The first pianos from Sejung were sold in the U.S. in fall 2002, less than one year after production began. A number of their first offerings were examined by technicians, and although still a little rough, they were definitely satisfactory, and remarkably good for such a new company. Since then, the factory has grown to become one of China's largest exporters of musical instruments, production has been refined, and quality has improved. After proper regulation and tuning, the pianos offer good value in an entry-level instrument. The 4' 8" grand and the continental console are most appropriate for those buyers whose primary considerations are price or appearance.
For model and price information, see under Sejung in the "Model & Pricing Guide."
Warranty: 12 years on parts, 10 years on labor, to original purchaser.
Persis International, Inc.
2647 N. Western Ave. #8030
Chicago, Illinois 60647
Founded by German immigrant Hugo Sohmer in 1872, Sohmer & Co. was owned and managed by the Sohmer family in New York City for 110 years. Having no descendants to take over the business, the founder's grandsons sold the company in 1982. As the company changed hands several times over the following decade, limited production of Sohmer pianos took place in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, finally ceasing in 1994 (see the Sohmer entry in The Piano Book for a more detailed recent history).
Pianos are once again being made under this venerable name, once considered among the finest of American-built instruments. Sohmer pianos from Persis International are manufactured by Royale, a Korean firm descended from a former joint venture between the German manufacturer Ibach and the Korean manufacturer Daewoo, neither of which any longer makes pianos. During the German-Korean joint venture, the string scales, bridges, soundboards, rib dimensions, actions, keys, and hammers were redesigned by Ibach to German standards. Models include a 50" vertical and 5' 3" , 5' 10" , and 7' 2" grands. The pianos have high-quality European components, such as Renner actions, Abel hammers, Delignit pinblocks, Röslau strings, and Ciresa solid spruce soundboards.
Note that, for a number of years, there was a legal dispute over the ownership of the Sohmer trademark, and from 2003 to 2010, Sohmer-branded pianos were distributed by both Persis International and Samick Music Corporation (SMC). That dispute has been settled in favor of Persis, and SMC stopped selling Sohmer pianos in 2010. However, the Samick-made pianos can be expected to remain on dealers' showroom floors for the near future, until sold, and Samick will continue to honor the warranties of the instruments it manufactured. (Note: Persis's pianos are labeled "Sohmer," and SMC's are labeled "Sohmer & Co.")
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
STECK, GEO. — See Sejung.
25 South Wickham Rd.
Melbourne, Florida 32904
Pianos made by: Thüringer Pianoforte GmbH, Eisenberg, Germany
This company, formerly known as Wilh. Steinberg Pianofortefabrik, was formed after the reunification of Germany by the merger of several East German piano companies that collectively trace their origins back to 1877. In addition to its own pianos, Steinberg makes several other European piano brands under OEM agreements. The company also specializes in custom cabinets and finishes. Piano production is about 700 verticals and 80 grands per year.
In 2009, Steinberg introduced a new marketing concept that involves selling pianos at three levels of quality. The first level, IQ, is the traditionally crafted piano that the company has made entirely in Germany for many years. These high-quality instruments have beech rims with spruce bracing (grands), solid Bavarian spruce soundboards, maple bridges with maple caps, Renner actions and hammers, and Kluge keys. The second level, AC (Advanced Craftsmanship), uses some nonacoustical components manufactured in China, but the instruments are assembled, regulated, and voiced in Germany. The third level, P (Premium), consists of instruments entirely made in China, with only final preparation done in Germany. This level is not currently being imported into the U.S.
Warranty: 5 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.