"I first learned about Christopher Ris whenI was looking to see if there was an older Steinway that would be suitable for the family of my young student. I was told he had almost finished working on an older Steinway A so I went up to see it.
I immediately was impressed by the beautiful sound (sweet, mellow, long lasting) as I started playing something relatively quiet. As I continued to play
and try bigger pieces it also had plenty
of power. I was also impressed by the action and the touch. So many times, piano technicians do not understand what to do to make the touch correct
and ruin pianos when they work on them.
The action was even from note to note and had exactly the right amount of resistance. It was a very easy piano to bring out nuances and interpretation in the music.
I also tried a slightly smaller Steinway he was just finishing and it was equally well done. In my fifty plus years of teaching piano and performing exper-ience, it is very rare to find someone as committed to excellence in piano rebuilding as Christopher and I would recommend that you try his pianos and see for yourself."
"We are so impressed with the restoration work you did on the Bosendorfer we purchased from you. We spoke with a number of technicians (who knew the piano from the KPFA radio station) who had said that the piano could not be restored. But after playing many American and German Steinways, Mason and Hamlins, Bechsteins, Grotrians, Shiedmeyers, the Yamaha S200 and several new Bosendorfers, we preferred your piano.
While others offering new and used pianos generally spoke of the changes that could be made with voicing and action adjustment, you were the only one who on the spot made voicing changes to help us hear some of these variations. We also appreciate your patience and how much you taught us about the piano in the time we spent with you."
Joan McMillan, pianist, Palo Alto, CA
"After much agonizing, I decided to get rid of my fine grand piano and buy a Steinway. My piano tuner told me to look on Craigslist. That's what I did. I found a model M being sold by Christopher Ris in San Rafael for a very reasonable price.
I expected the piano to be a disaster (given the low price), and Mr. Ris to be a salesman, because that's what you typically find when you go to look for a piano, whether old or new. (If you think car salesman are bad, try looking for a new grand piano.)
I showed up at Ris's piano studio early and he had not arrived. He gave me access to the studio to play the piano without his being there, which was very nice and sort of unusual. I took one look around the place and concluded that this was a man who loves and knows his pianos on a level that is reached by few human beings. The place is filled with pianos in more or less state of rebuildingI played the M for sale for about thirty seconds before deciding to buy it. Note, please, that this is the second most expensive thing I've ever purchased in my 45 years, after my overpriced and crumbling house in Oakland. The piano, unlike the house, had been restored to near perfection, and Chris, much to his credit, was quick to point out the imperfections
I had my own technician look at the piano and she quickly agreed: the restoration work was phenomenal. I didn't bother haggling over the money because the asking price was very reasonable and it was clear Chris had put a ridiculous number of hours into restoring the 1927 Steinway M to its original glory. A final word: like all great instruments nearing their 100th birthdays, my piano has had a couple of very minor hiccups since its arrival. When my technician couldn't figure out the problem, Chris came out to my house in Oakland, had a glass of tea, fixed the problems, and charged me nothing.??I'd hire him as a technician in a heartbeat. I'd recommend him as a tech in a heartbeat. And I'd buy a piano from him in a heartbeat. If Yelp was scored on a scale of 1-100, I'd give Christopher Ris 100."
"I am a professional jazz pianist and during a recent move from Boston to San Francisco I was in need of purchasing a high quality, used piano. Christopher had a very nice selection of hand selected used pianos that were carefully worked over, tuned and conditioned. He has subsequently been very attentive in servicing and tuning my piano and I couldn't recommend him more highly. I've played some of the marvelous pianos he has rebuilt and I know that he operates with the highest level of care and attention that is required."