2019 – Piano Technicians in Germany, Concert Caster manufacturer, and the BDK Convention

This May and June I had the great opportunity of visiting friends and colleagues in Germany on a business trip for Piano Forte. I visited the area where I was first trained as a Journeyman Piano Maker, near Essen. Then I visited one of my associates in the Cologne area, a high-level piano technician named Ulrich Busch. He is currently the piano technician for the Beethoven House in Bonn, and one of the technicians for the WDR Radio in Cologne (which includes orchestras, performance halls, recording studios, historical instruments, and more). We had the opportunity of spending a few days with him and were treated to some amazing experiences. Below is a picture of me in the basement of the WDR building playing one of the historical pianos, a fortepiano made in Munich in 1793.

Playing the 1793 fortepiano
In front of Beethoven House with my wife

We also visited the Beethoven House in Bonn, while Ulrich tuned a piano in the performance hall which is situated right over the vault containing all of Beethoven’s original manuscripts. We then walked a short distance from there and visited the grave of Robert and Clara Schumann. In the evenings we were treated to symphony orchestra concerts in the Cologne Philharmonic Concert Hall and the WDR Hall. Europe simply oozes culture at every turn.

At the grave site of Robert and Clara Schumann

Other visits included the manufacturer of high-end concert grand stage casters which I sell to other piano technicians and performing arts venues around the world. Here I am with the casters and my associates in the manufacturing shop.

Then off to Heidelberg, where I met with another master craftsman piano technician, Reiner Mertens who was in the same training course as I was 35 years ago. After a short visit in his hometown, we were off to the BDK – German Piano Maker’s convention in Tuttlingen, in the south of the Black Forest. The convention included a visit to the Sauter factory, which is the oldest family owned boutique piano making company in the world, founded 200 years ago this year. It was a great 4 days meeting other colleagues and professional piano technicians.

The trip to Germany was a great way to re-connect with my professional roots, my esteemed colleagues, to advance my own professional development, and to make stronger business connections. A pleasure!