Who We Are
Chris and Anne form a strong team covering all aspects of the stringed keyboard instrument world. They both left other fields to pursue music and keyboard instruments. Their time is now split between beautiful historic Savannah, Georgia, and bucolic Montrose, Pennsylvania.
Anne started out as a pianist at age three, but was sidetracked in college into a life as a mathematician and theoretical computer scientist. Chris was an engineer and businessman. The draw of keyboard instruments was too strong for both. Anne and Chris met at a conference on antique instruments.
As a professional keyboard artist, builder, restorer, teacher and historian, Anne offers a wealth of practical knowledge to her clients. She performs on clavichord, harpsichord, fortepiano, modern piano, portative organ, reed organ, and well, anything with keys! Her need to bring out the best in each instrument both in sound and playability has earned her a devoted following among universities, musical institutions, orchestras and private individuals. Instruments are sent to her for work from all over the U.S. and around the world. Anne has a waiting list of clients for service, repair and evaluation of their keyboard instruments. Services involving harpsichords, clavichords, and pianos dating before 1850 are handled through Anne's separate business: Anne Acker Early Keyboards.
Chris is an engineer and businessman who traded in his tie for a more rewarding career in pursuit of his love of music, and especially restoring and studying about historic pianos. He has a knack for making contacts, finding pianos, moving pianos under apparently impossible circumstances, and helping Anne think out structural and physics issues, all the while treating our clients like the treasures they are. In addition to the skills noted above, both have been woodworkers since young ages, an invaluable skill for restoring these beautiful creations. Chris has a memory like the proverbial elephant about arcane companies, patent dates and the like. With all the classical music references in this website, it's important to note that Chris is a huge fan of Thelonius Monk!
Here is Chris's story in his own words. Enjoy!
"Hi. My name is Chris Acker, owner of PianoGrands. I used to be in the cholesterol business. It was really boring. Happily, I love pianos and what I do now.
A few years ago, I purchased a grand piano for my empty living room. I found it on the internet - a rare Friedrich Ehrbar built in Vienna in 1874. I decided to help restore it and worked weekends with an experienced craftsman who had years of experience. After several months, we were nearly finished.
Then I received a call from a friend. "Chris, was your piano in Sunbury?" "Yes." "Well, turn on the news, the smoke can be seen for forty miles!" Apparently, roofers set the restoration shop on fire, immolating Friedrich and reducing it to elemental carbon.
After the shock, dismay and ensuing heartache, I called my insurance agent and filed a claim, having fortunately insured Friedrich just the month before. The company came through, and with the proceeds, I quit cholesterol forever and started PianoGrands.
I learned several lessons. 1) Always insure your piano. 2) Every cloud has a silver lining, but make sure it's insured. 3) Pursue what you love, and insure it if possible.
I look forward to working with my customers, anticipating their needs, and providing them with the very finest pianos at attractive prices."