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Bytte in Buksnes

Buksnes Church was the first in Lofoten to have its own concert grand piano in 2007. The instrument was built during a period when the steinway factory experimented with the mechanics to make the sound more powerful. Despite the fact that they succeeded with the sound, this came at the expense of the style of playing which became heavier, and less responsive in the attack than usual. Several pianists reacted to this, including our own Leif Ove Andsnes. Eventually there was a desire to change the instrument.


The Steinway factory no longer produces instruments in this way.

The organist in Buksnes Church, Andrey Pirotzkov (who is trained as a pianist) never became completely familiar with the instrument. He therefore several times used other concert grand pianos when he had to perform concert repertoire for piano. In consultation with Knut Kirkesæther, it was therefore decided to put the instrument up for sale. The intention was to replace this with the larger model, the Steinway & Sons model D.


The festival's piano technician - Thomas Hübsch from the Berliner Philharmoniker - said he was willing to find a similar renovated concert grand piano to the one Meiriet Kultursenter had bought in 2017. But when Buksnes Kirke put the instrument up for sale, an instrument dealer in Bergen got in touch. He had just been commissioned to sell a Steinway & Sons model D from 1987 for a private person. The price was about the same as what Thomas Hübsch suggested the Berliner Philharmoniker must have.

At the request of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival, Leif Ove Andsnes – who lives in Bergen – was asked to try the instrument. Built in deep red mahogany, the instrument itself was a beautiful sight. In addition, Leif Ove stated simply: "no new concert grand piano is built with a quality like this".

The former instrument in Buksnes Church was sold for NOK 500,000, and the congregation in Vestvågøy entered into an agreement for the instrument in Bergen for NOK 700,000. Lofoten Internasjonale Kammermusikkfest contributed with an interest-free loan of the remaining NOK 200,000 in exchange for having the right to use the instrument during the festivals. The new concert grand piano arrived at Buksnes Church on 1 October, and was inaugurated in February the following year. Organist Andrey was delighted.


In connection with his concert in Lofoten in the winter of 2020, Leif Ove Andsnes specifically asked to play in Buksnes Church. Thomas Hübsch traveled from Berlin for the occasion, and worked non-stop for 9 hours to adjust the mechanics of the grand piano before Andsnes arrived. In connection with such concerts, there is close contact between artist and technician. At this level, high demands are made in relation to both the mechanics and the sound, and Hübsch had several work sessions to satisfy Andsnes. He was, and our leading classical musician delivered a brilliant solo concert in Buksnes church on Sunday 26 January 2020.

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