Fazioli and C. Bechstein Pianos at Music China 2019

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Music China is Asia’s main musical instrument trade fair. The exhibition took place last month (October) and attracted around 2,400 exhibitors from 34 countries, and more than 120,000 visitors from 80 different countries.

Two of the more impressive instruments on display were from Fazioli and Bechstein.

Fazioli F183 Marco Polo

Fazioli's Music China exhibition stand with the F183 Marco Polo at the forefront.
Fazioli’s black F183 Marco Polo grand piano on display at Music China 2019

Back in 2000, a rich Chinese customer ordered a bright, high-gloss “Ferrari” red F308 grand piano from Fazioli. The instrument’s lid featured a hand-painted copy of a Canaletto painting of Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square), Venice. The piano was given the name “Marco Polo”.

Studio image of Fazioli's original red Marco Polo
Fazioli’s “Ferrari Red” F308 Marco Polo

Marco Polo was a 13th-century Italian explorer and adventurer who is credited with revealing Chinese culture to the west through the stories of his travels.

Fazioli thought that their Marco Polo piano would be a one-off. But the instrument looked so splendid that the company received several more orders. As a result, Fazioli continues to offer it as one of their special “art-case” models.

This year the Fazioli agent in China ordered the first black Marco Polo – an F183 baby grand. Again the Canaletto-inspired painting inside the lid shows the Piazza San Marco, but from a different angle. The high-gloss black casework makes the vivid colours of the picture all the more impressive.

Music China Expo; Close-up of the lid of the F183 Marco Polo baby-grand
The lid features a painting of the Piazza San Marco, Venice, looking eastwards towards the Campanile

Placed at the front of Fazioli’s “Music Salon” exhibition stand, the piano drew large crowds of admirers. Visit the Fazioli website for further details of the Marco Polo “special model” grand piano.

C. Bechstein “The Sphinx”

C. Bechstein took the B212 “The Sphinx” grand piano to the Music China show. This is the first time this spectacular instrument has been seen in China.

Music China expo; View from above of the C. Bechstein Sphinx
The C. Bechstein Sphinx on display at Music China 2019. Photo: Shan Chunlei

C. Bechstein built the original Sphinx in 1886 for an exhibition in London. It was a fabulous rococo styled instrument in the great “Empire” tradition and heavily decorated with gilt adornments. Unfortunately, over the years, the piano was “lost”, and just a single image of the original instrument remains.

However, 130 years later, C. Bechstein decided to build a new Sphinx. They studied the original photograph and with ultimate attention to detail spent 32 months and 1800 man-hours completing the project. The result, unveiled in 2016, is quite breath-taking, and showcases extraordinary levels of craftsmanship.

More information on the construction of the instrument is available on the C.Bechstein website, also check out the “Resonances” documentary about this historic German manufacturer.

Studio photograph of the C. Bechstein Sphinx with stool
Photo: Deniz Saylan/C. Bechstein

The Sphinx has travelled the world, appearing at exhibitions and piano showrooms. And as can be seen, took pride of place on the C.Bechstein’s Music China stand — flanked by two hefty security guards! This isn’t surprising as the piano is valued at over $1,000,000, and is considered one of the world’s great instruments.

Next year, Music China takes place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) 28th—31st October 2020.


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