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Bösendorfer Pianos

The Bösendorfer piano company was founded in Vienna, Austria in 1828 by Ignaz Bösendorfer. The son of a Viennese master carpenter, Bösendorfer apprenticed with a Viennese organ and piano builder. He took over his master's factory in 1828 and began building his own pianos. The company gained fame when the young composer Franz Liszt, who had a reputation of wrecking pianos with his playing technique, played a concert on a Bösendorfer piano. The piano stood up to Liszt's playing, instantly making Bösendorfer famous for concert grand pianos.

Bösendorfer's son Ludwig continued to improve on the sound of Bösendorfer pianos, resulting in the company's slogan "der Klang, der beruhrt," or, the sound, the touches. Bösendorfer pianos continue to be world renowned for high-quality concert pianos and have won many awards. Famous musicians who have owned or played on Bösendorfer pianos include Gustav Mahler, Antonin Dvorzák, André Previn, Plácido Domingo, Bing Crosby, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and The Beatles.

Bösendorfer pianos are hand crafted with attention to the details of each individual instrument. Art and historical collectors are attracted to these pianos due to their high quality, attention to detail, and fine appearance. Prices reflect this high quality, with many Bösendorfer pianos selling for thousands of dollars.

Quick Facts

  • A Bösendorfer double-keyboard piano on permanent loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art has two sets of keys, one set mounted above the other, to allow the musician to play large intervals and intricate musical passages
  • The Bösendorfer company created a custom piano for Richard Kessler, owner of the Grand Bohemian hotels. The Grand Bohemian limited-edition piano retails for $420,000
  • The most expensive Bösendorfer piano in the world was made in collaboration with John Kuhn, a famous cold-glass sculptor. The piano is decorated with 100,000 hand-cut polished glasses and is currently valued at $1.2 million

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