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Art Ferrante's 22 gold records hang over the living room of the Longboat Key Towers penthouse.
Longboat Key Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012 5 years ago

Key Towers penthouse was 'Shangri La' for famed pianist

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

From the study in his Longboat Key Towers penthouse, Art Ferrante practiced scales each morning. He always waited until 9:30 or 10 a.m., to be sure he wouldn’t wake his neighbors.

Ferrante went to his study when he needed to close the door and focus.

When he wanted a different sound, he went to the living room and played on his larger, heavier piano. Behind him was an expansive view of Sarasota Bay. And on the wall beside him hung 22 golden records accumulated during his career as half of the “movie theme team” Ferrante & Teicher.
Ferrante died Sept. 19, 2009 at age 88.

Nearly three years later, his widow, Jena Ferrante, recently decided to put their penthouse on the market, listed by Lynne Koy, of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, for $2,275,000.

Jena Ferrante was somewhat hesitant to list the unit. She didn’t want to attract gawkers who might only be interested in seeing the home of a famed pianist.

After the unit was listed last month, several real-estate blogs took note.

Her husband was a private person — albeit one who with his partner, Lou Teicher, sold more than 90 million albums, recorded hit themes for “Exodus,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Midnight Cowboy” and “The Apartment,” along with “Tonight” from “West Side Story,” and performed for audiences ranging from four U.S. presidents to the king and queen of Nepal.

In his later years, Ferrante led a quiet life, although occasionally a fellow shopper would recognize him at Publix.

They began staying in St. Petersburg when Ferrante would perform at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota. Then, they spent a year on Lido Key before buying a home in 1985 on Bird Key.

The Ferrantes owned other homes in New York and Shreveport, La., and wanted the ease of condo living, so they began looking at Longboat Key condominiums.

They looked at Promenade but settled on the Penthouse South of Longboat Key Towers — in part because its larger rooms and higher ceilings could accommodate Ferrante’s pianos and their extensive antique collections. Plus, it had views of the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s Islandside golf course and Sarasota Bay on the other.

Ferrante was still touring when he and Jena bought the three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,550-square-foot unit in 1986, paying $600,000, according to property records.

According to Jena Ferrante, the condominium was an escape during her husband’s last years of touring.
“After a heavy tour, it was a Shangri La,” she said. “We could come here because it was so quiet and relaxing. Sometimes we would be here a week before we’d let our friends know.”

Teicher retired in 1989 and later moved to nearby Siesta Key.

Ferrante then spent a year rearranging his music to go on tour as a solo performer before retiring three years later. He gave his final public performances in 1993, at fundraisers for Temple Beth Israel and Habitat for Humanity.

As for Jena Ferrante, she hasn’t decided what her plans are after the unit sells.

But looking back on the nearly 45 years she spent with her husband, she says she feels blessed.

“He,” she said, “was my rock.”

Home rundown
The Longboat Key Towers Penthouse South is listed by Lynne Koy, of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate’s Longboat Key office, for $2,275,000.

The 2,550-square-foot penthouse has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, granite fixtures and custom features, including an eastern terrace that the Ferrantes got permission, in 1988, to enclose and transform into a sunroom that overlooks the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s Islandside golf course and Sarasota Bay. The views on the western side of the unit look out over the Gulf of Mexico.

Longboat Key Towers was built in 1970, but underwent $12 million in renovations in 2008.

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