GERMAN PIANO MAKER Schimmel has recently revised the specifications, brands, and sizes of instruments they offer. The most notable change has been to their top-line Konzert series of grand pianos. Readers familiar with Schimmel's earlier models will recall their Trilogy concept, in which three sizes of grand piano models shared the same action design (e.g., K169/189/213 and K230/256/280). The new models (K175/195/219/230/256/280) comprise reengineerings to accommodate a concert grand action in all Konzert models, regardless of size. The sizes and shapes of these instruments have been changed from the earlier, smaller models to accommodate the larger actions.
Other refinements in the latest Konzert grands include higher-quality construction and materials in the soundboard and bridges, and more factory time devoted to refinement and finishing touches, with a particular focus on fine voicing to smooth out and enhance the tone. Schimmel's Konzert models are built in Braunschweig, Germany, and bear the “Made in Germany” certification of the Bundesverband Klavier (BVK).
Collora Piano, of Dallas, Texas, was gracious in providing our reviewer access to the first of these new Schimmels in the U.S., less than two days after their arrival, at the Texas Music Teachers Association's annual conference. We asked our reviewer, Professor Kiyoshi Tamagawa, to spend most of his time with the three smallest grands, to learn how these early-production instruments sounded and felt with the latest refinements.
Having studied and performed mainly in the United States, I have regarded Steinways, both American and German, as the gold standard for high-end pianos, with fond memories of individual Bösendorfers, Grotrians, and Faziolis I've encountered on my travels. Prior to trying them for this review, I had not previously played a Schimmel piano or heard reports about them from colleagues, so I was approaching them free of any preconceptions.
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