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Classical 101

Meet the All-Woman Staff of Florence's Fortepiano Workshop

Florence: home to some of the world's most magnificent artworks. Masterpieces in the Uffizi Gallery, the Bargello National Museum and countless other collections repose in immortal beauty next to the majestic dome-capped cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the happily overburdened Ponte Vecchio. Amid that artistic patrimony, today's artists and artisans carry on the great Florentine traditions of creating and preserving beauty in all its forms. At least, that's what the staff of Florence's Laboratorio di restauro del fortepiano (Pianoforte Workshop) do, as they bring historical keyboard instruments back into condition to be played. But while the great masters of the Renaissance were virtually all men - Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Leonardo - the piano restorers of the Laboratorio are all women working in a still largely male-dominated field. Read this report in the Wall Street Journal to learn about the Laboratorio staff's work diagnosing keyboard instruments in disrepair, devising restoration plans, tracking down esoteric parts and putting in the elbow grease to bring instruments back to playing order. Read more: Where the Craftsmen Are Women (WSJ)