Meet the Makers: Crystal Grand Piano Designer Peter Tol
In this Meet the Makers blog series, we will feature an artist that creates attention-grabbing handmade art pieces. Drawing inspiration from different artists around the world, we travel beyond the work by diving into the minds of the creative makers themselves.
Today, we feature our interview with Peter Tol, the creative maker of crystal grand pianos. Peter owns and operates The Crystal Music Company in the Netherlands, which make acrylic custom pianos with clean sound and illumination. Not only does he create these pianos, but he is also a Professional Conductor who orchestrates with several ensembles in Holland and Germany.
GPI Design: What (3) words best describe your work?
Peter Tol: Creativity – Craftsmanship – Unique Creations.
GPI: What compels you to create with this particular medium?
Tol: The Acrylic material is very beautiful and modern. We can keep it completely clean or put personal and other items, like feathers into it as a custom design. The characteristics of the sound of my Grand Pianos are more than marvelous. The dynamics of sound are much better than wood. Wood absorbs sound and will change the sound. This is the sound we all know, but to me it’s a sound out of a wooden box, not clear and dynamic enough like acrylic.
GPI: What is your biggest constraint in the creative process?
Tol: In 1990 my daughter Cécile was born. She came 3 months to early, has major brain damage, autistic and nearly blind, but soon she proved to be very musical. When she was 2 or 3 years old she was still not able to do something normal like to sit by herself. Always when there was music on the radio, she sang along to everything, even to songs without words – pure sounds. This was very unusual and exciting for me. One time I put her on a chair near me behind the piano and fasten her so she could not fall down on the floor. With her fingers in my hand I taught her how to play the piano. Soon after this we played piano pieces written for 4 hands. I first played her part one or two times by myself and she listened, then she played this part by herself without looking at the keys and without faults. This was the only really thing she was able to do but it was marvelous and emotional! When she was 5 years old, in 1995 I brought her to an institution to live there with a group of children with similar problems. Now she is 25 years old and she is still living there.
After all these experiences, my energy and thoughts of the past came together in my soul, body and mind. I started to build a complete transparent Grand Piano and gave this instrument the name: Cécile. This instrument symbolized for me: “Glasses” for my daughter Cécile to her world of music. In 1996 the first fully transparent Crystal Grand Piano on earth named Cécile was born!
GPI: What would your 5 year old former self say about your work now? And what do you hope your future 90 year old self will say about your current work?
Tol: When I was a young boy (I think 12 years old), I walked through Amsterdam with my mother and saw in the window of a famous piano store a semi acrylic Grand Piano of the brand: Schimmel. With my nose pushing against the window I thought: “Whoa!! when I am an adult I will have such a Grand Piano in my house”. My 90 year old self would say, “I am proud and happy I have done it. When I leave this planet, I left something unique behind me.”
GPI: What other maker would you most like to collaborate with?
Tol: None, but if I were to meet the person who created that grand piano I saw in the window when I was 12, I would have many questions for him.
GPI: What do you think the future of creation/creativity holds (for you, and the artistic world as a whole)?
Tol: For my grand pianos, lighting is a new possibility for the future. I think in the near future composers will write their piano music with an extra dimension as light colors. The public can hear and see something new together, so this combination will be a more complete experience. As for me, the future is everything I find on my way to success becomes a knowledgeable experience.
GPI: What does your work space look like right now? Send us a selfie of you in your creative arena!
Many thanks to Peter Tol for sharing his creative inspiration. Stay tuned to our next Meet the Makers interview coming up in two weeks! Each interview will publish every other Tuesday for the remainder of the year. We hope you enjoy reading about each maker – as it has us truly inspired and solidifies the passion of being a maker.
View this maker’s work: Crystal Piano