Pianos made by: Grotrian Piano Company GmbH, Braunschweig, Germany; and Parsons Music, Hong Kong
Friedrich Grotrian was born in 1803 in Schöningen, Germany, and as a young man lived in Moscow, where he ran a music business and was associated with piano manufacturing. Later in his life he teamed up with C.F. Theodor Steinweg, son of Heinrich Steinweg, to build pianos. Heinrich had emigrated to the U.S. about 1850, soon to establish the firm of Steinway & Sons. Theodor followed in 1865, selling his share in the partnership to Wilhelm Grotrian, son of Friedrich, who had died in 1860. Thereafter, the firm became known as Grotrian-Steinweg. (In a legal settlement with Steinway & Sons, Grotrian-Steinweg agreed to use only the name Grotrian on pianos sold in North America.) Even as early as the 1860s, Grotrian pianos were well known and highly respected throughout Europe. Each successive generation of the Grotrian family maintained the company’s high standards and furthered the technical development of the instrument.
In 2015, a majority interest in the Grotrian Piano Co. was purchased by Parsons Music Group, a Hong Kong–based piano manufacturer. Grotrian says that all pianos bearing its name will continue to be made in Braunschweig, Germany, and that the Parsons investment will be used to expand manufacturing capacity to better serve the burgeoning Asian piano market. A member of the sixth generation of the Grotrian family is a shareholder, and will continue to participate in managing the company.
Grotrian grands have beech rims, solid spruce soundboards, laminated beech pinblocks, Renner actions, and are single-strung. Grotrian prides itself on what it calls its “homogeneous soundboard,” in which each piece of wood is specially chosen for its contribution to the tone. The cast-iron plate is attached with screws along the outer edges of the rim, instead of on the top of the rim, which the company says allows the soundboard to vibrate more freely. The vertical pianos have a unique star-shaped wooden back structure and a full-perimeter plate to ensure the instrument’s structural and tonal stability over time.
The treble of Grotrian pianos has extraordinary sustaining characteristics. It also has a pronounced sound of attack, subtle and delicate. The tenor is darker than many other brands. The bass can be powerful, but without stridency. Overall, Grotrian pianos have a unique, expressive sound and are a pleasure to play. Over the years, many European royal families have appointed Grotrian to supply pianos to the court, and many well-known pianists have endorsed or expressed appreciation for Grotrian pianos.
Grotrian makes five sizes of grand and six sizes of vertical piano. New “studio” versions of grand models 192 (6' 3") and 208 (6' 10"), made for institutions, have scratch-resistant cabinet finishes, wider music desks, and more impervious soundboard finishes. At the Braunschweig factory, Grotrian also makes a lower-cost line with a beech back frame but no back posts, and a simpler cabinet. It’s available in a 43½" model in polished ebony with legs, and in 43½" and 45" models for institutional use, with satin finishes but without legs.
In 2018, Grotrian introduced two lines that are even more affordable: Wilhelm Grotrian and Wilhelm Grotrian Studio. These instruments combine German Grotrian designs with “global sourcing and global manufacturing,” including soundboards of lightweight Alaskan spruce. The two new lines have the same tone color, touch, and performance; the only difference between them is that the Wilhelm Grotrian Studio models come in simpler cabinet designs for the more price-conscious buyer.
The Wilhelm Grotrian line comprises four sizes of vertical piano—46", 48", 49", 52"—and three sizes of grand: 5' 7", 6' 2", and 6' 11". The Wilhelm Grotrian Studio line consists of three sizes of vertical—45½", 47", 48"—and two sizes of grand: 5' and 5' 5".
Warranty: 5 years, parts and labor, transferable to future owners.