Utah native finds right key at local Steinway Gallery

Along with an impressive array of classical and contemporary compositions – featuring music from Bach to the 5 Browns – the Steinway Piano Gallery in Spokane Valley is home to a rambling rendition of the University of Utah fight song, courtesy of proprietor Kevin Rindlisbacher.

Originally from Riverton, Utah, Kevin Rindlisbacher moved with his wife and five children to the Spokane area in 2005. After two years in the Spokane Valley Mall, Kevin relocated the Steinway Piano Gallery to a site off Interstate 90 and the Evergreen exit in 2008. Photo by Craig Howard.

That’s not to say that the Riverton, Utah native does not welcome customers from his alma mater’s most significant rival, although if the store colors were ever to change, red would likely win out over blue.

“A lot of my friends here in Spokane went to BYU,” he said.

Rindlisbacher was an undergraduate student on the Salt Lake campus considering a future in law when his father opened the Riverton Music Store in a space at the family home once utilized as a chicken coup. Over the years, the venture expanded to three locations in Utah. When Kevin returned from his mission to Kentucky and graduated from Utah, he went to work full-time at the store.

The 7,300-square-foot Steinway store includes an 80-seat recital gallery and historically significant pianos like this replica of an 1876 model known as the Steinway Centennial Grand Piano. Photo by Craig Howard.

Music ran like a colorful thread through the Rindlisbacher household. Kevin’s grandfather was one of the founders of the Granite Youth Symphony. His father was the band director at Kearns High School and led a troupe that served as the official band of the Utah Stars – the pro basketball predecessor to the Utah Jazz that competed in the now defunct American Basketball Association. As a teenager, Kevin would join the group in the national anthem before each Stars’ game at the old Salt Palace.

“There was always music in our house,” Kevin said.

Rindlisbacher first learned the trumpet, then moved on to the piano during his youth. By 15, he was gravitating toward sports like tennis and basketball. Music remained a part of his life, but began to drop slightly on the priority list.

These days, Rindlisbacher is adept both on the keyboard and the tennis court. When Kevin and his family relocated to the Spokane area in May 2005, he was called to be the choir accompanist in the Liberty Lake Ward of the Spokane Valley Stake.

“There’s a strong LDS piano community here,” Rindlisbacher said.

After two years at the Spokane Valley Mall, the Steinway Piano Gallery moved to a site off Interstate 90 and the Evergreen Road exit. Kevin said the shift was a step up in visibility.

“We see this as a destination store,” he said.

The 7,300-square-foot space opened in 2008 and features an 80-seat acoustically engineered recital hall. Artists like Archie Chen and Anderson and Roe who have played shows at the Bing Crosby Theatre and INB Performing Arts Center make a visit to the local Steinway Gallery part of their itinerary while in Spokane. Some musicians even play complimentary concerts at the store. Two years ago, over 200 people filed in to hear the 5 Browns play on a quintet of Steinway grand pianos.

The Spokane Valley store is only one of 61 authorized Steinway dealerships in North America. Photo by Craig Howard.

“The recital hall is a very important part of the store to us,” Kevin said. “The acoustics alone are just phenomenal.”

One of only 61 Steinway dealerships in North America, the Spokane Valley site also serves as an ad-hoc keyboard museum. Two summers ago, it hosted a display of vintage pianos as part of the Steinway Legendary Tour. Current visitors will find a reproduction of an instrument known as the Steinway Centennial Grand Piano. A mere 115 were created in honor of the 1876 version commissioned by the company’s founder William Steinway.

Piano prices range from $2,000 all the way up to $65,000. In addition to Steinway, the store also carries brands like Kawai and Boston.

“There’s an art that goes into building a piano,” Kevin said.

Rindlisbacher continues to support local musicians by loaning pianos to events like MusicFest Northwest and renting the recital hall for a bargain price of $50. His efforts were acknowledged by Henry Z. Steinway with a letter from the company’s headquarters in New York citing the store’s “outstanding service to the music community.”

Kevin still travels back to Utah once a month to check on the Riverton Music Stores in his home state. As far as the transition to the Inland Northwest, Kevin said the change has been a harmonious one – even if he has to cheer for his Utes from a distance.

“It’s been a good move,” he said. “Spokane now feels like home.”

Want to find out more?

The Steinway Piano Gallery is located at 13418 E. Nora Ave. in Spokane Valley. For more information, call 509-327-4266 or visit www.steinwayspokane.com.

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