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Others fly in Lofoten

Of the total of 10 concert grand pianos of the Steinway & Sons in Lofoten, two are owned by the festival. The festival also owns two smaller grand pianos which are primarily used for rehearsals and smaller concerts. A further five regular pianos are also owned by the festival and used by the artists where they live during the festival. Three of these are otherwise in the year placed in Lofoten Culture House. One can be found at the Salteriet in Henningsvær, and the last one is in the parish hall in Henningsvær Church.

In addition, the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival has ownership of - or contributed to - several grand pianos around Lofoten.

Thon Hotel Lofoten: Wendl & Lung grand piano

When the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival was established in 2004, general manager Knut Kirkesæther's own grand piano – a Blüthner from 1896 – was the only instrument available for concert rehearsals. It is a rare good instrument, but with the first year's success there was quickly a desire to expand with at least one more practice grand piano. The festival's piano technician at the time, German Joachim Römer, made an offer from a young company in Austria - Wendl & Lung - for a smaller grand piano at the purchase price. The company still makes grand pianos and pianos at low prices through a collaboration in China. The company saw it as good marketing to have an instrument available to international pianists in Lofoten. For just under NOK 60,000, the brand new grand piano arrived in time for the concert rehearsals during the festival in 2005, which was then based in Nusfjord. Later, the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival moved from Nusfjord to Henningsvær, and the grand piano was placed in the restaurant at Thon Hotell Lofoten, in Svolvær. Outside of the festival - i.e. 50 weeks a year - it still exists there today. It is in daily use by various pianists who offer the restaurant's guests "live" music for breakfast and other meals. The grand piano is surprisingly good, and as Leif Ove Andsnes said in 2018 when he sat down to practice the grand piano: "there are no bad pianos, only bad piano technicians". He then referred to the festival's piano technician Thomas Hübsch who had prepared the instrument for the festival.

Thon Hotel Lofoten and Lofoten Culture House: Petrof concert grand piano

In the hall at the old Svolvær Children and Youth School there was a large concert grand piano of the Petrof type. The Czech brand can be found in very many venues and homes in Norway, even to this day. The reason lies in the fact that Petrof was much cheaper before the fall of the Wall compared to instruments produced in the West. This grand piano was once given as a gift from Einar Grann-Meyer when the school was new. Afterwards, the school hall was Svolvær's main hall until Lofoten Kulturhus opened in 2009. With the new cultural center in the city, the need for the auditorium as a concert venue was gone. The concert grand piano was also characterized by old age and a lack of maintenance. When the school building was to be demolished in 2011, it was therefore not desirable to bring the instrument into the new school building. With a good knowledge of the concert grand piano, Knut Kirkesæther contacted hotel director Erik Taraldsen at Thon Hotell Lofoten. He is willing to give NOK 50,000 to get the instrument ready to offer "live" music to his visitors. After the strings, rivets and hammers had been changed, the concert grand piano appeared almost as new. It stood in the hotel's restaurant for many years, before it was later moved into the cultural center as a spare wing due to lack of space. Petrofen has been used there with great success on several occasions during the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival, most recently in 2018. Several people have commented on the size of the Petroff wing. It is not so surprising since, with its 2.84 cm, it is a full 10 cm longer than the largest model from Steinway & Sons. The instrument also has two notes more in the bass than is usual.

Privately owned: Bechstein grand piano

Former chairman of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival - Richard Sandnes - became aware in 2010 of an older grand piano by the brand Bechstein, in a deceased estate in Oslo. The instrument was from approx. year 1920, but still in good condition. Bechstein is one of the big brands, and aroused the interest of the board. With a price tag of just NOK 40,000, the grand piano was bought and sent to Lofoten. At this time there was already a grand piano in Nusfjord (Wendl & Lung), where the festival was then held. The instrument was therefore placed in the foyer of Lofoten Kulturhus in Svolvær. The grand piano was by all accounts a beautiful instrument, but a frail old clenodium. It eventually became clear that the instrument did not benefit from the transports during the festivals. The festival's piano technician – Thomas Hübsch – came along and wanted to buy the instrument to sell it in Berlin. The piano was packed ready to be sent to Berlin, but here the German bureaucracy stopped it. The German regulations regarding the import of ivory made the sale a bureaucratic D-moment (the most difficult tricks of the trade). The Bechstein grand piano was left in the cultural center - wrapped - for months. Thomas finally realized that the import was impossible, and wanted to put it up for sale in Lofoten. There were initially two stakeholders in Henningsvær. Line and Pål – the owners of Lysstøperiet – were then renovating Fiskarheimen, and envisioned a grand piano there. Unfortunately, this did not come to pass. The new owners of Galleri Lofotens Hus in Henningsvær were also interested, but there were no sales. Finally, the chairman of the board of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival - Brynjar Tollefsen - came on board. Not long after, the more than 100-year-old instrument was in place in his Nordland house from about the same time. There, it glides elegantly into the interior.

Arbeidern, Kabelvåg: Blüthner

The Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival has had success with breakfast concerts during the festivals in the summer. In the autumn of 2018, it was decided to try to hold more breakfast and lunch concerts throughout the year. The wish was to have a breakfast concert in Vågan Municipality and a lunch concert in Vestvågøy Municipality. At the Meiriet Kultursenter there is both a grand piano and a café - absolutely perfect for this type of concert. In Vågan, it was not quite as simple. The old cultural building Arbeidern in Kabelvåg came up as a good candidate. The place has both a kitchen and a cafe - but no grand piano. After a few short conversations, Knut Kirkesæther came up with a good alternative - a Blüthner standing in a private home in Trondheim for just NOK 20,000. The grand piano - which is 1.80 cm long - arrived in Arbeidern in December 2017. The instrument was built around 1920 and is well used and somewhat damaged. But it has a nice sound, soul and personality. It is perfectly suited for breakfast concerts throughout the year, as well as several local events at Arbeidern on the square in Kabelvåg.

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