I was destined for a career in pianos as I grew up around pianos in various states of repair since my father and uncles were all in the piano business. Initially their training began at the Ontario School for the Blind as eye-sight problems afflicted every male of that generation. Tuning was a skill they could hone as their hearing and other senses were already heightened. Since my eyesight was fine, I assisted them from a very early age, in literally hundreds of tunings, helping to take the piano apart and keep track of their tools needed for tuning. Once I had my driver's license, I also got to chauffeur them around – much to my Aunts’ delight.
While I can’t say I aspired to do the work of “blind men”, I did take a great interest in how the piano worked and fell in love with the instrument itself. Eventually, I joined with my father and one
Uncle in the piano business running a successful repair and restoration shop in a small town in Ontario. This lead to learning piano design - not just replacing parts but improving on the tone
and touch of many fine, older pianos.
Due to the necessity of having the piano in-tune at a certain stage of its rebuilding process in order to complete the jobs, I did learn the actual art of aural tuning. My redesigned grand pianos went to music halls. At one point, a small but exclusive concert venue owner felt that the person who rebuilt the piano should maintain it. With a couple of exceptions, where my Uncle was double-booked or unwell, my first paid tunings were at this concert venue. Within 2 years I was in-demand for tuning and therefore concentrated on perfecting the art of tuning. I was invited to look after all tuning and piano work for Wilfred Laurier University and their concert hall in Waterloo, Ontario. It was there that I tuned for Anton Kuerti’s original recordings of the Schubert Sonatas (am I dating myself?) 25 years ago.
Eventually I expanded the piano business I took over from my father to include new piano sales.
After having worked a few times in the Caribbean, I loved the climate (who wouldn’t?) and worked to establish a piano technology course in St. Lucia. During my time on-island, Black Entertainment
Television (BET) began producing a jazz festival. I’m thrilled to say that I’ve tuned at every, single, St. Lucia Jazz Festival since its inception 24 years ago. Check it out at www.stluciajazz.org. This event has led to working at several other festivals in the Caribbean including Bermuda, Anguilla, and Grand Cayman which just so happen to be during the winter months. Who could say no to that?
After returning to Canada, I moved to Calgary to work for the local Steinway Dealer, Irene Besse Keyboards. In the 13 years I worked with Irene, I went from tuner to Chief Concert Technician to
Service Manager and eventually, son-in-law. Currently, you can find me tuning at Arts Commons (since 2007), for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra as well as many other events that happen at the centre, The University of Calgary Department of Music and Rosza Centre, am proud to be the piano tuner of choice to the Honens International Piano Competition, many area piano
teachers, and likely, in your home too!
St. Lucia Jazz Festival 1992 – present
Anguilla Tranquility Jazz Festival – November 2003 - Present
Cayman Island Jazz Festival
Bermuda Music Festival September 2002 - 2005
Being flown to Bermuda to tune for Jose Carreras’ pianists for his 1-night only solo performance April 2003
Piano Technician’s Guild – instructor
Registered Piano Technician (RPT)– As an RPT, Michael has passed a series of rigorous examinations that test skill in piano tuning, regulation and repair. Registered Piano Technicians are professionals who have committed themselves to the continual pursuit of excellence, both in technical service and ethical conduct.
Active volunteer with Calgary Chapter, Piano Technicians Guild
Often invited to teach classes at annual PTG National Conventions
Certified PianoDisc Installer
“Field Expert” Piano Life Saver System Recommended Installer
Over 30 year’s experience
1994 – 2001 Secretary, Piano Technicians Guild - Calgary
2001 – 2004 Vice president, Piano Technician’s Guild - Calgary
2004 – 2006 President, Piano Technician’s Guild – Calgary Chapter
2003 – 2005 Instructor at both the regional and National Piano Technician’s Guild Conventions
1994 – 2006 Member of the steering committee and piano tuner of the Calgary Concerto Competition (C3).
• Responsible for Technical Exams in Calgary Area
• Institute Director for PTG Calgary Regional Conference February 2006
• Trade Relations Committee Member, PTG National
November 2000 & 2009 Tuned Competition Pianos for Honens International Piano Competition