About Tom Denker Piano Tuner, Rebuilder and Pianist
Tom started piano in second grade, had a great teacher and loved it from the start. A great deal of his childhood went into building things, including a cardboard guitar and drum set after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. This went on to building telescopes, audio processing devices, and finally to piano restoration.
Tom received a bachelor's of music in piano performance with a minor in composition from DePaul University. Here he studied with the world renowned teacher, Mary Sauer, who is the pianist with the Chicago Symphony. During the college years he apprenticed with a prominent Chicago piano technician. Tom worked with many of the major Chicago piano dealers and tuned for the Steinway dealer.
To escape the traffic of the city, Tom and his wife Linda moved to northern Wisconsin. Linda is a music therapist and a saxophone player. Here they worked in their fields and both taught privately. For seven years they lived in the family cabin right on the famous sea caves in the Apostle Islands National Park.
Besides tuning and rebuilding, Tom enjoys teaching and giving piano master classes and lectures. The lectures have ranged from the history of the piano to overcoming mental blocks to interpreting Rachmaninoff.
Tom's latest venture is becoming a volunteer firefighter and volunteer EMT for the local ambulance service.
Thoughts on Audio
Tom has a pair of sound deadening headphones he uses in the shop. However, "I'd prefer to wear them all day long if it was socially acceptable." Sometimes he uses them while tuning loud pianos or while practicing for many hours in a row to prevent hearing loss.
He has strange views on today's audio gear. While multi-media technology grows by leaps and bounds, the amplifiers are getting by with much more distortion than before. "When we switched to digital, they cheated and did not change the testing equipment to look for distortions unique to digital signals."
Tom is part of a growing movement that believes the ancient "tube" technology along with LP records is superior to digital amplifiers and CD's.