Pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi has been invited to become a Blüthner Artist, joining a rank of distinguished performers including Artur Pizarro and Nikolai Demidenko. Established in Leipzig in 1853, Blüthner is one of the world’s most prestigious piano manufacturers, with an impressive history of quality and innovation. Their artist cooperation scheme provides an especially strong and direct connection between the company and performers around the world.
“One of the greatest privileges known to any pianomaker is the opportunity to collaborate with the artists of their day and to hear their instrument under the hands of a master.”
Hiroaki Takenouchi explains why he holds the manufacturer’s pianos in such high regard:
“Today, it may still come as a surprise to many of us pianists and piano students that numerous major composers of the 19th and 20th centuries swore by and owned Blüthner pianos. They include Liszt, Wagner, Brahms, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Debussy, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich, to name a few. When I visited the Blüthner HQ in Leipzig, there were Blüthner pianos in the showroom that had belonged to Liszt and Grieg! Blüthner really shaped the way a lot of piano works were conceived in terms of sound.
To be honest I didn’t realise this until I owned a beautiful 1922 Blüthner myself. So many things in the late romantic and impressionist repertoire just make so much more sense now. If you think about it, a piano’s character naturally affects the way we practise and conceive the works we play — I am only now beginning to realise that I have not really had access to the right instruments to help me realise such things, from simple tempo choices to more multi-faceted elements like voicing, rubato and tone production. For example, I feel closer to understanding why Rachmaninov’s own recordings of his second concerto sound the way they do. I am looking forward to rediscovering pieces I have known for a long time!
After 165 years, Blüthner amazingly still remains a family business. That means they are really good at providing personal touches and retain flexibility in their decision making. I was welcomed by Ingbert and Christian Blüthner-Haessler, as well as Tom Neubauer and Kristina Richards, in Leipzig and I immediately felt so comfortable. We had a lots of chats about new ideas for concerts, masterclasses, and of course about the pianos. I’m really looking forward to working with them for the years to come!”