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Bösendorfer saves the day

© Boesendorfer
8. October 2007

Legendary Austrian piano maker Bösendorfer has presented the Two Moors Festival with an £85,000 concert piano after their original piano fell off a removal lorry in April.

Fundraisers for the event had saved for two years to buy the £45,000 Bösendorfer piano at auction. But as the instrument, regarded as the ‘Rolls Royce of pianos’, was being offloaded it caught the side of the lorry and crashed over, falling 2.5m to the ground. After its initial fall, the piano bounced off a gravel drive, and plunged over a bank before landing on some gravel steps.

Now Bösendorfer has come to the rescue and donated an £85,000 Imperial concert grand piano for the festival, which starts on 12 October. Bösendorfer has never given a piano of this value to any individual or organisation before.

The piano was driven all the way from Austria by Bösendorfer staff. Festival organiser Penny Adie, 53, said: “They did a dummy delivery run, and very calmly and efficiently moved the piano without a hitch. This is the most elite piano in the world. It is such an immaculate instrument I cannot believe it is there.” 

The Two Moors Festival was set up in 2001 to bring tourists back to Dartmoor and Exmoor after the foot-and-mouth crisis. It has expanded to include an education programme, Youth Choir, Young Musicians competition and an opera premiere.

Bösendorfer makes only around 450 pianos a year. Each piano is painstakingly crafted by hand, and is the product over one year’s work. Famous owners have included José Carreras, Leonard Bernstein, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, and a Tsar of Russia.

About Bösendorfer

Ignaz Bösendorfer, born in 1794, set up as a piano maker in 1828. At that time, Franz Liszt was shattering almost every piano at his disposal with his vigorous technique. Friends suggested he try a Bösendorfer which withstood his powerful playing. The Bösendorfer concert grand subsequently shot to fame.

The company was taken over by Ignaz’s son Ludwig Bösendorfer in 1859. Ludwig, a highly talented musician with an exceptionally good ear, made such improvements to the instruments that the name Bösendorfer became synonymous with a breathtakingly rich and beautiful sound.

Today around 450 instruments are built every year at Bösendorfer’s factory in Wiener Neustadt, south of Vienna. Ninety per cent of the world-famous instruments are destined for the export market.