A major fire broke out at the Bösendorfer piano factory in the Austrian city of Wiener Neustadt on the evening of September 19th.
Four fire departments were called to the scene, and it took over two hours to bring the blaze under control. At one point around 80 firefighters and 5 fire vehicles were in attendance.
An important outbuilding, reportedly housing much of the Bösendorfer archive was destroyed. However, the production area, located in the main building, was relatively unscathed, and the company hopes it will be able to continue manufacturing without too much disruption.
“When the first forces arrived, the outbuilding was already in full fire. Since this is an archive, the fire quickly progressed due to the amount of paper,”Christian Pfeiffer, Fire brigade commader
The cause of the fire is still under investigation
The Bösendorfer company
The company was founded in Vienna in 1828 by Ignaz Bösendorfer and is the world’s oldest surviving premium piano maker. Bösendorfer pianos are known for their exceptional quality and warm rich sound.
In 1973 the company moved from Vienna to its current location in Wiener Neustadt.
Yamaha bought Bösendorfer in 2008 and still owns it. However, Bösendorfer continues to operate as an independent Austrian company albeit wholly owned by Yamaha.
All Bösendorfer pianos (grands and uprights) are made at the Wiener Neustadt facility. Output is approximately 300 pianos per year.
Impact of the fire
The apparent destruction of much of the Bösendorfer archive is a significant loss for the company and the music world as a whole. The archive contained valuable documents and artefacts related to the company’s history and the piano-making process.