We offer our guests the chance to play some truly amazing grand pianos. In our collection we have some famous German names, as well as quite a few Broadwoods.
At 6′ 11″ (211 cm), it is the model that many professional pianists consider the perfect piano with a balance of power and size that makes it exceptionally versatile. It was introduced by Steinway as the Music Room Grand, and is the oldest model still in production, first being introduced in 1878 (albeit with only 85 keys and a different hammer mechanism). The Model B continues to be produced in both the New York and Hamburg factories, where our particular model was made.
It is used at Finchcocks for recordings, recitals and masterclasses and is a firm favourite with our students.
With a powerful sonorous bass and a lyrical mid-range, our 6’7″ model 200 Bosendorfer is a joy.
Manufactured in Vienna, Bosendorfer began building pianos in 1828 and has made this model to the same specification for over half a century.
It uses a Capa d’Astro bar to enhance the treble, which picks up resonance from the frame adding harmonics to broaden the sound. The bass strings contain a steel core, which is then coated in copper to produce its characteristic warm european sound.
The sand cast forged frame is a feat of engineering in itself with an incredible strong cross structure that allows the frame to remain stable with 20 tonnes of string tension.
With ivory keys, and a handsome ebonised case, it is a piano that is truly inspiring.
Our Bechstein model A has just been restored and has a fascinating provenance.
The piano belonged to the distinguished London music critic, Hugh Scott, whose grandson, Hugh Wooldridge has very kindly loaned it to us.
In the early 20th century, the piano was played by the pianist Alexander (Sasha) Helpman, and the conductors Sir Henry Wood (the founder of the Proms), Sir Malcolm Sargent (the chief conductor of the Proms and a national institution), Sir John Barbirolli (the Halle Orchestra); and the great British composer, Sir William Walton.
As the piano passed to Hugh’s father, the composer John Wooldridge (1919 – 1958), he wrote his Cello Concerto for Maurice Eisenberg and his Oboe Concerto for Leon Goossens. He also wrote several of his film scores on it – including The Guinea Pig (with Lord Richard Attenborough), Fame is the Spur (with Sir Michael Redgrave) and Appointment in London (with Sir Dirk Bogarde).
In its last home Hugh himself, wrote The Mass for St John’s (1972) and various TV theme tunes. And it was played for and by many distinguished West End folk including Sarah Brightman, Charles Strouse, David Firman, James McConnel and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
This piano has been praised for its sweet sound; and for an instrument that is over 110 years old it is in remarkably good condition.
Our Model 10 has Bluthner’s unique patentented aliquot system to enhance the treble. This is achieved by suspending an additional set of strings above the treble range, which are allowed to resonate freely as the notes below are struck. The gentle harmonics generated, help to add colour to an area of the piano which is often otherwise underwhelming.
The Bluthner piano company was founded in 1853, as demonstrated by Aliquot system, has a well earned reputation for innovation.
In the 1930s, the German admiralty commissioned Bluthner to construct a lightweight grand piano, almost identical to our piano, to be housed on board the Hindenburg airship. As the Hindenburg crossed the Altantic on its maiden voyage, a piano concerto was performed and broadcast live – and all this took place nearly a century ago!
Yamaha Concert Grand
Our 6’1″ Yamaha C3, with its dependable and conventional design and bright engaging tone, it is a firm favourite amongst our students.
The C3 is part of Yamaha’s conservatoire range of pianos made in Japan and borrows many of its features from Steinway. In particular, it uses duplex scaling on the treble strings, which are tuned an octave higher to add brightness to the tone of each note. A similar technique is used on our Bluthner which has an aliquot system, and our Bosendorfer which uses a Cappo d’astro bar to achieve the same effect.
It also has a 3 pedal arrangement with the middle pedal being a damper selector.
Kohler and Campbell
Our newest piano, a 5ft 9in model Kohler and Campbell, has a wonderful sonorous quality and was assembled by South Korean manufacturer Samick before being shipped to the United States to be finished by Kohler and Campbell’s master technicians.
Samick commissioned renowned German piano designer and technician Klaus Fenner to create their new Kohler and Campbell Millenium range.
Klaus Fenner specified his hallmark German Imperial Scale design and individually tied strings with Renner hammers, which results in a wonderful sonorous quality that it is a touch more mellow than our Yamaha. It also has a wonderful una corda action and sostenuto pedal that sustains only the notes that are held down when the pedal is depressed.
Built in Broadwood’s factory in central London in 1893, this is one of only six prototype barless grands that were made using a solid sheet of steel to form the frame.
The process was expensive, but achieved the objective of being able to remove the need for bars in the frame which necessarily disrupt the evenness of the tone of the notes either side of the bar.
Even though the strings are straight strung, the bass is tremendous with a fabulous even tone across the 88 note range. The inlaid decoration by Bessant was created to resemble a harpsichord and painted onto a Viennese red background.
Ultimately, the milled steel frame designed proved too costly for large scale manufacture and Broadwood opted for cast frames in later barless models.
There are few families in the world that can claim to have created two world class piano brands.
Heinrich Steinweg, set up a piano factory in Braunschweig in Germany, but not content with national fame, set off across the Atlantic to make his name in America in 1850 taking with him five of his sons.
He left the German manufacturing operation in the hands of another of his sons, Theodor who collaborated with Friedrick Grotrian for nearly two decades before the Grotrian family, assumed full control in 1865.
Our 7’3″ concert grand, takes a full 8 months to construct and is one of only 100 made each year. Grotrians are known for their technical precision and capable of both delicate pianissimo and the sort of powerful fortissimo you would expect from a concert grand.