Piano4te is the piano workshop of Jack Kehe. Born and raised in Illinois, Jack graduated from Concordia Univ., Ann Arbor in 1970. Jack pursued further academic work at the Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington where he studied organ and composition, and at the Univ. of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana where he studied piano and composition. Throughout this period he also traveled extensively. At the Deutsche's Museum in Munich, Germany, Jack first got a glimpse of what was to become his passion in life. There on an upper floor of the museum was a collection of antique keyboard instruments—organs, fortepianos, harpsichords, clavichords, virginals—all in working order. What made the experience so magical was the curator who would move from one instrument to the next playing an appropriate piece of music for that particular instrument.

"I wanted to be that man. I wanted to partake in all that history."

A step in that direction was made when shortly after moving back to Chicago in 1982, Jack apprenticed with a local piano restoration house for several years. It was in 1987 that Jack formally began his own business of free-lancing his restoration and rebuilding skills to Chicago area piano houses, tuners, music schools, antique music brokers and various piano restoration companies.

"It was an incredibly busy and intensely rewarding time as I learned much from working with so many different people, each with their unique ideas as to what constitutes piano restoration. Yet there was something missing, I was totally out of the feedback loop when it came to the end user. I had become that man in the museum but no one was there to listen."

For that reason, and with 30+ years of keyboard experience behind him, Jack Kehe opened up Piano4te, Inc. to the public in 2003, fulfilling a dream of what a piano shop could be.




It was several years after I had begun working on pianos that I discovered that my great-grandfather, Charles Taege, had also worked on pianos for the Mills Novelty Co. in Chicago, makers of the famed Violano Virtuoso. It was a huge epiphany for me because at the time I was using his workbench that had been handed down to me by my father. Today, I still share his bench, now some 125 years old.






















Charles Taege (seated) and crew in the workshop at Mills Novelty Co., Chicago, c. 1910