Stretto Piano Events Nonprofit Takes On Fundraising, Multiple Events in 2024-2025

By WestView News

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to play a piano with narrow keys — keys that would allow you to play with ease, control, cut your practice time in half and make stretches and leaps easy? Did you ever feel like the keys are too big to play as well as you’d like to?

Welcome to the world of stretto pianos and play piano as you have always wanted to play.

Stretto means “narrow” in Italian and stretto pianos, innovative instruments being re-introduced in the 21st century, accommodate all hand sizes, something pianists have not known about widely in over 100 years. Mozart could play and compose music more easily as a child than most children today can because today’s conventional keys are too wide for little fingers to play difficult music — until stretto pianos came along.

The global movement of pianists with small and medium-sized hands that inspired Stretto Piano Events is largely women, but there are a lot of male pianists who prefer narrower keys.

Maestro Daniel Barenboim is lending his name and support to the organization – read the the quote on its website’s homepage, strettoipianoconcderts.org and see photos of dozens of artists on the festival pages. Most women, many men and all children will benefit from narrower keys and the piano industry could thrive, again, as this trend catches on.

Caption: Stretto Piano Concerts will present seven-year-old child prodigy, Chelsea Solis at the International Stretto Piano Festival, May 25 – June 2, 2024. Chelsea won 1st Place & the Judges Distinction Award as American protégé in 2022; 1st prize & Exceptional Young Talent Special Prize in 2022, Golden Classic and 1st Place at the American Fine Arts Festival 2021.
This photo from Carnegie Hall shows Chelsea playing a conventional (non-stretto) piano.
Photo credit: Lucas Shao & Joyce Yu, Chelsea’s parents.

NPR featured Stretto Founder and Artistic Director, Hannah Reimann, in late May 2024 and now millions of people have heard about the festival, its artists and the global movement that is clamoring for more stretto pianos to be built.

The demographic of people who play the piano has expanded since the early 20th century when large white males were the leading concert artists in the classical genre and when black and white men began playing Jazz throughout the US. Some of them, like Rachmaninoff, were 6’6” and could reach 13ths. For him and other pianists, the standard of piano key size expanded over centuries. In 2024, Chinese females are the largest demographic of players of keyboard instruments. Many women and all kids cannot reach 9ths or even octaves on today’s conventional pianos — they are diminutive in stature. One size does not fit all and it’s time for mainstream piano manufacturers to meet everyone’s needs.

Stretto Piano Events, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, and The Fourth Annual International Stretto Piano Festival are celebrating small hands and narrow piano keys like never before.

From May 25 – June 4, 2024, 17 in-person and live global concerts including six at NYC’s legendary Symphony Space Leonard Nimoy Thalia thrilled audiences. There were live shows in Dallas, San Diego, Bayreuth and Stuttgart, Germany, Victoria, Canada, North Carolina, London, Latvia, Singapore, Melbourne, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand, attracting the attention of various media outlets.

Now Stretto Piano Events is preparing for the 2024-2025 season for year-round concerts and a strategy to allow players of stretto pianos to tour internationally by coordinating with its global partners and raising awareness about amazing, groundbreaking narrow piano keys.

Seven-year-old competition winner and child prodigy Chelsea Solis was introduced to Reimann by a colleague in the piano industry, Peter Becker. She engaged Chelsea for her first-ever solo piano recital for the festival on June 1. The petite virtuoso played Bach, Haydn, Chopin, Greig and Debussy to a cheering crowd and her parents, in tears on the sidelines. Go to the Stretto Piano Concerts YouTube page to hear Chelsea’s recital and over 100 concerts from the 2024, 2023, 2022 and 2021 festivals as well as additional footage of artists celebrating stretto pianos for other related events.

Supporting Diversity, Equity and Equality of size and gender, Stretto Piano Events is the result of a global movement, a phenomenon that is attracting artists on five continents and has inspired four piano manufacturers to offer stretto instruments to the general public: Hailun and Pearl River Piano in China, Steingraeber Piano in Germany and Klavins Piano in Latvia.

This exciting phenomenon is yet relatively unknown to the public sector so Reimann took it upon herself to create the global concert platform and nonprofit organization. It is unique in the world, designed to market instruments made by any manufacturer and artists of any size and age who play them. It can please performers with the smallest of hands, preventing injury, accommodating all sizes, promoting comfort for the most difficult repertoire, saving time and creating beautiful music. Artists are now playing pieces they never could play otherwise – a revolution, game-changer and huge inspiration in their musical lives. Stretto Piano Events supports large hands, too, offering pianists their preference of key size at the concerts.

Please consider donating your tax-deductible contribution to this unique concert platform, the only one in the world that offers pianists a choice of key size. Piano keys are not yet widely offered in multiple sizes at large. Most of the pianos used for Stretto Piano Events were rebuilt independently by individuals who are demanding a change. This is now changing and will develop more in the 21st century. There is concrete evidence of support and progress from the growing number of musicians participating in the concerts, by the fact that four piano manufacturers now offer stretto pianos and from financial support for Stretto Piano Events that continues to grow via the organization’s Give Butter fundraising page.

Funding will provide for programming, staff, hall rental, artists fees, new instruments and all other concert-related needs, kickstarting the ambitious plan to create the first commercial concert hall in NYC offering a choice of key size in a major city – a first in the world!

Ways to donate:

Send a text to 53-555 on your smart phone with a one-word message: stretto. A link will be texted back to you immediately. By clicking the link, you’ll be led to the Give Butter fundraising page for SPE where you can easily donate via credit card, etc.

Go to https://givebutter.com/stretto-piano-concerts and donate on the page

Send a check to Stretto Piano Events, Inc 336 West 11th Street #1B New York, NY 10014 made out to Stretto Piano Events

With a new educational focus and a piano competition in planning phases, the unique premiere concert platform for global pianists is growing with each month in the press and with new online followers. The organization is working with manufacturers and piano rebuilders for a productive annual timeline.

Stretto Piano Concerts began as an online festival in May 2021, grossing $10K with 18 online concerts and 400 people in attendance online and zero marketing costs at a time when most musicians were losing money as performers. The enthusiasm of this astonishing grass roots movement inspired Reimann to continue producing online concerts and to introduce live, in-person concerts in NYC where audiences can try her personal “stretto” piano which has narrower keys that fit smaller hands. It is the only piano of its kind used for concerts in the Northeast.

Instead of the conventional 6.5-inch octave stretch that most pianos today have, her personal rebuilt Steinway has 5.9-inch octave keys which make a big difference to smaller hands, aiding in comfort, dexterity, ease and control. Artists gain at least one more key playing large intervals. Pianos with 6.0-inch octave keys and 5.5-inch octave keys are becoming more and more popular all over the world.

Relatively few people today know that Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) could reach from C to A, nearly two octaves, with his enormous hands. Reimann learned from inviting audience members, one by one, to the concert stage to try her piano after each live Stretto Piano Festival concert, that even people with large hands have trouble playing the great Russian composer’s pieces. She knew that the piano playing field would be made even greater by focusing on his music in 2024 and inviting a broader demographic to be part of The Annual International Stretto Piano Festival as performers. Professionals, amateurs and children are all included in upcoming year-round Stretto Piano Events.

Join this ground-breaking organization as it fosters gender and size equality for one of the most important and influential musical instruments in history — the piano.

Donate Here:

https://givebutter.com/stretto-piano-concerts

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