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Pleyel Pianos, Chopin’s Favorite Maker, Plays Its Swan Song

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Nov 18, 2013 11:54 PM EST | Classicalite Newsdesk

Pleyel Pianos, Chopin’s Favorite Maker, Plays Its Swan Song

b. 1807, d. 2013 (Photo : Creative Commons)

Sad news from the piano world. Pleyel Pianos is no more. Perhaps most famous for creating the pianos Chopin favored, the more than 200-year-old company will not see its fourth century without the intervention of a miracle.

Yet, they were seemingly unable to adapt to the low-cost, high-frequency competitors emerging from the Far East. Rather than gaining a foothold in China (as Steinway has, for instance, with its Lang Lang-branded line for students, among others), potentially the world's largest pianos market, it saw its own share of the industry decline rapidly. According to some reports, its annual sales were down to low double-digits by 2012.

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All of that said, there are signs that the French government might step in to see if there are ways to secure a future for what is, after all, an iconic French firm. But it would really be a beyond last-minute move. The company's Paris workshop has already closed.

Pleyel Pianos was created in 1807 by Ignace Pleyel. He was joined eight years later by his son Camille, a celebrated pianist, who eventually took over the company. The company also created the Salle Pleyel concert hall, which famously hosted Chopin's last concerts in Paris.

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