A collection that mirrors the history of piano

The Carl Bechstein Foundation is setting up its own collection of historic keyboard instruments. The goal is to one day have them played during workshops, concerts and master classes to make the history of the piano directly accessible to the public, and especially young people.

The idea of the collection originated in 2019 when the Carl Bechstein foundation acquired the keyboard instruments that had belonged to the Lebensfarben foundation, including fortepianos made by such famous manufacturers as John Broadwood and Muzio Clementi or from the workshop of the Dulcken family, as well as instruments that have fallen into oblivion such as physharmonicas, claviharps and Henry Pape’s cordless piano. More recent additions to the collection include a Neo-Bechstein grand, a fortepiano made by Johann Schanz in 1812, and two Bechstein-Welte grand pianos made in the 1930s.

Our plan is to further develop the collection and present it to the public. But rather than just another music instrument museum, this is to be an active collection, with the various vintage “exhibits” being played, and restored as needed.

An advisory committee was recently founded to support the Carl Bechstein foundation in expanding this collection. Committee members include such famed specialists in vintage keyboard instruments as the professors Christoph Hammer (Augsburg), Jan Schultsz (Basel), Gerrit Zitterbart (Hanover) and Hubert Rutkowski (Hamburg).