Steinway & Sons CEO speaks at business symposium

WINCHESTER – Shenandoah University’s ninth annual Business Symposium Friday included a presentation from Ron Losby, President and CEO of Steinway & Sons.

Dean of the Harry F. Byrd Jr. School of Business Miles Davis spoke briefly about the event, which was being streamed live.

“Hopefully being here, you’ll get to experience a little sunshine,” he said as it rained heavily outside.

President and CEO of First Bank Scott C. Harvard added that it’s remarkable to see the symposium grow each year. celebrating its ninth symposium Friday in the University’s Halpin-Harrison Hall.

Losby, the keynote speaker in the University’s Halpin-Harrion Hall talked about the successes of Steinway & Sons, a prominent manufacturer of pianos.

“It has prospered,” he said about the 150-year-old company, because it has been able to remain relevant to the public and has stayed true to its mission of producing high-quality pianos.

He added that the company’s success is also due the ability to differentiate itself from other piano manufacturers. He gave as an example their offer when they first opened of piano lessons with every piano sold. Not only could you buy a piano, but you could learn to play it from Steinway & Sons.

Losby said that Steinway & Sons began as an American company, but grew internationally over time. In 1867 the company attended the Paris Exposition, winning a first place prize against 400 other piano companies. This achievement allowed them to break into the European market.

In the 1870’s and 1880’s the company opened in London and Germany. He said it continued its success with the establishment of its concert and artist department in 1878. Today, over 1,800 artists are Steinway artists.

In the 1990’s the company designed the Boston and Essex pianos to join the lineup of pianos offered by Steinway & Sons. In 2000, the company then created the All-Steinway School Program, which Shenandoah University is joining.

“We’re a legacy company, but we have to remain relevant,” he said about Steinway’s accomplishments. “We have to remain in the consumer’s mind.”

A more recent development has been the general availability of Spirio to “popularize the piano,” he added. Spirio is a high-resolution player piano that allows someone to enjoy performances from world-renowned artists in the comfort of your own home.

Later this year, he said, the company will open a retail shop in Beijing, China, expanding their company into a growing market.

“It is an extraordinary explosive growth of reverence for the piano that I have never seen in my lifetime anywhere and 30 to 40 million children are taking piano lessons,” he said. “We’re growing double digits every single year in that market.”

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com