Fred Yonley – Piano Tuner
1968 Bachelor of Music Degree from Oberlin College. Good background for piano technology. Played violin and viola. Somehow got a Naumberg scholarship to Julliard during 1965-66 school year. Passed everything and still get a monthly Journal from them. Decided I couldn’t overcome certain physical issues dealing with hand flexibility and so went back to Oberlin to finish a Degree in music education.
After College studied and got a diploma from a computer school in KC which has proved useful.
Got a job in a computer services company in Dallas but that didn’t seem to be the right direction. Decided to work at a local music company and found interest in the piano service side of their business. Also got some good business experience in their Band Dept. They had a very good blind tuner that came in every day to tune the warehouse pianos. I watched and listened to him and got some good tips. The piano shop had some interesting people working there. Most Everyone seemed to have been influenced by Mr. Perry who worked there previously. I believe that he worked at Steinway in New York at one time.
I joined the Piano Technicians Guild in 1974 after passing the required exams to be a Registered Craftsman (This classification is now called Registered Piano Technician). Attending Regional Seminars and National Conventions is a very good way to attain knowledge about piano technology. I have also attended day long and/or multi-day classes provided by Steinway, Baldwin, Yamaha and others. I also focused on servicing Steinway Pianos which helped since I later serviced them at Booker T. Washington HS in teaching studios and for performances. They have some unique features that separate them from all the others. Working with Teflon bushings in the 70s and early 80s was not my favorite activity however. They finally went back to felt bushings.
I have attended many Steinway classes on voicing, regulation, and damper action work. I enjoy working on Yamaha Pianos and dealing with their technical staff.
I started my own company in 1974 and tuned for schools, churches, hotels and a few music companies and of course individuals. I tuned for many schools in the Richardson I.S.D. from 1978 to 2000. I tuned for the Dallas I.S.D. starting in 1985 but not much recently. I serviced the pianos at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts from 1995 to 2012. I serviced the pianos at East Texas State University from 1975 to 1980 on a part time basis since they couldn’t afford a full tie technician. Worked from home after leaving ETSU. I will provide references on request.
Have performed service work for Yamaha, Baldwin, Steinway, Bosendorfer, Fazioli, Kawaii, and various others. I am a Damp Chase installer.
- Concertmaster of ETSU Orchestra 1978 to1980
- Played violin and viola in the Richardson Symphony 1984-86
- Concertmaster of the Mesquite Symphony Orchestra during their first year 1987-88 and and various other seasons.
- Principal violist, principal second violinist and a section player as needed in MSO.
- Played first violin in the Dallas Opera Orchestra for 2 seasons less one concert 1989-91
- I have played in string quartets and performed for weddings and other events on viola.
- Most recently I have been enjoying singing in church choirs for 17 years.
- Aug. 1962 played first violin with the Interlochen Orchestra at the White House. President Kennedy gave an inspirational talk.