North American Music Inc.
11 Holt Drive
Stony Point, New York 10980
Pianos made by: Schulze Pollmann s.r.l., Borgo Maggiore, San Marino
Schulze Pollmann was formed in 1928 by the merger of two German piano builders who had moved to Italy. Paul Pollmann had worked first with Ibach, then with Steinway & Sons (Hamburg), before opening his own piano factory in Germany. He later moved to Italy, where he met up with Albert Schulze, another relocated German piano builder. Pollmann managed the combined firm until 1942, and was followed by his son Hans, who had managed the piano-maker Schimmel before returning to his father's firm. Recently the company relocated a short distance to San Marino, a tiny city-state completely surrounded by Italy.
Schulze Pollmann uses both sophisticated technology and handwork in its manufacturing. The pianos contain Delignit pinblocks, solid European spruce soundboards, and Renner actions and hammers. Interesting features include a one-piece solid lock (laminated) back made of beech on the verticals, agraffes on the larger vertical, and finger-jointed construction of all soundboards to prevent cracking. Many of the cabinets have beautiful designs and inlays.
The uprights are well built and have a sound that is warm and colorful with a good amount of sustain. The treble is not nearly as brittle sounding as in some of the other European uprights. Schulze Pollmann grands are likewise very nicely crafted and arrive at the dealer in good condition. However, they need solid preparation by the dealer to sound their best.
In 2005, Italian auto manufacturer Ferrari Motor Car selected Schulze Pollmann as a partner in the launch of its new Ferrari 612 Scaglietti series of automobiles. For the occasion, Schulze Pollmann crafted a limited-edition version of its 6' 7" model 197/G5 grand piano, still available, with a case that sports the Ferrari racing red and a cast-iron plate in Ferrari gray carbon, the same color as the engine of the Scaglietti. The car and the piano have been exhibited together in cities around the world.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, transferable to future owners within the warranty period.
Samick Music Corp. (SMC)
1329 Gateway Drive
Gallatin, Tennessee 37066
Pianos made by: Ed. Seiler Pianofortefabrik, Kitzingen, Germany; with Samick Musical Instrument Mfg. Co. Ltd., Bogor, West Java, Indonesia
Eduard Seiler, the company's founder, began making pianos in 1849, in Liegnitz, Silesia, then part of Prussia. By 1923, the company had grown to over 435 employees, was producing up to 3,000 pianos per year, and was the largest piano manufacturer in Eastern Europe. In 1945 and after World War II, when Liegnitz became part of Poland, the plant was nationalized by the Polish Communist government, and the Seiler family left their native homeland with millions of other refugees. In 1954, Steffan Seiler reestablished the company in Copenhagen under the fourth generation of family ownership, and began making pianos again. In 1962 he moved the company to Kitzingen, Bavaria, in Germany, where it resides today. Steffan Seiler died in 1999; the company was managed by his widow, Ursula, until its sale to Samick in 2008. Seiler produces about 1,000 pianos annually. Samick says it plans to continue Seiler's tradition of making the highest-quality pianos.
Seiler uses a combination of traditional methods and modern technology in building pianos. The scale designs are of relatively high tension, producing a brilliant, balanced tone that is quite consistent from one Seiler to the next. Although brilliant, the tone also sings well, due to, the company says, a unique soundboard feature called the Membrator system, used in all Seiler pianos. The Membrator is a patented construction feature in which the perimeter of the soundboard is sculpted to be thicker and heavier in mass than the interior, to form a frame within the soundboard. The lighter inner area becomes the vibrating membrane — a diaphragm on its own — unimpeded by the larger soundboard's attachment to the inner rim. The company says that use of the Membrator system, as well as effective rib positioning, improves the soundboard's efficiency in radiating sound. It's easy to identify the Membrator by the tapered groove around the perimeter of the board.