Ryan W. Sowers, RPT
Piano Touch & Tone Expert
Specializing in Steinway & Sons fine pianos
Updated November 2019
I love bringing out the potential of fine pianos, however I also work on many modest instruments as well. The same techniques that work on a Steinway concert grand will also work on old uprights and spinet pianos. In fact, it is important that I practice these skills regularly on everyday instruments in order to keep my skills sharp. For this reason, I treat all my clients’ pianos as worthy instruments.
Even small, inexpensive pianos have musical potential that can be realized with proper techniques and workmanship. In fact, these are frequently the most neglected instruments that can show the most dramatic improvement with appropriate service.
Children and beginners deserve good-playing instruments. Learning to play piano is a challenging enterprise. The additional stumbling block of a piano with unpleasant and uneven touch and tone can sabotage even motivated students.
Every piano owner’s needs and expectations are unique. I strive to use my time in the most efficient manner possible to meet my clients’ needs to the best of my abilities. I endeavor to build partnerships with my clients in order to best realize their musical aspirations.
Over 40 years of piano playing experience
1994-Present Owner, Pianova Piano Service, Olympia WA
1998 Worked for Michael Reiter, RPT, Tacoma’s most well-respected piano technician/rebuilder.
1997 Worked for Snyder’s Piano Service, Bonny Lake, WA
1995 Worked for Grace Piano Service, Olympia, WA
2018 Attended the Annual Steinway College and University Technician Seminar at Oberlin Conservatory.
2017 Attended a week long Shigeru Kawai Seminar with Master Piano Technician Don Mannino at the prestigious Colburn School in Los Angeles., CA
2013 Attended the Steinway College and University Technician Seminar at Oberlin Conservatory.
2013 Spent one week at the Rappaport Piano Workshop, in Round Rock, TX. The Rappaports received formal piano building training in Germany and worked for Bechstein & Bosendorfer. They are considered among the top piano rebuilders in the United States.
2012 Completed the fourth five-day “Concert Prep” Seminar and the final three-day “Polishing and Touch-up” Seminar at the Steinway & Sons factory in New York City.
2011 Completed third five-day “Damper Seminar” at the Steinway & Sons factory
2010 Completed second five-day “Voicing Seminar” at Steinway & Sons factory.
2009 Completed the five-day “Comprehensive Piano Service Seminar” at the C. F. Theodore Steinway Academy conducted at the Steinway & Sons Factory, Long Island City, New York.
2001 Apprenticed with Darrel Fandrich, RPT, owner of Fandrich & Sons, Stanwood, WA. Mr. Fandrich is an internationally recognized technician and holds several patents for improved piano designs and is a former technician for the Seattle Symphony. Apprenticeship included grand piano action rebuilding, advanced voicing and regulating.
1998 Attended Yamaha’s technician training program at Yamaha North American Headquarters, Los Angeles, California.
1992-1994 Apprenticed with Mitch Kiel, RPT, former piano technician for the Washington Center of the Performing Arts.
1993 Graduated from The Evergreen State College with credits in piano technology.
Ryan is currently the technician for the following organizations and institutions:
Lewis County Concert Association
North Thurston School District
Shelton School District
Olympia School District
Tumwater School District
Ryan is trusted to do warranty service for the following piano dealers:
2018 – Present Vice-President of the Olympia Music Teachers Association
2015-2017 District IV Vice President of the Washington State Music Teachers Association, an affiliate of MTNA
2015- 2018 Regional Tuning Exam Administrator, Pacific Northwest Region, Piano Technicians Guild
2012-2013 President of Olympia Music Teachers Association
2011-2012 President Elect of the Olympia Music Teachers Association
2011 Director, Piano Technicians Guild Annual Technical Institute
2009-2011 Member of National Institute Team for the Piano Technicians Guild Annual Conference
2006-2008 Vice-President of the Puget Sound Chapter of PTG
1994-present Registered Member of the Piano Technicians Guild
1997-present Active in administering the Piano Technicians Guild Tuning Exam
2000-2003 President of the Pacific Northwest Conference Organization PTG
2000-2003 President of the Puget Sound Chapter of PTG
1997-2000 Vice-president of Puget Sound Chapter of PTG
1996 Member, National Ethics Committee, PTG
1992-1994 Associate (apprentice) member of PTG
Ryan believes in the power of continuing education
Since joining PTG in 1992, Ryan has attended dozens of conferences, seminars, and workshops from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. Through these events he has had the opportunity to learn from some of our nation’s top piano technicians and rebuilders. In 2007 and 2008 he attended several day-long seminars taught by nationally respected technician, Steve Brady, RPT. Between 2009 and 2012 Ryan completed approximately 140 hours of specialized training at the Steinway & Sons Factory in New York. In the summer of 2013 and 2018 Ryan attended Steinway’s exclusive College and University Technician Seminar held at Oberlin Conservatory.
Ryan has taught classes on piano technology at the local and regional level. In 2010 he presented a well-received program on piano tuning self-study for the New York chapter of PTG at Faust Harrison Pianos. In the summer of 2019 Ryan taught an all-day workshop on piano technology at the University of Victoria, BC. In 2020 Ryan will be teaching classes at the Annual Piano Technicians Guild Convention in Orlando, Florida.