Family Album

A thousand violins begin to play

What a breathtaking view the Bosendorfer 170 pomele enjoys. At home in a beautiful condominium in Bayonne, New Jersey, overlooking the Newark Bay.

Day by day heavily loaded vessels pass by and across the water where the busy harbour receives and dispatches goods worldwide. It is the home of Jim and Suzanne Doran, and it is their piano.

“This 170 is incredible”, says Jim. “Although it is the smallest of the Bosendorfer grands it has all the ingredients that distinguish the instruments from Vienna.” Jim loves the sound balance, the clear bass, the rich colours and the vibrations of the strings that he can feel in his fingers. “There is no other piano in the world this size that sounds as wonderful as our Bosendorfer.”

Music brings people together

Jim graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma. Music always played an important role in his life. At 17 he started to learn piano, a passion that he kept throughout his life “though I never became a professional”. At Oklahoma, along with his studies in business and economics he took a course in Music Theory. “For me music is an international language. It brings people together. It crosses socio-economic borders.”

Flying a mission in the C 130 Hercules transport plane.

Flying a mission in the C 130 Hercules transport plane.

When Jim graduated from Oklahoma in 1969 he joined the military becoming an U. S. Air Force pilot. He is now a retired sales executive with Kodak.

Beloved jazz idol Erroll Garner

In 1985 his deep love of jazz became written evidence. A friend had invited him, several years before, to continue and finish the documentation of the life and music of his beloved jazz idol Erroll Garner, one of the most distinctive of all jazz pianists. That year Jim published the bio-discography “Erroll Garner: The Most Happy Piano.” The book is sold out and jazz enthusiasts buy and sell the $25-book for up to $400 on eBay. “I am certainly not a professional writer, and although the book did well, when I received my first royalty check I knew I had to keep my day job."

The Newark Bay lies idle in the winter sun. This model 170 pomele isn’t the first Bosendorfer in the Doran family. Before they moved to Bayonne, Jim and Suzanne lived in Stony Point, New York. “Our home there was more spacious. At that time we owned two Bosendorfers, the Bosendorfer 225 in pyramid mahogany with four extra keys and the 170. But we had problems with the size of the elevator in the new home,” Jim relates.

Something that lasts longer

At that moment he remembered his wonderful college experience at the University of Oklahoma and made up his mind to donate the Bosendorfer 225 to their renowned music school. “I think it is important that we do thing that will outlast our life. Dr Jane Magrath, Professor of Music and the professors and students were thrilled since the Bosendorfer is not an instrument you generally see in many universities. It feels good to know that their extraordinary students and professors will be able to experience this very special piano and its heavenly sound for years to come.”

Jim Doran plays his beloved Bösendorfer 170.

Jim Doran plays his beloved Bösendorfer 170.

Our visit brought memories of student days and an eventful life to Jim. And before we leave he sits down at his beloved Bosendorfer 170 and his fingers start playing an intimate melody of this great, romantic composition of ... Misty… and a thousand violins begin to play …