Bösendorfer is in a unique position amongst all the piano manufacturers in the world. No one else can claim Bösendorfer’s central position in European culture. Vienna was the major centre of Europe for more than 500 years. This is the reason for such fantastic architecture in Vienna, representing the Gothic style, the Romantic style, the Baroque and Rococo style. But most important; many famous musicians and composers – such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Liszt, Strauss, and Schönberg, to name just a few of them – have lived and worked in Vienna.
Ignaz Bösendorfer, the son of Viennese master carpenter Jakob Bösendorfer and his wife Martha, was born in 1794. At 19, the young Bösendorfer commenced his apprenticeship with a Viennese organ and piano builder. A good master had found a brilliant student. Vienna, 1828: Franz Schubert was buried next to Beethoven a year after the latter’s death. On 25th July of that year Ignaz Bösendorfer received his business license to start his own piano manufacturing company. He took over his master’s factory and began building his own instruments.
At that time the young Franz Liszt, with his virtuoso playing technique, wrecked nearly every piano made available to him. Upon the advice of several friends, he tried this with a Bösendorfer grand – which held up to his playing! At a single stroke, the “Bösendorfer” became famous as a concert grand. In 1839 , the Emperor of Austria named Ignaz Bösendorfer “Imperial and
Royal Piano Purveyor to the Court” – the first piano maker to be granted this honour. Numerous gold medals and first prizes followed. The increasing demand for his pianos led him to consider building a new factory. Unfortunately he did not live to see this project realised; he died in 1859. His son Ludwig, born in 1835, took over the company.
Ludwig, a highly gifted musician with an exceptionally good ear, improved the instruments so that the Bösendorfer name became inextricably linked to the terms “music” and “inspiring sound“ – “Der Klang, der berührt”. His insistence on uncompromising quality continues to be adhered to today by all of Bösendorfer’s employees.
Bösendorfer is closely connected to musical culture: for over 40 years, up to just before the First World War, Bösendorfer Hall was the most frequented concert hall for chamber music in Vienna, due to its outstanding acoustics. Over 4500 concerts took place, by such luminaries as Anton Rubinstein, Franz Liszt, Eugen d’Albert, Johannes Brahms, Ernst von Dohnány, Max Reger, Arthur Rubinstein, Béla Bartók, Edvard Grieg, Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. At the end of the 19th century, Bösendorfer pianos were built for the Imperial court, for Empress Elisabeth, Empress Eugenie of France, the Emperor of Japan, the Czars of Russia and other prominent personalities. Today, Bösendorfer Hall in Mozarthaus, Vienna is a popular performance venue for solo and chamber music concerts. In our showrooms in Vienna, you can play an exquisite selection of our unique instruments. Since 1913, these pianos have been housed in one of the world’s most important musical centres: Vienna’s Musikverein, a popular meeting place for artists from all over the world.
Our aim is to inspire pianists, music educational institutions, concert halls and music lovers the world over with our legendary sound. Here is a list – an incomplete one, of course – of some of the most prominent artists who play or have played Bösendorfer pianos, as well as personalities who own or have owned a Bösendorfer instrument:
Emperor Franz Joseph I
Herbert von Karajan
Piano Duo Kutrowatz
Anne Sophie Mutter
|Napoleon III (Eugenie)