This Day in Music – 1828: Ignaz Bösendorfer Granted Piano-making License

Advertisement / Publicité
Bösendorfer, This Day in Music, piano

Bösendorfer Imperial 290 Klavier

This day in music in 1828, Ignaz Bösendorfer was granted a piano-making license. Son of a carpenter, Ignaz Bösendorfer was an Austrian piano maker in the nineteenth century who founded the iconic Bösendorfer Company. Founded in the historically rich center of Vienna, Bösendorfer has an incomparable place in classical music and piano lore. The ornate and sophisticated aesthetic build combined with its innovative mechanical action make a piano that is still a status symbol.

Of Bösendorfer’s advocates and ambassadors, Franz Liszt and his rapturous displays of virtuosity stands at the fore. Before finding Bösendorfer, a young Liszt broke all of the pianos that were available. When the Bösendorfer didn’t break, Liszt went on to elevate the Bösendorfer brand to royal heights on his rockstar tours of Europe.

Now, owned by Yamaha, the pianos are hallmarks of craftsmanship in the multinational piano business. Though readily available in conservatory models, Bösendorfer stands out through its 290 Imperial model. One of the world’s largest models, the 290 spans 97 keys, eight full octaves, and 9”6’ at a price of $250,000. The added range, originally suggested by the Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni, is all in the bass. The added strings, seldom used unless specified, add a richness to an instrument that already boasts the most distinctive and refined of tones.

Since that July 25th when Ignaz first acquired a license to take over his master’s workshop and start his own line, Bösendorfers have been played by a wide cast of artists ranging from Stanislav Richter to ABBA.

Read Marc Chénard’s article on Bösendorfer from La Scena‘s October issue here.

Andras Schiff on the power of the Bösendorfer Piano


About Author

Editorial Assistant Weiyu Dang currently lives in Montreal because of his intense affection for the STM. While he attends McGill to pursue a double major in English and History, Young Wei purposefully lives far from school to capitalize on the metro commute potential. Musical interests include Bartok, Hard Bop, and YG. Weiyu worked for La Scena Musicale from July 4th to August 1st, 2016.

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.