The head of Blüthner pianos says that the number of pianos manufactured in Germany has declined significantly since the 1990s, according to the firm’s chief Christian Blüthner-Haessler. As Norman Lebrecht reports, the current number of pianos being made in Germany is around 11,000. If this number was 40,000 twenty years ago, it sounds like as much as a 75% decline over the last two decades.
I learned this weekend that the French pianomaker Pleyel, famed as the favorite piano of Chopin and many Impressionist composers, plans to close its doors at the end of this year, after about two centuries. In her story for NPR, Eleanor Beardsley reports:
Pleyel was founded in 1807 by Ignaz Pleyel, a composer and music publisher who studied with Franz Joseph Haydn.
The company became a leader in acoustic innovation, making instruments for music greats such as Frederic Chopin, who only played Pleyel pianos in France.
The instruments graced European royal residences and Paris salons. Like other piano makers, Pleyel was hurt by two world wars and the economic crisis that began in 1929. In the last 60 years, Pleyel changed ownership repeatedly; in the last four years, production plunged to about one piano a month.
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Canac blames Pleyel’s demise on the financiers who most recently bought the company. He says there wasn’t even a musician at the top anymore.