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Interview with Founder of A. C. Pianocraft, Ted Kostakis, and Tour of Showroom and Restoration Work
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Interview with Founder of A. C. Pianocraft, Ted Kostakis, and Tour of Showroom and Restoration Work

- Sponsors and Testimonials: Classical and Cultural Connections

A. C. Pianocraft, Inc.
333 West 52nd Street
NY, NY 10019
212.957.4594
Ask for Alex or Ted
www.acpianocraft.com
(See a Review of La Belle Musique at A. C. Pianocraft, Inc.)

Interview with Founder of A. C. Pianocraft, Ted Kostakis, and Tour of A. C. Pianocraft Showroom and Piano Restoration Workshop


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 13, 2005


If you are looking to purchase or restore an antique piano, then A. C. Pianocraft, Inc. is a must-visit showroom and workshop. Most of Ted and Alex (father-son) Kostakis’ restored showroom pianos are Steinway, but there is a wide selection of name brand pianos, with hand-carved inlay designs, unique coloring and fine wood-grain, and artistically historical personality. Today I sat down with Ted and Alex Kostakis and learned a bit about the history of this fascinating piano restoration process.

Ted Kostakis, of Northwestern Greece, is not a pianist. But, he used to be a busboy in the 50’s and met “Uncle Bill” Steinway at the Plaza, during one of his jobs. Steinway Piano Co., in Astoria, hired Ted to work in their assembly line and later as an inspector. He was subsequently commissioned for $20 to fix a piano teacher’s piano, and Ted soon opened a business in Astoria to restore pianos in the Steinway tradition.

Alex, Ted’s son, had piano tools for toys, growing up, and naturally joined the business. A. C. Pianocraft, Inc. was first built in Astoria, Queens, then Soho, then back to Queens, and finally back to Manhattan on West 52nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues. Ted and Alex Kostakis are not, even now, dressed in fine clothes when they go to work. Rather, they see themselves as mechanics, not musicians or businessmen, and they are physically involved in all aspects of the piano restoration process. They personally inspect each piano at key points of its technical rejuvenation.

A. C. Pianocraft, Inc. is able to work on 28-30 pianos at one time. Pianos are musically and mechanically restored to original condition, and the woods and inlays are also refinished. In cases where the detail work is extraordinary, the Kostakis’ look to the high end auction houses for expert assistance. It usually takes four and one-half months to restore an antique piano, in order for the glues to take hold, the boards to settle, and the strings to be stitched. Sounding boards are checked for readiness toward the end of the process.

Seventy percent of the pianos under restoration are privately owned, with the remaining thirty percent for sale, and ninety-eight percent of the pianos are Steinways, as the Kostakis’ are creatures of habit, with training in company-maintained Steinways. Alex Kostakis, formerly a professional photographer, is quite happy in this family business, no longer “poorer and younger”, and he likes the physicality of creating an end product. There is a challenge for these men here, in taking a battered and abused instrument and giving it a proper life condition.

Ted Kostakis, who is often visited by Henry Steinway, prefers the music of Rachmaninoff and Chopin. Ted and Alex Kostakis often host Piano and Ensemble Salons at A. C. Pianocraft. Call 212.957.4594, and ask for Alex or Ted Kostakis. Tell them you saw them on RobertaOnTheArts.com.



AC Pianocraft Showroom
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



AC Pianocraft Showroom
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Piano Restoration Workshop
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



AC Pianocraft Showroom
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



AC Pianocraft Showroom
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



AC Pianocraft Showroom
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



AC Pianocraft Showroom
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



AC Pianocraft Showroom
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



AC Pianocraft Showroom
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



AC Pianocraft Showroom
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



AC Pianocraft Showroom
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower




For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net