Music has always been a big part of the Ruggero family. Ruggero Piano founder Robert Ruggero came to America from Italy in 1928. He had been well trained as violinist in his hometown of Torino, where he was considered a prodigy and was on track to have a promising career. When his parents decided to immigrate to America, Robert had to put his music on hold. When his parents returned to Italy, Robert decided to stay and settle in New York City where he worked at a restaurant to support himself. He worked his way up and was doing well, but music kept calling. Robert decided to learn the Accordion and was soon good enough to teach at the Wurlitzer Company in New York. After his time there, he started his own music school in Westchester County with many students, performances and success. Through all of this, Robert missed his days in Italy where the family had land and grew most of their own food.
In 1954, the city purchased the music school for a municipal project and Robert decided to move to Raleigh, NC with wife Heni and two children, John and Linda. After arriving in Raleigh, he took a job as an Accordion teacher with Stephenson Music Company, a full line store featuring Steinway, Everett and Knight pianos. As he worked in the store, he developed an interest in piano tuning and repair, and after studying with some of the local technicians, he started helping with piano service around the store. As a former violinist, he had a very fine ear, and was a natural at tuning. Soon, Robert was working for Stephenson as their full-time piano technician. At Stephenson, Robert took care of pianos on the floor, sold pianos, and tuned for incoming artists. In 1958, he ventured out on his own and founded Ruggero Piano Service. The business grew very quickly and Robert soon added restoration to his list of services. Wife Heni answered the phone with her cheerful voice and the business continued to grow.
In the meantime, oldest son, John Ruggero was excelling at piano, as was Sister Linda on the clarinet. They both continue their career as professional musicians and teachers today. In 1959, youngest son, Richard came along. There was always work to do in the piano shop and all three kids took turns helping. After graduating from high school, Richard decided to try piano tuning as a career and began training with his father. Richard immediately fell in love with the business and took over in 1981 when Robert’s health forced him to a dryer climate on the west coast. The first years were tough, but the business grew even more with the help of his wife Deborah and three sons who are all involved in the business today.
The home-based Ruggero Piano Service moved into its first building in 1995 and moved again when it started selling new pianos in the year 2000. The growth continued and more space was needed, so in 2002 the move was made to the present location on Hargrove Rd. Today, Ruggero Piano is home to some of the finest pianos being crafted. Our no pressure and educational approach to selection insures that each customer has the time and knowledge to make an informed decision. Our technicians tune for many churches, teachers, enthusiasts and professional musicians. Our shop offers everything from routine maintenance to full restoration specializing in vintage American pianos from Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin and Knabe. Our concert hall is a busy place hosting recitals, fundraisers, music teacher events, piano technician guild meetings and variety of other performances. With all that we offer today, our passion for the piano is still what drives our business, a passion we have the privilege of sharing with our many wonderful customers.