Years ago, my old Steinway Model D grand at in my house in Los Angeles was sort of falling apart - after all it was built in 1897! And I was thinking about getting it rebuilt, which was going to be at least a two-year process. So I thought I'd see about getting a new concert grand. I called Irene Wlodarski, who's always been such a wonderful mother hen to me ever since I've been a Steinway Artist, and I said "If you hear of any C&A piano that are going into retirement, keep me in mind."
Irene called me right away and told me that there was a D going into retirement and I should come out to New York and see it. It was the house piano at the 92nd St Y for many years, so in fact I'd probably performed on it a couple of times. And then the last thing it did before it went into retirement was to go on tour with Billy Joel. So, I went down to try the piano in the basement and I said to myself "Well, after this no other piano will compare to this one." So I just bought it on the spot. I didn't even try any other pianos that day. And it's the best piano I know of in the world. It made the move to my house in Hollywood, and it arrived with one dead cockroach in it - I guess that cockroach was trying to hitch a ride out to Mexico! So that was my piano in LA for many years.
When I moved to Cleveland and rented out my Hollywood house, I decided I didn't want any disreputable types having access to my piano. So when my friend Danny Elfman was outfitting his studio in Los Feliz, I said "Why don't you take my D and look after it for me, and that way if I miss my piano, I'll just go to the multiplex and then I'll be able to hear it!" So he took it to the studio, and sure enough, one of Danny's major projects was contributing the music to the Cirque de Soleil's show, Iris. And at the Academy Awards, two or three years ago, they did a five minute live version of the show, and there was my piano in the soundtrack! I recognized it the moment I heard it.