The world renowned Steinway & Sons was established in New York in 1853 by the German immigrant cabinet-maker Henry Engelhard Steinway, later joined by his sons C.F. Theodore, Charles, Henry Jr., William, and Albert. Henry Sr. began building organs and pianos in his home town of Seeson, Germany, gaining considerable experience; the first piano made by Steinway & Sons was the 483rd that he himself had built. Steinway’s aim was to create the perfect piano. He was keen to capitalise on the current fervour for scientific and technical innovation, incorporating the acoustical theories of the physicist Hermann von Helmholtz to refine the Steinway design and to create its distinct sound. The firm’s drive to achieve this is evident in the fact that more than half of the 127 unique patents awarded to them were granted in the first 30 years of the company’s history. In 1867 Steinway & Sons were awarded the Gold Medal for excellence in manufacturing and engineering at the Exposition Universelle, Paris, a pivotal moment, which undoubtedly established them as the market leader in piano manufacture. In order to satisfy the growing demand in Europe, a second factory was opened in Hamburg in 1880, and it remains to this day their only other production facility outside New York.
Registered and produced by Steinway Hamburg in 1909, this model B-137185 grand piano was originally finished in exotic rosewood veneer. It was shipped to the London showroom on 9 October the same year and promptly sold on 2 December. The identity of the first owner is unknown but it reappeared in Steinway’s London records in 2002 when it was restored, ebonised and subsequently purchased by Sting & Trudie Styler in July 2002.
Steinway & Sons remains the piano of choice for high-profile professional pianists, singers, directors and celebrities, counting legendary musicians across all genres including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Benjamin Britten, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Billy Joel, Diana Krall, and Lang Lang amongst their advocates.