To recap my philosophy, I do not see the worlds true high end makers as competitors. With the idea of “tonal diversity” firmly in mind, I think these makers support each other in trying to reach prospects who might otherwise have, from pure marketing exposure, a narrow idea of what represents true quality in the piano world.
These European makers have very specific, very individual tone that usually appeals in a very direct, individual way. If someone truly loves the sound of X, they probably won’t be interested in Z. And this is a good thing, since there are many music styles and many approaches to interpretation. There should be, logically, many tonal options available to support this wonderful world of individuality.
Therefore I find it personally and professionally rewarding to learn as much as I can about these makers and they have all, so far, universally accepted my visits and my intentions. A couple of years ago I toured Sauter but I wasn’t blogging then and my photos were not very good. Last year I toured Bluthner, Schimmel and Steingraeber. At that time only Bluthner allowed me to take photos.
I took another tour in early November visiting August Förster, Steingraeber (this time with photos) and Feurich. I posted a review of this trip on PianoWorld. I’m taking that post as the core here, with some expanding.