Sauter has been perfecting the art of piano manufacturing since 1819, and has its roots in making pianos for Beethoven. Johann Grimm, the founder of the company, learned the trade of piano making from Johann Andreas Streicher in Vienna, who built Beethoven´s instruments. This is how the founder of SAUTER early became acquainted with the high requirements of the famous composer. After successful completion of his apprenticeship, he started building square pianos himself.The art of building such high-standard pianos grew into a family tradition, with new improvements and refinements evolving into an excellent culture of sound. Joyfulness in innovation has become an inherent part of their philosophy. SAUTER placed the emphasis on developing the double repetition action of grand pianos and implementing high standard pianos of master quality.
These pianos are beautiful to the eye and ear, and they are also great instruments for the concert stage and the home.
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A MESSAGE FOR YOU FROM ULRICH SAUTER
"Grand and upright pianos are remnants of a pre-industrial era and therefore do not lend themselves easily to mass production. All parts conferring the spirit to the piano are crafted manually. Machines do not govern here, expert hands are at work instead."
Did you know that approximately half of the pianos produced worldwide come from factories not older than 10-20 years? Especially in China but also in Malaysia, Indonesia and other South East Asian countries innumerable piano factories have popped up just within a few years. The advantage is obvious: with a new production site you can start at zero without obstacles of outdated machines and inefficient procedures. However, the factory workers also start out at zero and that can very likely be a problem when building pianos.
Grand and upright pianos are remnants of a pre-industrial era and therefore do not lend themselves easily to mass production.
Of course, one can assemble a piano utilizing modern wood cutting tools and machines- but one then still has only an arrangement of parts. Even the oldest piano manufacturers have modern factory equipment and production schedules. They continue to rely in many important areas of the piano manufacturing process on mastercraftsmen. They provide an important role, as they make a wide variety of subtle choices that no machine or computer program can analyze or discern.
Only the craftsmen discerns those choices and creatively utilizes them. Through this process, each instrument receives its unique and singular “soul”. This does not go to say that mass produced instruments should be frowned upon however, usually they are missing that special “something” that we require in every one of our instruments.
It is clear that the newcomers in our craft do not have the luxury of a couple of centuries or at least a few decades of developing their instruments and their craftsmen. Thus the going slogan is: “the smart one imitates”. New factories acquire instruments of leading and estabished manufacturers in an effort of reverse-engineering. Many European manufacturers, our factory included, do not care about such things. Others may make take an instrument apart in the tiniest bits of its parts, and expose it to every kind of torture and yet our Sauter pianos steadfastly refuse to give away their secrets. Most of the critical information for building a piano is not visible or measurable at the finished instrument. It is the hidden in the work of our handcraftsmen.
A little more annoying seems to be the urge of mostly Chinese copy-cats when it comes to exterior design. All you need is a brochure or a picture from the internet and you are ready to go. We will see how the market will react to this kind of design piratery.
It remains unchallenged that in order to produce a good piano you need the will to do it and the courage to ask for the price required to cover the cost. Our colleagues from Japan have shown us that they have come to build formidable pianos but their prices are a far cry from the bargain deals that they were some 20 years ago! Our beloved good piano seems to successfully refuse to become a mass merchandized commodity. And that continues to make the piano so fascinating and endearing.