Bosendorfer grand piano

Guide To The Bösendorfer Piano Brand

house David Chang Jun 29, 2023

Few piano brands hold the prestige and heritage of Bösendorfer. Founded in 1828 in Vienna, Austria, by Ignaz Bösendorfer, this luxurious brand has been enchanting musicians with its distinct sound and exceptional quality for nearly two centuries. Let's delve into the resonant legacy of Bösendorfer, from its rich history to its meticulous manufacturing process, distinguished sound, and exceptional resale value.

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The History of the Bösendorfer Brand of Pianos

The Bösendorfer story began when Ignaz Bösendorfer took over his father's instrument making business. His exceptional craftsmanship quickly attracted attention, and he won awards for his pianos by 1830. Bösendorfer's reputation for producing high-quality instruments grew rapidly, eventually earning the prestigious title of 'Official Piano Maker' to the Emperor of Austria in 1839.

Many pianists are unaware of the fact that Bösendorfer is fully owned by Yamaha. The sale occurred in 2008, but the quality of the pianos has not changed in any way. Bösendorfer was operating at a loss at the time of the sale, and Yamaha’s global network and business acumen helped turn the luxury piano maker around. Bösendorfer operates independently in Austria.

What Pianists Has Bösendorfer Sponsored?

Over the years, Bösendorfer has been favored by many renowned pianists. Franz Liszt, one of the most celebrated pianists of the 19th century, was an early advocate. He famously proclaimed that "Bösendorfer pianos are the only instruments on which the playing is capable of achieving the full realization of my works.” In the contemporary music scene, artists such as Tori Amos and Oscar Peterson have chosen Bösendorfer as their piano of choice, testifying to the brand's enduring appeal. Sir Andras Schiff and Stephen Hough are also affiliated with the brand.

The Bösendorfer Manufacturing Process

The manufacture of a Bösendorfer piano is an exercise in meticulous craftsmanship. Each piano is handmade, and the process can take up to a year. Bösendorfer uses high-quality, naturally aged European woods, ensuring the instrument's longevity and distinctive tonal qualities. The unique 'Resonance Case Principle,' wherein the whole instrument – not just the soundboard – resonates to create a more vibrant, rich tone, sets Bösendorfer pianos apart. Each instrument undergoes rigorous testing and refinement before it's deemed ready for the concert stage, reflecting the brand's unwavering commitment to quality.

Trademark Sound and Feel

Bösendorfer pianos are known for their warm, rich, and colorful sound, often described as more 'orchestral' compared to other brands. This tonal signature is due in part to their longer keys, providing more leverage and a more responsive touch, and the use of more spruce in the piano's construction, contributing to its distinct resonance.

Moreover, many Bösendorfer pianos have additional keys – for instance, the Imperial Grand has 97 keys instead of the standard 88, extending the bass range. This extended range offers a greater palette of sounds for musicians and adds a unique sonic depth that further defines the Bösendorfer sound.

Resale Value of a Bösendorfer

When it comes to resale value, Bösendorfer stands out amongst the rest. Its pianos are known to retain, and often increase, their value over time. The brand's commitment to quality, coupled with its historical prestige, contributes to this strong resale value. Furthermore, older Bösendorfer pianos are often sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, further driving up their worth.

The rarity of these instruments also plays a role – with a limited number produced each year, demand often outstrips supply, ensuring that a Bösendorfer piano is a worthy investment. A well-maintained Bösendorfer can often sell for close to its original purchase price, even decades after its creation, making it not just a musical instrument, but a family heirloom.

Bösendorfer - One of the Preeminent Piano Brands

Bösendorfer's rich history, unrivaled craftsmanship, and distinct sound profile create more than just a piano; they create a legacy. The brand's dedication to quality has ensured that Bösendorfer pianos remain a desirable asset, providing musicians with an instrument that delivers impeccable performance and a sound investment that stands the test of time. Bösendorfer, with its commitment to the art of piano making, continues to strike the right chord with musicians and collectors worldwide.