My recent travels have taken me to a well known retailer in the East and a well known university in, well, the US. Both are staffed by serious piano people and to me, both represent a problem this industry is facing. They both are basically sending the message that new piano manufacturers have little value.
In the case of the retailer, they are emphasizing their very idiosyncratic approach to rebuilding, essentially sending the message that the best piano is an old Steinway. To be clear, they are not a Bosendorfer dealer and another high end European maker ended their relationship with them recently.
In the case of the University, they are an active rebuilding shop focusing on rebuilding a motley but carefully selected collection of rather worn out pianos. The rebuilds are high quality, done by very serious people.
Both of these organizations have specific, carefully thought out reasons to approach their business the way they do but the end result is the same…we don’t really need piano makers. The world of old, used up pianos seems infinite and with our skills, we can “re-manufacture” all we need.
I could go on and on and maybe I will over a couple of posts, but if anybody is serious about building the market for pianos and music, then there has to be some kind of symbiotic relationship between the customer and the maker. That doesn’t mean that all the makers crowding the market these days deserve the same consideration but there needs to be recognition that the manufacturers play a very important role in process.