Billy Joel receives Steinway Hall portrait honour
- 13 December 2011
- From the section Entertainment & Arts
US singer-songwriter Billy Joel has become the only non-classical performer to be honoured with a portrait at the prestigious Steinway Hall in New York.
Joel is only one of two living artists to feature in the Hall's portrait collection and will hang next to famed Russian pianist Vladimir Horowitz, one of the singer's idols.
"I don't know how crazy he'd be about having me that close to him," he said.
The gallery is home to the piano makers, Steinway & Sons
Joel said the closest he had been to Horowitz, who died in 1989 aged 86, was when he "ran into him once on the street, on Madison Avenue, back in the '70s."
He added: "I had long hair and a black leather jacket and I said: 'Maestro!' and he thought I was gonna mug him. He kind of ran away."
The Paul Wyse painting will hang among other musical greats such as Franz Liszt, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Arthur Rubinstein.
Joel said he was honoured to be recognised by the instrument company.
"They make pianos the old-fashioned way. They're not mass-produced. They're hand-crafted.
"When you find a great Steinway, it's a phenomenal piano. There's a quirkiness in individually produced pianos that I appreciate, sort of like handmade guitars."