Tuesday, 9 October 2018


We tweeted last week that we were off to tune our first Steinway in Kigali, but we got that a little wrong. It's actually a 1985 Grotrian-Steinweg. That's sort of a cousin of Steinway, and so often confused that there was a whole legal debate about it:

Grotrian-Steinweg's history dates back to 1835 when the first Steinweg piano factory was built by Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg (later known as Henry Steinway after his emigration to the US where he founded Steinway & Sons). In 1856, Friedrich Grotrian became a partner; in 1865 his son Wilhelm Grotrian and two associates bought the factory and the right to market their pianos as successors to the Steinweg brand. Ensuing generations of Grotrian family members led the company to become one of the finest piano manufacturers in Germany. Grotrian-Steinweg pianos were preferred by some famous pianists, and they received accolades at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Grotrian-Steinweg operated an orchestra and a concert hall, and established sales rooms in a half dozen major cities in Germany, and by 1920, in London as well. At its peak in the late 1920s, Grotrian-Steinweg employed 1,000 people and made 3,000 pianos per year... 

Grotrian-Steinweg sought to expand into the US in the mid-1960s. Steinway & Sons sued to prevent them from using the Steinweg name, resulting in a 1975 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The case set a precedent in describing "initial interest confusion": that the brand Grotrian-Steinweg could cause piano buyers to temporarily confuse its brand with the brand Steinway & Sons. The court ordered Grotrian-Steinweg to stop selling pianos in the US under the "Steinweg" name. Afterward, the company formed a business entity named Grotrian Piano Company to sell pianos in North America. - Wikipedia
Still, it was a very nice piano, in a house with a gorgeous view. A couple who moved here two months back. Always nice to see a new piano in Kigali.

Despite having been shipped halfway around the world, it held its tuning impressively, and whoever tuned it last was very thorough. Bought second hand in a shop in Italy, it's been around Europe, Asia and Kenya before here. 

It was an easy piano to work with and nicely designed. Had the easiest-to-remove mute rail ever invented. No fuss, just slide it out and back in.

We hope to see it in another six months when it needs a proper tuning.

Stopped to look at some lovely roadside flowers on the way home.

1 comment:

  1. Tune! Hey maybe a video of the piano in action next time. :)