Unique Grand Piano Donated to the Moscow Conservatory

25 June 2013

On June 21, 2013, the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation donated a unique musical instrument to the Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky State Conservatory — a grand piano manufactured by the Jakob Becker house in 1908.

Alexander Sokolov, Rector of the Moscow Conservatory, commented: “This is a gift to our Conservatory from a Russian philanthropist and entrepreneur Alisher Usmanov. The instrument was made in 1908 to a special customised order. There were only 4 of these instruments made... This grand piano is very interesting in terms of its appearance, it’s a piece of extreme artistic and antique value. There is a theory that it could have belonged to one of the daughters of Nadezhda von Meck”.

With this instrument, Alexander Sokolov plans to restore the culture of pre-show and intermission foyer socialising: background music will be played in the foyer of the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.

From the expert report on the grand piano: “This instrument has extremely high artistic and antique value, being one of the best examples of early 20th century Russian piano manufacturing”.

The Jakob Becker house is one of the most famous piano manufacturing dynasties in Germany, founded by the manufacturers Becker and Schroeder and operating from 1841 to 1917. They supplied musical instruments to the Emperor of Russia, the Emperor of Austria, the Kings of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Becker pianos knew the hands of Alexander Scriabin, Franz Liszt, Camille Saint-Saens, Clara Schumann, Emperor Alexander III, Empress Maria Fedorovna, Hans von Bülow, Josef Hofmann, the family of Emperor Nicholas II, Mily Balakirev, Sergei Taneyev, the Countess von Meck, Claude Debussy, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Anton and Nikolai Rubinstein, Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Sofronitsky and many others.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky was also a big Becker enthusiast: “... one ought to prefer Becker grand pianos, being soft and pleasant in tone, they are at the same time distinguished by a remarkable force of sound ...”

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