Established in Josefstadt, the eighth district of Vienna, in 1828 by Ignaz Bösendorfer, L. Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH – commonly referred to as Bosendorfer – is one of the oldest and most prestigious piano manufacturing firms in history. Its pianos were so fine that in 1830 they were vaulted to the status of the Official Piano Maker to the Emperor of Austria. From its headquarters in Vienna, Bosendorfer produced a range of the highest quality instruments, so good that one of the earliest grand pianos built by Bosendorfer, and signed by master craftsman and founder Ignaz Bösendorfer himself, is displayed at Millstatt Abbey in Millstatt am See, Austria, where it is still played regularly for concert goers. Truly this manufacturer of grand pianos is among the finest in the world, and despite changing ownership many times over the years Bosendorfer pianos of any vintage are highly prized and unparalleled musical instruments.
A History Of Excellence – Bosendorfer’s Imperial Calling
Renowned for their extremely rich and dark tones and exceptional quality handcrafting, Bosendorf pianos fetch a pretty penny when purchased new. Exemplary of the Vienna school of piano crafting they bring a unique, distinguished, and unmistakable sound, lauded by many composers and pianists. Virtuoso pianist and musical visionary Franz Liszt can take some credit for initially catapulting Bosendorfer to success for claiming that the manufacturer was the only brand that could stand up to his vigorous and powerful playing style, even preforming for Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria on a Bosendorfer.. Leonard Bernstein also lauded the manufacturer, importing and playing the pianos, as didi Wilhelm Backhaus. Jazz artist Nina Simone is reported to have requested Bosendorfer grand pianos at her concerts many times.
Many Hands, Continued Quality
Upon Ignaz’s death in 1858, the firm passed to his son, Ludwig, who guided Bosendorfer to great success, becoming even more renowned throughout Europe for their quality. In 1909, lacking an immediate heir of his own, Ludwig sold the firm to his close friend Carl Hutterstrasser, whose sons, Wolfgang and Alexander, took over the firm in 1931. In 1966 Bosendorfer was sold to Kimball International, who manufactured low to medium market pianos, and was the largest producer of keyboard instruments in the world. In 2002, Kimball sold Bosendorfer to an Austrian bank and investment group, who then sold to Yamaha in 2007. Respecting the quality and prestige of the brand, Yamaha has sworn to keep the distribution network fully separate from its own piano business and the manufacturing exactly as it was designed, enforcing no changes. The firm still produces some of the best quality pianos in the world, building under 500 pianos a year. Historically, the United States has been one of the more fervent consumers of the Bosendorfer brand.
The Bosendorfer Piano models are named after their lengths in centimeters and are as follows.
- 120CL – 48” – upright piano
- 130CL – 52” – upright piano
- 155 – 5’ 1” – baby grand piano
- 170 – 5’ 6” – medium grand piano
- 185 – 6’ 1” – parlor grand piano
- 200 – 6’ 7” -parlor grand piano
- 214 – 7’ – semi concert grand piano
- 225 – 7’ 4” – semi concert grand piano
- 280 – 9’ 2” – concert grand piano
- 290 – 9’ 6” – “Imperial” concert grand piano
Unique Bosendorfer Methodology
Bosendorfer can credit some unique manufacturing techniques for the unrivaled sound they produce. Whereas most manufacturers use bent veneers to form the rim of their pianos, Bosendorfer uses pieces of solid spruce and beech joined for an inner-rim frame, then uses expensive, straight grained quarter sawn planks of spruce, that have been notched and grooved in order to bend around this inner-rim for the outer-rim. Spruce is a resonant wood, transmitting sound as opposed to reflecting it. The effect is that the rim of the piano acts in accord with the soundboard to produce bass notes that favor the fundamental tones and a treble that is nuanced and delicate.
Also a credit to Bosendorfer are the so-called Imperial Grand Pianos which feature up to 97 keys instead fo the usual 88. They manufactured the first of these pianos as a custom piano for Ferruccio Busoni who ordered it to play organ pieces that he was transcribing to be able to be played on piano. The pianos success was immediately apparent and its popularity resulted in the model 290 in which the extra keys are a feature. The extra strings and bridge make for a sympathetic resonance that improves the overall voice and tone of the piano.
Used Bosendorfer Grand Pianos for sale – the How and Why of these Masterpieces
Bosendorfer grand pianos, when purchased new, cost between $100,000 and $250,000 for the lowest tier of each model.
The models with bells and whistles attached go for up to $560,000 in the case of their 9’6” Imperial Concert Grand Piano, Model 290.
The price is justified however, these handcrafted masterpieces will last generations. This is what makes them excellent candidates for used purchase. Not only will you be bringing a true piece of functional art into your home you will be bringing prestige and history and one of the finest musical instruments ever available through out history. Generally purchased for life and handed down through the family’s generations, these used Bosendorfer grand pianos for sale are rare to come by. However we are proud to say that we have many used Bosendorfer grand pianos for sale, please come look these works of art over for yourself at our showroom or warehouse. Put a piece of the finest Viennese architecture in your home, play an instrument with unmatched levels of beauty, produce music more beautiful than you’ve ever heard, these are just some of the reasons to come look at our used Bosendorfer grand pianos for sale! Learn more about why buying used is the wisest move HERE!
If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call at (770) 717 8047 – we will be happy to help you in any way we can!