Workshop piano manufacturing, regulation and maintenance at Piano's Maene Belgium

22 June 2022

On 21 June we travelled with a group of students to the main office of Piano’s Maene in Ruiselede Belgium.  This trip was possible through the financial support of the NPO budgets.  Chris Maene, the founder of Piano’s Maene has been a researcher and innovater in piano building throughout his life.  Researching the historical instruments in his collection – which contains around 300 instruments – he is capable of building copies of instruments of most periods.  But he also used this knowledge to develop the Chris Maene Straight Stringed grand piano.  It was the concert pianist and conductor Daniel Baerenbaum who contacted Chries Maene to build the first of these instruments: a new grand piano that combines the tradition of straight stringed instruments with the latest innovations in piano building.

The students and teachers who joined the trip got a tour in the shop where Wolf Leye gave an overview of the history of piano building, demonstrated by several historical instruments.  The students were allowed to play these instruments so they could experience first hand how those instruments felt and sounded like over 200 years ago.  This really gives them a new perspective on the music they are playing.  The day continued by a workshop in which the students learned the basics of identifying possible issues that can occur in the piano.  From a pencil that dropped between the strings to a key that is not moving properly.  It was a nice view seeing the students around and under a piano as if they were in a car workshop.

Finally the day was concluded by a tour in the factory: Piano’s Maene is the only company in the Benelux that still builds grand piano’s from scratch.  The Chris Maene concert grands are build by hand, starting from the raw wood, until a high quality instrument used by the world’s best pianists.  We also got to try the latest model of the series which will be presented to the public later this year.

The trip was a real success.  It inspired us all and we hope that we can return there in the future with a new group of students.

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