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Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom MusicWorks, Episode 94: Piano Man – Jim Kozak, Piano Tuner

Jim Kozak’s the name. Piano tuning is his game.


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Jim Kozak
Jim Kozak, Piano (Tuner) Man, in the Geary Performance Studio with his patient, the Houston Public Media Steinway. Photo by Dacia Clay.

What’s in a piano? Jim Kozak has tuned a few, and he can tell you. He tunes pianos for the Houston Symphony, Da Camera of Houston, and for our own Houston Public Media. What does he do, and how does he do it? How does one become a piano tuner? Kozak tells all, including how a piano works, and why tuning for Alfred Brendel took two days.

Music in this episode:

  • Montage” from the South Park episode, “Asspen“*. Written by Trey Parker.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Bagatelle in A minor WoO 59 “Für Elise.” From Beethoven Piano Bagatelles. Alfred Brendel.
  • JS Bach, Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D Minor. From Bach-Solo Piano Pieces by Alfred Brendel.

Piano tuning fork and tuning lever
Tools of the trade: Jim’s tuning lever and tuning fork. Photo by Dacia Clay.

Audio production by Todd “Tuned In” Hulslander with dropouts by Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio and/or Nick Dulworth. Thanks to George Heathco for the MusicWorks theme music.

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*Team CC contends that this is one of the most hilarious South Park episodes of all time. Right up there with “Mecha-Streisand.”