Feurich is located in the charming lake town of Gunzenhausen. We in the states think things are old if George Washington visited. However both Martin Luther and Goethe visited Gunzenhausen. In fact, my hotel (same name, same site, different building) was established in 1364!!
The few Feurich pianos I have seen have always impressed me. They have a strikingly unique sound, but well within the norms of German makers. The recent history of Feurich has confused even some in the German piano industry, leading to me hearing all sorts of stories about their current production. However I was met by a very cordial Julius Feurich (IV, I think) and his son Julius (V, if I’m correct about the previous). Founded in Leipzig, the Feurich family included a number of piano builders, even competing among themselves for a while.
However with the end of WWI, Julius’ family moved to the West and started making the Feurich piano again from scratch. Recent history includes a short lived acquisition by Bechstein (described by some as a “hostile takeover”)and a subsequent return to family ownership and management. More recently there was a joint project with a Chinese manufacturer for pianos for Asia. The recent ending of that agreement leaves the Asian built Julius Feurich line, made by others, available only in Asia. This chain of events has led to some speculation as to how many Feurich pianos are really produced in Germany.
I can confirm that I saw both grand and upright production in Gunzenhausen with typical German attention to detail and absolutely no indication that there was any “finishing off ” of Asian product going on, as some have speculated.
It is quite interesting to think about the Feurich production facilities now in comparison to the stature the company had in it’s earlier years in Leipzig. While all these makers are dedicated to a particular sound and the construction techniques that achieve that sound, and all have strong family connections, I get the impression that Julius is maintaining his legacy with a real dogged determination. I mean, come on, there are easier ways of making a living! And yet, here he is, making 20 grands this year, hopefully more the next. My assumption is that he is driven by the belief that the Feurich sound has a place in this world. I agree with him.