A master’s touch blows soul of sound into the piano

한정찬 기자l승인2020.04.22l수정2020.04.22 10:25

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▲ Gallery Piano / CEO Jaebong Jeong

Piano is the instrument that has been loved and played by professionals and amateurs alike for many years for rich and clean sound as well as melody and harmony combinations. It is one of the most commonly appeared musical instruments whether it is a solo, ensemble or orchestra. 

While players have privilege to enjoy standing ovation from the audience, there are people who are equally deserve the praise but hidden behind this performance. They are but piano tuners. No matter how good the player is, out of tuning can bring a disaster instead of applause. 

Sound is tuned by master’s ears and touch
Jaebong Jeong, CEO of Gallery Piano, has a veteran piano tuner whose knowledge and experience spans over 35 years. His name in the industry is well recognized both in South Korea and Germany. 

Gallery Piano in Yongin City is where some of the best piano tuners in South Korea are giving the best tuning services covering almost all kinds of pianos including Steinway & Sons, Boesendorfer, Schimmel, KAWAI and YAMAHA. Not only are they experts in tuning but also in re-building. 

The 330 square meter big 2 storey building is divided into office, repair and display and sales. Alongside tuning and re-building services, Gallery Piano made strong impression to the industry officials with its development of ‘soundproof caster cup’ that cuts the sound vibration transmitted from the piano to the downstairs which often is the cause for complaint. The cup is praised in Germany and is being supplied to JAHN, the largest piano parts company in the world. 

Jaebong Jeong
Jeong started his professional career as a piano tuner at the Seoul Arts Center in 1997. His skills and name spread fast among the industry officials and he soon expanded his services to Kumho Art Hall, Seoul National University and Korea National University of Arts. Also impressed by his knowledge, Seoul National University, Korea National University of Arts and Baekseok Arts University invited him to teach students on construction of piano which he has done for the last 20 years. 

He majored in violin and used to play at the Gwangju Symphony Orchestra. “I had this doubt that whether I was a good player because my performance did not go well as I intended. Then I started to think seriously what might suit me better and I found piano tuner plausible” looks back Jeong.

He valued highly of Germany who has produced globally famous musicians and which is one of the best piano makers in the world. In 1985, he flew to the country. Heading straight to Cologne University of Music and Dance, he begged to work for one year with no pay. 

The university was surprised by his skills after watching him closely for 6 months and hired him as a permanent staff. His services as a piano tuner lasted 11 years and when back in South Korea he became the first Korean who refined piano tuning skills in Germany. He joined a special training at the head office of Steinway & Sons in Hamburg, Germany and obtained Klavierbauer certificate that certifies one’s piano making skills.  

“A skilled piano tuner listens and feels what the player might listens and feels. In this respect, tuning the piano is a process of communication with the player, the body of the piano and the strings of the piano. The body in particular is very important as it is the one that changes the sound when it gets old.”

When asked about future plan, Jeong said “I don’t have any other plan except I do what I do best.”


한정찬 기자  chan5150@naver.com
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