Christoph Schreiber is a neurologist and "piano restorer" whose workshop has become Berlin’s "hip place" for performances by top pianists, reports Bertrand Benoit in The Wall Street Journal (4/30/14). The workshop/venue, known as The Piano Salon, is "a former tram-repair shop … Lids, soundboards and other piano parts are propped against walls. Industrial cranes, black with grease, hang alongside flea-market chandeliers from steel beams above the stage."
The appeal to pianists is "closeness to the audience and the salon’s interesting acoustics" in part because of the "dismembered pianos lining the walls." "It’s perfect for Franz Liszt," says Kotaro Fukuma, "a Japanese pianist and salon regular." Christoph got to know Kotaro and other top performers through his repair business; the performances evolved from there. This doesn’t sit well with some of the performers’ agents, who are bypassed, and afraid that their artists might somehow damage their reputations.
There’s no admission for "a potential audience of 400," but donations are accepted, with two-thirds going to the performers. "Seats are assigned by a computer algorithm that rewards loyalty rather than wealth: Regulars sit closer to the stage and a single no-show will set you all the way to the back of the last row." "The chaos here, crossed with the music, generates a new experience," says Christoph. The Piano Salon, now in its 10th year, "has 6,500 names on its mailing list and holds about 160 concerts a year."