John Cavanaugh

  • Executive Director of Keyboard Technology
  • Director of Artist Diploma in Piano Technology program

Areas of Study


  • BA, History, Kalamazoo College
  • Journeyman’s Certificate, North Bennet Street School, Boston
  • Diploma, Advanced Piano Technology, North Bennet Street School
  • Further study, Steinway and Sons, New York Factory


John Cavanaugh, RPT, is the director of the Artist Diploma in Piano Technology program and executive director of keyboard technology. Cavanaugh has had a strong connection with Steinway and Sons since his graduation from the North Bennett Street School in 1987. Immediately upon graduation, Cavanaugh worked for Steinway dealerships in Boston and Detroit. In  2001, he joined Oberlin’s piano technology department, where he became department head two years later.  

In 2003, he and John Patton of Steinway & Sons, created Steinway at Oberlin, a summer program of classes for the Steinway Academy. The conservatory remains the only offsite factory training facility for Steinway and Sons. Cavanaugh continues to direct this program with Kent Webb of Steinway.

Cavanaugh works on the concert stage preparing pianos for artists worldwide. He also has taught piano technology classes for students at the conservatory and has led special courses overseas, most notably in South Africa and China. Cavanaugh works as a concert technician every summer at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he also teaches piano technology to apprentice staff. He is a concert technician for the Steinway-sponsored Cleveland International Piano Competition.

Cavanaugh received training from the C.F. Theodore Steinway Technical Academy in both the New York and Hamburg factories. His training in the New York factory included work in the classroom and in the forefinishing, damper, and voicing departments. At the Hamburg plant, he received special training in action and voicing service.

Spring 2023

Prin Pvt Piano Tech — PVST 045
Performance Ensembles (Artist Diploma) — APST 600
Performance Project (Artist Diploma) — APST 601

Fall 2023

Prin Pvt Piano Tech — PVST 045
Performance Ensembles (Artist Diploma) — APST 600
Performance Project (Artist Diploma) — APST 601


Home Township Hero

June 21, 2021

Tshepiso Ledwaba ’20 brought the talent to become a world-class piano tech. Oberlin gave him the training.