Watch the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra unbox and test ride a $250,000, 3,000-pound new Steinway grand piano

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      The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has released video of the shipment of its massive new Hamburg Steinway Model D Concert Grand Piano--a $250,000 instrument that weighs 3,000 pounds and recently made a trans-continental journey.

      The VSO team traveled to Germany this past summer to hand-pick the nine-foot keyboard, a gift from the VSO’s 100th anniversary campaign. The company stresses this is a "once-in-a-generation" event.

      Famed pianist Sergei Babayan, who appears this season with the VSO from April 24 to 26, helped select a piano with the clarity that could fill the 2,700-seat Orpheum Theatre.

      To make its transatlantic voyage, the Steinway was secured to a pallet, carefully wrapped, packed, and boxed. When it arrived here, it was shipped to the Tom Lee Music warehouse in Richmond, where it had to spend a month acclimatizing before making the final journey to the Orpheum. You can watch its painstaking unpacking here, as well as local piano star Ian Parker giving it its first, sonorous test ride. Long-time VSO collaborator Parker marvels at the way the gorgeous instrument can sustain a high note.

      "The articulate crystalline sound, the crisp clarity has been something that has been just absolutely perfected by the Hamburg factory," he observes on-screen.

      In a grand unveiling, the Steinway makes its concert debut this Friday and Saturday (September 27 and 28), when Russian virtuoso Daniil Trifonov (whose mentor is Babayan) tackles Sergei Rachmaninoff’s pummelling Piano Concerto No. 3--better known as "The Rach 3".