Pianist Hyperion Knight was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. He started piano lessons at age 4 and debuted professionally at 14 in San Rafael, California, playing Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, his Master of Arts Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and his doctorate at 22 from the same institution. Appropriate to this recording, his dissertation was on Beethoven's "Waldstein" piano sonata. In 1983 he was appointed principal pianist with the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra. For this recording a custom-built 9-foot concert grand piano was used. This unique instrument, built by Sheldon Smith in his Berkeley, Calif., workshop — where the recording also took place — has a powerful lower register, which provides a substantial left-hand foundation. The upper registers are somewhat less damped and more ringing than is typical of contemporary pianos. Schoeps omnidirectional condenser microphones, in a spaced pair, were used in conjunction with vaccum tube record amplifiers to capture a harmonically rich and accurate sound.