Piano Alumnus Matthew Bachman Turns Businessman
By Kelsey Eustace
Matthew Bachman ’05, ’07, ’14 didn’t begin studying music with a career in business in mind. He originally planned to go into academia. After receiving a dual undergraduate degree in piano and horn, Bachman continued at the University of Maryland for both his M.M. and D.M.A. in piano.
Through a graduate assistantship in piano technology, a different career path began to emerge. Because the School of Music (SOM) is an “All Steinway School,” Bachman was able to tune and work on the famous pianos. That knowledge and training ultimately led to his current role as a sales manager for Steinway & Sons in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
“I am privileged to represent one of the oldest and most storied organizations in the country,” Bachman said. “Most people don’t realize that Steinway was incorporated in 1853; it survived the Civil War, two world wars and every recession our nation has had. That shows the excellence of the piano.”
Growing up, Bachman always dreamed of owning a Steinway piano. Studying at Maryland meant he could play on a Steinway all of the time, even in practice rooms. He took lessons with Professor Emeritus Cleveland Page and Lecturer Mikhail Volchok, who are both accomplished pianists. Bachman said they were instrumental in introducing him to the right people and providing opportunities for him to develop as a musician and entrepreneur.
“Both were amazing teachers who came from the Russian piano tradition,” he said. “Page was not only a teacher but also a mentor and second father to me. A short lesson was a two hour lesson. Some lessons were four to six hours.”
As a student, Bachman took advantage of the university’s prime location in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., metropolitan area by studying with principal players of both the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra. When conducting research for his recorded dissertation (SoundCloud link below), he accessed original manuscripts at the Library of Congress in addition to the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library’s International Piano Archives at Maryland.
Bachman continues to utilize the networks he made while at Maryland. One of his current projects is coordinating free masterclasses at the Steinway & Sons piano gallery in North Bethesda in collaboration with the SOM.
“The D.C. area is full of talented young pianists and these masterclasses at Steinway are an opportunity for them to learn from UMD’s world-class piano faculty on the world’s finest pianos,” Bachman said.
Working on the business side of the piano world, Bachman enjoys meeting and working with people from all walks of life who share a passion for piano music.
Photo: Bachman helps faculty from a local school select a Steinway D concert grand.
“Steinway is treasured by performers, educators, lawyers, doctors, CEOs and everybody in between,” said Bachman. “My job is to help match each person or organization with exactly the right piano. As a pianist and educator by training, I find that a remarkably satisfying business.”
He also continues to utilize the performance skills that he learned at the SOM. An active teacher and performer, he is the director of music at Chestnut Grove Presbyterian Church in Baltimore County and the pianist for Trio Simpatico, a unique chamber group of all Maryland alumni that specializes in rarely heard compositions.
“When you are at the keyboard and feel truly connected to what you are playing, you have the chance to communicate on a level that transcends words,” he said. “I consider myself very fortunate that every day, in every facet of my career, I have the opportunity to share that experience with others.”