In the late 19th century, Steinway & Sons successfully brought to fruition the concept of the modern cross-strung grand piano. Ever since then, this construction concept has been imitated by all piano builders. It has resulted in a standardization of piano building and a uniformity of piano sound. As a reaction to this, the second half of the 20th century witnessed an intense quest for performance practices using historical instruments.
As part of this movement, Chris Maene Factory soon began specializing in building harpsichords and pianofortes, based on Chris Maene’s renowned and unique collection of more than 300 historical instruments.
This gradually led to the desire to build his own grand piano with different sonorous properties, aiming to offer a valid artistic alternative to existing concert grands. To accomplish this, Chris Maene went back to the original basic principle of straight, parallel stringing, where the bass strings are not crossed over the other strings but run parallel to them.
In 2013 Daniel Barenboim commissioned Chris Maene to build “the perfect parallel-strung concert piano”. He wanted to reconcile the unique characteristic sonorous richness of the historical piano with the volume, clarity, power and playing comfort of the best modern concert pianos. Chris Maene had already been thinking of this new concept for a while, and with this project he could finally make his ultimate dream come true: building a concert piano that would bring together tradition and innovation.
In May 2015 Daniel Barenboim inaugurated his new straight strung grand piano with Schubert recitals in Vienna, Paris and London. The sound of the unique instrument was very well received by press, audiences and musicians alike. The pianist presented his instrument at BOZAR in 2018, during his recital in the frame of the centenary of Claude Debussy's death.
By now the Chris Maene Straight Strung Grand Piano is played all over the world by the best international concert pianists. It is regularly used for concerts and recordings by artists such as Martha Argerich, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Emanuel Ax, Eric Le Sage, Hannes Minnaar, Liebrecht Vanbeckevoort, Jan Michiels, Julien Libeer, Jef Neve and Bram De Looze among others.
Discover the full range of straight-strung grand pianos by Chris Maene Factory on its website.
Come discover the unique sound of the Chris Maene Straight Strung Concert Grand Piano during the Summer Palace Concerts. This outdoor concert series takes place in the courtyard of the Coudenberg Museum from 12 to 20 June 2021.