5 minutes of fame for a piano tuner

Following our AGM on 18 June we’ll be holding the presentation concert of this years’ AYCA winners. Every year one of the big challenges we face, as we know many of you do also, is finding a professional standard piano hire service for an affordable price capable of working with us in a venue that they don’t necessarily know that well. This year that important role is being filled by Markson Pianos who we are also pleased to welcome as corporate members.

Now the three generation family-run business is on the verge of stardom in the much anticipated film – Florence Foster Jenkins. Markson pianos have provided all six period specific pianos which will feature in the film. The film is based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins, an American socialite from the 1930s. With a cast including Merrill Streep and Hugh Grant, this is the portrayal of a woman whose exuberant character outweighed her vocals.

The logistical challenges of delivering to film sets, tuning at short notice and adapting to circumstance could perhaps have been prepared for but Simon Markson, Managing Director, of Markson Pianos was presented with a new challenge when he was asked to appear in the film as ‘Charley the piano tuner’:

I unhesitatingly said yes! The director said “we’ve found our piano tuner” and everyone cheered.

Then, followed a costume fitting and several months later I was called in for the filming, collected by car early in the morning and taken to Twickenham film studios. I expected that my character would to be seen in the background tuning a grand piano, so I was surprised to find myself on set with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. It was only in the dressing room that I had been shown my script.  It became clear on set with various retakes that I would grow into the part of Charlie the piano tuner, and that my brief interaction with Meryl Streep was a comic one.

Florence Foster Jenkins is out in cinemas now. If you’d like to hear a Markson piano played live in concert, then come to our Awards for Young Concert Artists presentation concert on the 18 June to Oxford House, London. The concert will follow our annual AGM and a consultation about our plans for the next three years. Reserve a free ticket here.