CORDOGAN'S SUMMARY OF ESTONIA PIANOS:
here for a complete product listing with clickable thumbnails!
Welcome to the
wonderful world of Estonia pianos -- the "Golden Child" of the piano
are being praised by musicians worldwide as having a sound quality and
action response competitive with any of the finest European makers, yet
Estonia pianos are currently a fraction the cost of Hamburg Steinways,
Bosendorfers, Bechsteins, Bluthners and Faziolis. For a piano
manufacturer to have cause for any sort of worldwide press is a rare
occurrence. In 2004 alone, over 200 newspapers worldwide reported on
Estonia's rapid rise to the very top of the piano world. There must be
something very special happening in this beautiful little country.
pianos come from Estonia - a country located at the Baltic Sea,
and 50 miles south of Finland. A European nation of only 1.5
million people, the country has its own language and cultural
traditions. The Estonian language, described as a singing language, is
part of the Finno-Ugric languages and is very close to Finnish.
One of the most
interesting musical events in Estonia is the Song and Dance Festival,
where over 25,000 choristers sing together in a huge stadium directed
by one conductor. The singing language and Estonia's love for music is
relevant in connection with Estonia pianos, since it is at the factory
where these elements are pursued further. As no other piano company,
Estonia instruments carry its nation's name and are presented as its
cultural ambassadors to the world.
City of Tallinn, where every Estonia piano is handcrafted.
The Estonian culture
has one of the richest piano building histories in the world, dating
back more than 200 years - much longer than America boasts. Estonia
Piano Factory also has the most unique product line and history in
today's piano industry.
make vertical pianos and small grands, establish themselves, then build
larger grands, ultimately earning the right to build a 9' concert grand
model. Estonia ONLY made concert grands for the first 50 years of
existence, serving the concertizing pianists in the Baltic States,
Finland, Russia, Japan, Germany, Ukraine, Belorussia, Armenia, and many
other countries since World War II. In time, they made two
smaller versions of it.
That's it -- no
vertical models, no different grades of quality, no fancy cases.
Estonia also does not use their factory to produce pianos for other
companies, which is a manufacturing practice that proves to be penny
wise and pound foolish, as it invariably dilutes the value of the brand
name in the marketplace. (Click here for
"What's in a Name?" )
are available in three sizes 9', 6'3" and 5'6". All models are
completely hand made and have Renner actions assembled at Renner in
Germany. This is a distinct feature which carries a value of thousands
of dollars over pianos which claim to have a "Renner action" --
assembled outside of Renner's German factory. Other features include
birch rims, Delignit pin blocks, premium Renner blue hammers...among
other desirable technical features, which in turn create the tone,
touch and stability that is Estonia. The pianos are priced with a
high-quality artist bench (while other pianos in this category are
often priced without benches) and they carry a factory warranty of ten
years parts & labor -- twice that of pianos which are often
compared to Estonia. Unlike other "premium" brands they do not
source ANY of their components or materials from China – or
anywhere outside Europe for that matter. It is a hand built European
piano from top to bottom.
those who recall Estonia's of the past, be assured these are vastly
different than those made during the years under the Soviet Union's
rule. as Estonia country gained its independence in 1991.
In fact, one of
the most beautiful aspects of the Estonia Piano is how it emerged as a
very improbable industry leader. In the months and years
following Estonia's independence, companies throughout the country were
being privatized and bought. Many Estonian companies were being
bought by foreign corporations and the Estonian government feared
that a foreign piano company may end up owning the
Estonia Piano Company (Tallinn Piano Factory).
To prevent the
disgrace of having their country's name emblazoned pianos owned by a
foreign company – or worse yet to see the company get dismantled
for its parts, the Estonian government had a plan. The Tallinn Piano
Factory was deemed a National Treasure in order to thwart being
purchased (and possibly exploited) by foreign conglomerates. The act
secured that ownership must forever remain in Estonian hands. Shares
were then distributed to the employees of the company, some of whom are
3rd, 4th and even 5th generation employees.
One such employee is Indrek Laul, who at the time was
earning his doctorate degree at the famed Juilliard School in New York
City, studying under Peter Serkin. A concertizing pianist, he used his
income as a concert artist to slowly acquire a controlling interest in
President of Estonia Piano Factory (and New York resident) is
responsible for bringing these remarkable pianos to the United States.
He is also responsible for the changes (over 300 documented changes
since 2001) that have brought these pianos to a competitive level with
all of the great treasured European brands which are literally several
times the price. Dr. Indrek Laul is so accomplished that the famed
Juilliard School of Music in New York named him as one of the top 100
Juilliard graduates in the 100 year history of Juilliard.
models are being DIRECTLY IMPORTED to the United States so there is a
tremendous value available to American consumers. Without having a U.S.
distribution company where the giant overhead of a corporate
headquarters, district sales managers, a national sales manager, the
savings is tens of thousands of dollars per piano when compared to the
pianos of almost every other foreign piano company who relies on such a
distribution channel to pursue the North American market. The president
and owner of the Laul-Estonia Piano Factory lives in the U.S and only
has roughly 200 pianos to sell each year. He can do so alone and pass
an incredible savings on to 200 fortunate customers every year.
With this paltry
but calculated production schedule (some manufacturers can build 400
pianos in a DAY), the biggest problem our company faces with Estonia
pianos is that they are extremely difficult to get. Cordogan's
is only one dealer...in one state...of one country (to be read
"frequent back orders"). Estonia has elected to concentrate only in
major market areas -- Chicago, NY, LA, London, Toyko...to better serve
markets that are important to any "boutique" type purchase.
Cordogan's has been able to receive close to 50 Estonia pianos a year
to serve the midwest market, but that doesn't come close to what the
market demand supports.
In keeping with
the marketing efforts of an artist, Dr. Laul has very little
interest in making Estonia a household name. He would prefer
that his instruments fall into the hands of aspiring pianists and not
necessarily purchased as a trophy. The methods by which his
pianos are marketed -- or lack thereof, all but insure it.
Estonia's efforts came to the U.S. market with no trace of an
advertising budget or a public relations firm. The web and the press in
the U.S. took care of that in short order.
customers would recognize a "grass roots" rise to the top as that of a
highly desirable cost-savings, Estonia's anonymity might be a bit
unsettling to a layperson and/or non-player who may be compelled to buy
a more familiar name. That is just fine with Estonia. Then again,
established in 1893, Estonia pianos are hardly new, they're just
relatively new to the U.S. An Estonia buyer is perfectly
comfortable with the notion that these pianos are only known and
cherished in musical circles. In fact, Estonia owners/enthusiasts are
now known as "estoniacs". The day that it becomes as recognized
as a certain piano that begins with an "S" and ends in "way", is also
the day that Estonia will be priced like one.
If you are
searching for that European, warm, rich and romantic sound, that German
touch and/or the unique, investment-grade pianos, welcome to the world
of Estonia pianos.
Click here for a interesting blog about the state of the European piano industry and Estonia's position within it
Click here for a 2004 Associated Press article about the meteoric rise of Estonia pianos
Click here for a 2003 Forbes article on Estonia pianos