This is my story

Many of you have asked who I am and why I founded this pianist academy - so here we are.


Hi, I'm Jeff, creator of Jeff's Pianist Academy

My journey started way back in the late 1980's when my father introduced me to our square grand at our home in Vienna, Austria. 

While I never enjoyed formal education on playing piano I always had incredible teachers who were/are on-stage pianists, they're in business.

Manuel Escalante Aguilar

My first professional introduction to piano was through this genius with a fantastic sense of humor.

Born in Mérida, Mexico, he began his piano studies at age six. Later he entered the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria, finishing his diploma as pianist under the direction of pianist and pedagogue Carmen Graf Adnet, in 1993.

Manuel Escalante has participated in various training courses with teachers such as Reah Sadowsky, Hans Graf and Carmen Graf.

Winner of several prizes of important National and International Contests.

To read more about his bio, click here

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Manuel Escalante left Europe for studies and performances in Mexiko and later Spain so I was stranded and through a coincidence was introduced to:

Eduard Kutrowatz

Eduard Kutrowatz studied piano as well as percussion and worked intensively for many years with sound-body of a choir.

The focus of his pianistic activity has been playing on 2 pianos with his brother Johannes, as well as recitals with renowned singers of his generation.

Eduard Kutrowatz is teacher at the university of music and performing arts in Vienna as well as artistic director of the international Liszt Festival in Raiding (Burgenland, Austria).

More information:

 Photo: Julia Wesely

But that's not how this came to be

In fact - I lost my passion for piano through a looong detour, working in different industries until I finally found my way back.

Flying high - or - the grand detour

I graduated from high school and went on to study physics at the university of applied physics in Vienna, Austria.

At the time my girlfriend was stewardess at Austrian Airlines and my brother was flying Boeing 737 at Lufthansa. And so aside the surrounding influence and the basic wonder of flight every teen has - I decided to change my plans and become a pilot too.

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Working hard

After graduating with my airline transport pilot licence in hand I went on to work in the aviation industry - but not in the air. From a major airline chart manufacturer to an aircraft manufacturer, I spent over 12 years in the aviation industry. I always brought my digital piano with me. Which was really bad and I did not progress at all as digital pianos just turn me off.


Picture: The Hallet & Davis Square Grand I played on during my childhood.

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Back to my passion

I revived my passion when I decided to buy a second- (or probably fifth-) hand grand piano. The piano could not be tuned to the regular hz range anymore and the mechanic was still the original "Wiener Mechanik" which was state of the art back then but meanwhile is obsolete and has been replaced by better mechanics. I believe the piano was built in the 1850s or so. 

Nevertheless - the sound from a real piano juiced me up, my joy of playing piano sparkled anew and I was up and running again.

This is why you should really (my opinion) NEVER even start playing on any digital version of a piano. Just imagine a Tesla with speakers installed that play the sound of a ferrari. It simply doesn't feel right...

Another passion is born

Aside the piano another major passion of mine developed fairly well - photography and film. 

Initially this was one of my startup plans but later decided to focus solely on the pianist academy.

Below you can see some of my photography work, for more please visit

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The struggle of 9 to 5

While I truly enjoyed the life's lessons and expertise I won during my employment periods it was also quite a struggle to work all day in a very uncreative surroundings when your core is just the opposite. So at some point I just had to change where my life was heading. That's when a grand opportunity came along.

This opportunity was a 50% position in a completely different environment. This was an urban warfare simulation platform (yes, you read that correctly). As I had been working as a photographer partially already I seemed to fit their needs as a part time videographer.

Accepting this challenge asked for a huge amount of courage. For once I had open payments for my grand piano going on and on the other hand it was not only 50% income from my previous position - it was more realistically 40% of that.

I know you want to see more about this urban warfare simulation platform. Here's the only legally available video about it for you to see.

Deciding means renouncing

When deciding for something you automatically decide against something as well. In my case I was deciding for piano and against photography/film. For a multitude of reasons. One being I wanted to choose my type of customers. And as I was doing a lot of nude art photography my customers (for online video classes) would have been people mostly interested in nude pictures rather than the art of creating them. Whereas classical piano will bring educated people forward that are interested in higher arts and share the love for music.

Another reason being our passion for travelling. One of my dreams is to travel the world (almost) endlessly in an expedition vehicle. And quite frankly it wouldn't be a great idea to do nude art photography in certain countries and even worse to advertise it - so the better choice is the piano - which also now has a valid reason to be carried onboard the expedition vehicle - at least once the budget for such project is available. For now it isn't. If you wish to follow our travels - please visit -> unfortunately only available in German.

The rewards and challenges of building your own company

The journey so far has been quite thrilling. The process of creating a startup, building all necessary frameworks, learning from mistakes, re-doing things over and over again, improving, until you finally get on top is an absolutely worthwhile experience and drives me to get up every day. I do almost nothing else. 

I am glad you have found me here and even more so if you took the time to read the story of my life. Feel free to leave me  a message if you like. I'd be happy to hear from you. 

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Send me a message

let me know where you are in your life and what inspires you to learn piano now.