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ESTONIA

Laul Estonia Piano Factory Ltd.
7 Fillmore Drive
Stony Point, New York 10980
845-947-7763
[email protected]
www.estoniapiano.com


Pianos made by: Estonia Klaverivabrik AS, Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia is a small republic in northern Europe on the Baltic Sea, near Scandinavia. For centuries it was under Danish, Swedish, German, or Russian domination, and finally gained its independence in 1918, only to lose it again to the Soviet Union in 1940. Estonia became free again in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Piano-making in Estonia goes back over 200 years under German influence, and from 1850 to 1940 there were nearly 20 piano manufacturers operating in the country. The most famous of these was Ernst Hiis-Ihse, who studied piano making in the Steinway Hamburg and Blüthner factories and established his own company in 1893. His piano designs gained international recognition. In 1950 the Communist-dominated Estonian government consolidated many smaller Estonian piano makers into a factory managed by Hiis, making pianos under the Estonia name for the first time. The instruments became prominent on concert stages throughout Eastern Europe and, amazingly, more than 7,400 concert grands were made. However, after Hiis’s death, in 1964, the quality of the pianos gradually declined, partly due to the fact that high-quality parts and materials were hard to come by during the Communist occupation of the country. After Estonia regained its independence in 1991, the factory struggled to maintain production. In 1994 Estonia pianos were introduced to the U.S. market.

In 1994 the company was privatized under the Estonia name, with the managers and employees as owners. During the following years, Indrek Laul, an Estonian recording artist with a doctorate in piano performance from the Juilliard School of Music, gradually bought shares of the company from the stockholders until, in 2001, he became sole owner. Dr. Laul lives in the U.S. and represents the company here. In 2005, at its 100th-anniversary celebration, the Juilliard School named him one of the school’s top 100 graduates; and in 2015, the President of Estonia awarded Laul the Presidential Medal, in recognition of the contribution Estonia pianos have made to awareness of that country. Estonia makes 200 to 300 pianos a year, all grands, mostly for sale in the U.S.

Estonia pianos have rims of laminated birch, sand-cast plates, Renner actions and hammers, laminated red beech pinblocks, and European solid spruce soundboards. They come in 5' 6", 6' 3", 6' 10" (new in 2013), 7' 4" (introduced in 2011), and 9' sizes. All have three pedals, including sostenuto, and come with a slow-close fallboard and an adjustable artist bench.

When I reported on Estonia pianos for the fourth edition of The Piano Book (2001), it was a good piano with much potential; but in the decade that followed, Dr. Laul introduced so many improvements to the piano that it became practically a different, much higher-level instrument. In 2010, Estonia began investing in designing new models, and the knowledge gained from designing the 6' 10" model L210, introduced in 2013, was used the following year to implement changes to most of the other models. These modifications included a complete soundboard redesign, new support beams of resonant spruce with improved doweled connection to the rim, and new specifications for hammer density. The model L190 also has a new, focused beam structure.

The Estonia factory makes a custom line of piano, offering exotic veneers such as rosewood, bubinga, pyramid mahogany, and Makassar ebony, and is willing to finish instruments to fit the desires of individual customers.

In the short time Estonia pianos have been sold here, they have gathered an unusually loyal and devoted following. Groups of owners of Estonia pianos, independent of the company, frequently hold musical get-togethers at different locations around the country.

The pianos have a rich, warm, singing tone and a wide dynamic range; are very well constructed and well prepared at the factory; and there is hardly a detail that the company has not examined and impressively perfected. The price has risen over the years, but they are still an unusually good value among higher-end instruments.

Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.



Acoustic Piano: Model & Pricing Guide

* See the Introduction for an explanation of pricing.

The Estonia factory can make custom-designed finishes with exotic veneers; prices upon request. Prices here include Jansen adjustable artist bench.
Model Feet Inches Description MSRP* SMP*
Estonia Grands
L168 5 6 Satin and Polished Ebony 41,715 39,608
L168 5 6 Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut/White 45,125 42,563
L168 5 6 Polished Kewazinga Bubinga 48,948 46,299
L168 5 6 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 54,165 51,299
L168 5 6 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 46,165 43,479
L190 6 3 Satin and Polished Ebony 51,228 48,139
L190 6 3 Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut/White 54,569 51,678
L190 6 3 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 65,143 60,350
L190 6 3 Polished Santos Rosewood 65,143 60,187
L190 6 3 Polished Kewazinga Bubinga 58,750 55,530
L190 6 3 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 53,877 50,904
L210 6 10 Satin and Polished Ebony 60,287 57,949
L210 6 10 Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut/White 66,315 63,646
L210 6 10 Satin and Polished Pyramid Mahogany 75,358 72,187
L210 6 10 Polished Kewazinga Bubinga 71,140 68,200
L210 6 10 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 64,030 61,279
L225 7 4 Satin and Polished Ebony 75,894 70,807
L225 7 4 Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut/White 81,645 76,873
L225 7 4 Satin and Polished Pyramid Mahogany 90,625 86,438
L225 7 4 Polished Kewazinga Bubinga 82,000 79,664
L225 7 4 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 80,605 75,715
L274 9 Satin and Polished Ebony 121,060 107,360
L274 9 Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut 132,790 118,595
L274 9 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 137,385 131,013
L274 9 Satin and Polished White 124,930 113,565