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Ignaz Bösendorfer and Lugwig Bösendorfer


The Founder

Ignaz Bösendorfer was born in 1794, the son of the Vienna master cabinetmaker Jakob Bösendorfer and his wife Martha. At the age of 19, young Ignaz began an apprenticeship with Josef Broadmann, an organ and piano builder in Vienna.


Vienna, 1828: Franz Schubert was buried one year after Beethoven and laid to rest beside him. Before them, this city on the Danube had been home to Mozart and Haydn. It was in 1828 that Ignaz Bösendorfer applied for a trade license to set up his own piano manufacturing company. He took over his teacher Brodmann’s business and began producing instruments of his own.


Around that same time, young Franz Liszt was shattering almost every piano at his disposal with his impulsive playing technique. Friends suggested he might like to try a Bösendorfer, which stood up to his playing. Almost overnight, the Bösendorfer concert grand shot to fame. In 1830 the title of “Imperial and Royal Court and Chamber Piano Manufacturer” was conferred on Ignaz Bösendorfer by the Austrian Emperor. Numerous gold medals and first prizes followed.


With demand for his pianos growing, Ignaz began to think about founding a new factory, but sadly he did not live to see this realized. He died in 1859. The company was taken over by his son Ludwig, born in 1835.


Father to Son

Ludwig, at the age 24, had been entrusted with the secret of the Bösendorfer grand piano by his far-sighted father. Ludwig, a highly talented musician with an exceptionally good ear, made such improvements to the instruments that the name Bösendorfer become synonymous with a deeply moving sound and the very idea of music itself. In 1860 the business moved to a new factory in Neu-Wien, Vienna, which included a concert hall with capacity for 200 people. Before long, this factory also became too small, so the company moved again in 1870, this time to its present office buildings at Graf-Starhemberg-Gasse 14, in the 4th district of Vienna. In 1870 the offices and showroom were transferred to the city centre, to the Liechtenstein Palace in Herrengasse. The Price of Liechtenstein's riding school there proved to have remarkable acoustics, and Ludwig Bösendorfer managed to persuade the prince to convert his riding school into a concert hall. With refurbishments complete, Hans von Bülow gave the inaugural recital in the hall in 1872. The new Bösendorfer Hall's outstanding acoustics meant it became Vienna's most frequented chamber music concert hall during more than forty years. Over 4,500 concerts too place, including performances by Anton Rubinstein, Franz Liszt, Eugen d’Albert, Johannes Brahms, Ernst von Dohnány, Max Reger, Arthur Rubinstein, Béla Bartók, Edvard Grieg, Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. As the 19th century drew to a close, Bösendorfer grand pianos were built for Austria’s imperial court, for Empress Elisabeth, Empress Eugenie of France, the Emperor of Japan, the Tsar of Russia and other prominent individuals.


Having no descendants, Ludwig Bösendorfer sold the business to his friend Carl Hutterstrasser in 1909. In 1913 it became necessary for the Bösendorfer Hall to make way for an urban building project. The company moved to new premises in the Musikverein building. Ludwig Bösendorfer died in 1919. Carl Hutterstrasser’s sons Alexander and Wolfgang became partners in the company in 1931.


Arnold F. Habig, President of Kimball International Inc., USA, became Bösendorfer’s new owner in 1966. The Habig Foyer at Bösendorfer headquarters in Vienna is named after him. Since 2002 this prestigious company has been in the ownership of banking group BAWAG P.S.K. Today around 450 instruments are built every year at the Bösendorfer factory in Wiener Neustadt, 90 per cent of which are exported. The recently opened Bösendorfer Hall at company headquarters in Vienna’s 4th district is an attractive concert venue. It was the choice for Lionel Richie’s exclusive promotion of his new album “Just For You”.



The Bösendorfer of Grand Pianos

The Finest Instruments in the World


Why Bösendorfer?

  •  Single stringing
  •  Screwed-on capo d'astro bar in the treble
  •  Built by hand in Vienna, the music capital of the world
  •  Built using the highest possible proportion of sound-spruce
  •  Builds the grand piano of your dreams according to your design-wishes
  •  "Resonating Box Principle", produces rich tone colour and characteristic singing timbre
  •  The finest instruments in the World and often described as "the Rolls-Royce" of the Grand Pianos
  •  Over 80% is made of very special selected type of spruce, the best quality wood for the transmission of sound



Bösendorfer Catalogue


Standard Models

Conservatory Series

Designed Models

Special Venner

Special Edition

Limited Edition

Computer Grnad Piano (CEUS)

Frequently Asked Questions

Bösendorfer Owners

The Engineering Concert Grand



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