Bosendorfer pianos have been around for decades, sticking true to the saying of quality over quantity the entire company lifespan. They have gone through their strife with war, worker disputes, and competition and still stand to this day making exceptional pianos year to year.
Bosendorfer Piano History
Bosendorfer was founded in 1828, effectively making it one of the oldest piano manufacturers still standing today. The founder, Ignaz Bosendorfer handmade four different pianos that year. By 1835 however, he had managed to lift his production towards the 200s. During his lifetime, thanks to his amazing attention to detail, Ignaz was able to earn the title of ‘Imperial and Royal Piano Purveyor to the Court’ in Austria. He also won many medals and rewards through his years. Though in 1859, he was succeeded by his son Ludwig after his passing, turning a new leaf for the company.
Ludwig went on to invent a new action for their pianos in 1860 which led to a prestigious reward in 1862. By 1867, Bosendorfer pianos were growing in fame around Europe. Ludwig attended the Paris exhibition that year to display their pianos, and from there the piano company became popular all around the world. It began a great surge of exports for Bosendorfer from all over Europe to even Tokyo. However, though he loved arts and the company, Ludwig sold it all to his friend Carl Hutterstrasser in 1909 in order to live out his life.
However, in 1933, due to a decline in business and increase in worker protests, production dropped to a measly 52 pianos a year. Though they quickly recovered in 1936 with another success with the BBC, and they returned production up to 144 a year. During WWII, Carl Hutterstrasser passed and left the company to both of his sons who were far more versed in the creation process. After the war, times began to look up again for the brothers in charge as they began shipping all around the world.
Recently, Yamaha purchased Bosendorfer in 2008. Even though Yamaha technically owns the company, they strive to preserve the heritage of the Bosendorfer. It remains independent in manufacture with an Austrian company, and with Yamaha’s help, the company is able to sell more pianos and distribute them all around the world. They are now up to a count of 300 pianos a year of the finest quality money could buy.
One of the most well known pianos crafted by the Bosendorfer company was the Bosendorfer Concert Grand 290. It was requested by J.S. Bach himself to perform on. It had an amazing range of 8 entire octave which allowed for bass and a beautiful orchestral experience that was needed for Bach’s work. This beautiful design quickly became known at the Imperial though and was sold further to other buyers.
On a more recent path, created the astounding SE reproducing pianos. They were unique with the ability to record and playback any tune with special mechanisms built within. It quickly took the piano community by storm and became one of the only ‘computer controlled player piano’, especially when the PC first released. The SE was able to play back anything with such accuracy that it even played to the intensity of the musician. Only 30 of these were produced between 1984 and 1986, but it led to the creation of more recent playback keyboards many beginners play today.
Franz Liszt was one of the first well known artists to play on the Bosendorfer, claiming it was one of the few pianos that could withstand his boisterous playing. Another famous artist to play on Bosendorfer pianos was the american composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein. Among the list there was also Wilhelm Backhaus, Arthur Rubinstein, Oscar Peterson, Norman Granz, Victor Borge, Sviatoslav Richter, and many many more artists. To see more known artists to have played exclusively Bosendorfers, you can check out the page on their website.