PIANOS & PRICES

Retail pricing is the responsibility of the dealer. No two dealers are alike, no two markets are alike and starting retail prices are set by individual dealers. Prices will vary from dealer to dealer with local economic conditions. One dealer may mark their piano list price up considerably higher than another so that when they discount the price, it seems that you are getting a much better deal. 

In some States there are laws that prohibit the making or the permitting of the making, of any materially false or misleading representation to the public as to the regular selling price of any product in any form whatever. The regular selling price is determined by using one of two tests: either a volume of the product was sold at that price or higher within a reasonable period of time (volume test); or the product was offered for sale in good faith for a substantial period of time at that price or a higher price (time test).

In the event that the regular price refers to the normal price of a brand name on the market, unless dealers have sold a substantial volume of the product at the represented regular price, it cannot be referenced as the regular price. Just ask "Show me the invoice at the regular price!"

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BÖSENDORFER
Yamaha Corporation of America
P.O. Box 6600
Buena Park, California 90622
714-522-9415
www.bosendorfer.com

Pianos made by: L. Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH, Vienna, Austria

Bösendorfer
Vertical Pianos Invoice
130 52" Satin and Polished Ebony 49,699
Grand Pianos Invoice
170 5 ' 8 " Satin and Polished Ebony 85,042
185 6 ' 1 " Satin Ebony 88,227
200 6 ' 7 " Satin and Polished Ebony 96,548
214 7 ' 0 " Satin and Polished Ebony 113,505
225 7 ' 4 " Satin and Polished Ebony 118,694
280 9 ' 2 " Satin and Polished Ebony 148,596
290 9 ' 6 " Satin and Polished Ebony 156,704

1828-4 1906-18080 1931-25470 1959-27900 1984-36701
1830-200 1907-18490 1932-25530 1960-28017 1985-37445
1840-490 1908-18860 1933-25560 1961-28019 1986-38246
1850-3000 1909-19250 1934-25600 1962-28126 1987-39026
1860-5000 1910-19640 1935-25700 1963-28227 1988-39715
1870-6400 1911-20060 1936-25800 1964-28329 1989-40384
1875-8000 1912-20480 1937-25880 1965-28434 1990-41062
1880-9300 1913-20870 1938-26000 1966-28546 1991-41698
1885-10800 1914-21100 1939-26140 1967-28650 1992-42310
1890-12200 1915-21370 1940-26290 1968-28785 1993-42790
1891-12470 1916-21660 1941-26430 1969-28936 1994-43095
1892-12860 1917-21870 1942-26550 1970-29109 1995-43374
1893-13170 1918-22070 1943-26660 1971-29305 1996-43660
1894-13500 1919-22330 1944-26730 1972-29547 1997-43948
1895-13870 1920-22530 1948-26830 1973-29869 1998-44324
1896-14220 1921-22800 1949-26883 1974-30224 1999-44680
1897-14560 1922-23060 1950-26960 1975-30622 2000-45150
1898-14900 1923-23300 1951-27060 1976-31109 2001-45695
1899-15300 1924-23580 1952-27170 1977-31569 2002-46206
1900-15640 1925-23880 1953-27300 1978-32103 2003-46690
1901-16000 1926-24160 1954-27390 1979-32730 2004-47146
1902-16380 1927-24490 1955-27490 1980-33444 2005-47531
1903-16800 1928-24850 1956-27640 1981-34196 2006-47920
1904-17200 1929-25120 1957-27700 1982-35140 2007-48244
1905-17620 1930-25350 1958-27800 1983-36001 2008-48625

Bösendorfer

Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik is the oldest continuous piano manufacturer in the world. It is also known, affectionately, as the slowest. From the wood first arriving to season until its transformation into a grand piano means a wait of seven years; the construction of a single Bösendorfer takes 62 weeks from start to finish. Currently, the factory, with approximately 220 employees, turns out about 500 grands and 100 uprights every year. Since its foundation in 1828, the company has had only three owners and, to date, has hand-built no more than 46,000 pianos. There is an aura of exclusivity, rarity value and enormous expense attached to it. Whether or not these perceptions are accurate we shall see, but first let us briefly examine the milieu in which the firm had its origins.

Ignaz Bösendorfer believed that the piano, usually categorised as a percussive instrument, was a member of the string family. He determined that every part of the piano should, like a violin, resonate to help produce the overall tone. Spruce has the best tonal qualities of any wood (80% of the wood in a Bösendorfer is spruce) and to this day the company source the wood for their soundboards from the same area of northern Italy from which Stradivarius obtained his. Only spruce that has grown to a minimum of 1000 metres above sea level is selected, and only timber which is felled in January is used, as this is the time of year when the sap is at its lowest.

It was about this time that Bösendorfer began to build instruments with extended keyboard (and remains the only manufacturer to do so today). A typical keyboard has 88 notes with A being the lowest. Bösendorfer Models 225 and 275 have four added notes to lower F, while Model 290 (the Imperial) has nine added notes to lower C (97 keys covering eight octaves). How did it come about? Busoni was in the process of transcribing Bach's Passacaglia in C minor (BWV582) and needed a piano with a bottom C to simulate a 32-foot organ pipe. Ludwig Bösendorfer obliged.

By 1909, Bösendorfer, one of the most colourful and popular Viennese personalities, was searching for an heir. With no direct descendants, he sold the business to his friend Carl Hutterstrasser whose family would run the business until 1966. Hutterstrasser's early years in charge saw Bösendorfer production reach a new high of 434 instruments a year, but the company then suffered the first of its three declines. In 1913, the beloved Bösendorfer Hall was demolished to make way for a major building project, and the First World War reduced production to a mere 130 or so instruments a year. Ludwig Bösendorfer died in 1919. His will directed that his body be driven to a cemetery on a simple piano-carriage and buried in perfect silence before the notice of his death was made public. No flowers, no wreaths, no announcements of death, no funeral orations. His headstone reads simply: 'Ludwig 1919'. The City of Vienna honoured him by renaming the street to which the company had moved 'Bösendorferstrasse'.

The post-war years saw steady productions figures – 250 to 310 instruments per year between 1919 and 1929 – before the economic crisis of the '30s saw an acute slump: 219 (1930), 119 (1931), 51 (1932), 40 (1933), 52 (1934). In 1931 the Bösendorfer firm became a partnership when Carl Hutterstrasser's sons Alexander and Wolfgang joined the business. With war clouds looming once more, Bösendorfer achieved a major coup in 1936 when the BBC invited bids from nineteen piano manufacturers to compete to supply their studios. Bösendorfer, entered in two categories, won first prize in both and the BBC ordered Bösendorfer grands for all its British studios, though the order was never completed due to the political situation in Austria. Production, nevertheless, climbed from 114 instruments a year in 1936 to as many as 143 in 1941.

Then came the Second World War. In 1944 the lumber yard supplying the firm's wood was destroyed in a bombing attack. The following year, the factory was hit by artillery fire, and in the Musikverein, soldiers camped in the showrooms around open fires built on the parquet floors. Heavy street fighting between the Germans and Russians in 1945 destroyed the company's offices and showrooms. All remaining pianos were used for firewood. The firm's technicians were either taken prisoners or fled. A few men between them managed to produce just eleven instruments in the two years immediately after the war. It took the best part of twenty years before production figures rose above the 100-instruments-a-year mark, but between 1946 and 1956 almost every Bösendorfer went to Eastern Europe.

In 1953, Bösendorfer celebrated its 125th anniversary with a gala concert – Wilhelm Backhaus as soloist with the Vienna Philharmonic under Clemens Krauss – but its next important milestone was in 1966. The private firm of L. Bösendorfer became a joint-stock company, bought by Arnold F. Habig, head of the Jasper Corporation, Indiana, USA, whose ancestors, appropriately enough, had emigrated from Vienna to the small German-American town of Jasper. Habig had started with a small company making TV cabinets but then acquired Kimball pianos, eventually changing his firm's name to Kimball International Inc. With his partners the Thyen (pronounced 'Tin') family, Habig's aim was to use Bösendorfer's expertise to improve the Kimball range of pianos. The deal worked well for both companies and by the time Bösendorfer celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1978, production had reached 500 instruments a year, with a grand total of 32,000 during its illustrious history (in that year alone Kimball was able to make 54,800 pianos.) Arnold Habig died last year in his mid-nineties. Including its electronic goods, office and hotel furniture products, Kimball International had sales of $1.4 billion in 2000 making it one of the top 500 most successful businesses in the world. The business is now run by Habig's son Doug as CEO, with Jim Thyen as President of the company. Recently they produced their first new model in nearly one hundred years: the Model Concert Grand 280.

Some famous Bösendorfer owners past and present:

Brahms, Wagner, Liszt, d'Albert, Anton Rubinstein, Reger, Casals, Cortot, Fürtwangler, Richter, Bernstein, Menuhin (3), Backhaus, Bartok, Kodaly, David Oistrakh, Rudolph Friml, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra (3), Ashkenazy, Brendel, Gulda, Rostropovich, Carreras, Domingo, Fischer-Dieskau (3), Bobb Messingschlager (3), Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea.   

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