Bösendorfer is an Austrian piano manufacturer and, since 2008, a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation. Bösendorfer is unusual in that it produces 97– and 92-key models in addition to instruments with standard 88-key keyboards, and in its use of three-strings-per-hammer model of construction.
Bösendorfer, one of the oldest piano manufacturers, was established in 1828 by Ignaz Bösendorfer.It has a history of producing highly respected instruments; in 1830, it was granted the status of official piano maker to the Emperor of Austria. Ignaz’s son Ludwig Bösendorfer assumed control in 1859, operating from new premises from 1860. Between 1872 and its closure in 1913, the associated Bösendorfer-Saal was one of the premier concert halls of Vienna. In 1909, Carl Hutterstrasser purchased the company and was succeeded by his sons Alexander and Wolfgang in 1931.
In 1966, the Jasper Corporation (later renamed Kimball International), parent company of Kimball Pianos, assumed control of Bösendorfer, where it remained before returning to Austrian hands, when the BAWAG PSK Gruppe purchased it in 2002. BAWAG signed an agreement to sell all stock in Bösendorfer to Yamaha on 20 December 2007.
Bösendorfer pioneered the extension of the typical 88-key keyboard, creating the Imperial Grand (Model 290), which has 97 keys (eight octaves). The Bösendorfer sound is usually described as darker or richer than the purer but less full-bodied sound of other pianos, such as Steinway & Sons or Yamaha.
Bösendorfer has produced a number of specially designed pianos named after famous composers such as Franz Schubert, Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt, as well as pianos designed for special occasions, such as Bösendorfer’s 170th and 175th anniversaries.