In September of 1907, Elwin L. Shaw was about to graduate from The New England Conservatory of Music Magna Cum Laude with a degree in music performance in June of 1908. Before receiving his degree, he began a multi-faceted career as a concert pianist, composer, church organist, piano tuner and technician. A descendant of Mayflower Pilgrim John Alden, Mr. Shaw’s roots stretched ten generations in the greater Boston area. It was there in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1907 that Elwin Shaw began his business, Shaw Piano. Hard work was a hallmark for Elwin Shaw, as he and his employees sold pianos, moved pianos, tuned pianos, repaired and restored pianos. After hours, he played in The Brocktonia Trio, chamber musicians of some repute in Boston at the turn of the century, and on Sundays he was organist at the First Congregational Church in Brockton.
Described as a consummate musician, Elwin Shaw devoted his entire life to fine music and the instruments that make it. Elwin’s son, Raymond Shaw, a professional pianist himself, apprenticed with his father. Ray Shaw eventually relocated Shaw Piano to better quarters in Plymouth, Massachusetts in the early 1950s.
Here he worked to perfect the art of piano restoration that he learned at his father’s knee. Like his predecessor, he too knew the value of hard work and the love for music, and pursued his musical performance career after long days in the piano shop. R. Thomas “Tom” Shaw began his apprenticeship under his father Raymond when he was fifteen years of age. After serving our country in a tour with the United States Air Force and attending college, Tom returned to his first love, pianos. A few years after the retirement of his father in 1978, Tom moved Shaw Piano to Charlottesville, Virginia and renamed it Charlottesville Piano Company. Here, Tom served as head technician and tuner at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and The University of Virginia in Charlottesville. With over 50 years experience restoring pianos, and the experienced tutelage of both his father and grandfather, Tom Shaw is one of the most experienced piano rebuilders in the country.
In November of 2020, Joshua Dove, a third-generation piano and organ dealer and owner of Whitesel Music and Whitesel Church Organ of Harrisonburg, Virginia, acquired Charlottesville Piano at the invitation of owner Tom Shaw. “Keeping my grandfather’s dream continue under the leadership of Josh Dove was the culmination of my life’s work,” remarked Tom. Shaw remains as the manager of piano restorations and repairs, and its chief technician.