Piano Vertu
By David Kynan

Two Lifelong Pianists Team Up

Before she was eight, Helen Gumanti  was serenading audiences during live performances. This was only the beginning of a lifelong love affair with music, which continued when Helen earned her bachelor of music degree and then set out to travel, teach and perform. While in Montreal, she met Maxime Séguin and the harmony between them was instantaneous.

Both pianists since their early years, Helen and Maxime agreed that there was a gap in the industry. "Most pianists rely upon a number of commonly known makes of pianos," states Maxime, "but when we discovered some of the lesser known pianos, we fell in love with the exquisite sound they produce." Maxime, holder of a bachelor of music degree in jazz performance, had taught piano for over 20 years and was often tasked with helping students find the right piano. "Many weren't satisfied with the sound," he explains.

Maxime decided to solve the problem, and along with Helen, that's what he did. In the winter of 2012, the two opened Piano Vertu in a large two-floor space that is now every pianist’s dream store.

We carry a handpicked selection of the world’s most exquisite pianos. - Maxime Séguin, co-owner
Piano Vertu - upright pianos, grand pianos, piano academy, piano classes, piano instruction, private piano lessons, music theory classes, cello lessons
Inside the Piano Vertu store.

An Exquisite Secelction

In their quest for excellence in every note, the most demanding pianists, composers, and students now turn to Piano Vertu. The store is decked wall-to-wall with majestic pianos, but not the usual mass-market makes you might expect. Instead, Piano Vertu deals only in a quite rare and unique selection of little-known brands that are almost impossible to find elsewhere in the province. "We carry a handpicked selection of the world’s most exquisite pianos," Helen explains. And she isn't exaggerating. The pianos here – brands like Blüthner, Irmler, Fazioli and Estonia – are handcrafted in Europe, made in small quantities and said to produce sound so pure and full that musicians fall in love and never turn back.

Set your fingers to one of these pianos and you'll agree they're worth discovering. Crafted in Italy, Fazioli has come to be known as the Stradivarius of pianos. From Germany comes Blüthner, a make composers like Schumann and modern artists like the Beatles adored and relied upon for its "golden" signature tones. There are also pianos by Estonia, a company founded in 1893 by a concert pianist who set out to reinvent the instrument. "Estonia offers the same level of craftsmanship of other brands, but at a more moderate price," explains Maxime.

The focus at Piano Vertu is on service and after sales support if needed. "We are here to help our clients with anything they need so they can keep enjoying that flawless sound," states Helen.

At any given time, the store also offers a selection of second-hand Yamaha pianos for sale.

Piano Vertu - upright pianos, grand pianos, piano academy, piano classes, piano instruction, private piano lessons, music theory classes, cello lessons
Some of the exquisite pianos on sale.

Excellence in Performing

Just above the boutique is the Piano Vertu Academy. Students from four to sixty come to learn classical, jazz, and Suzuki piano thanks to private lessons offered in French, English, Russian and Chinese. The school also provides group classes in music history, theory and solfège (ear training) as well as cello instruction in English, French and Russian.

While many music academies aim to prepare students for competition, the curriculum at Piano Vertu is performance-based. Every seven to eight weeks, students have the chance to perform live before parents, teachers and other music lovers who attend the school's free recitals. "Our classes prepare students for excellence in performing, allowing them to see real progress at each recital," adds Helen.

Piano Vertu - upright pianos, grand pianos, piano academy, piano classes, piano instruction, private piano lessons, music theory classes, cello lessons
The Piano Vertu store.
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