Pleyel, the piano manufacturer beloved by Chopin, is to close its last workshop.
With the market for its top-of-the-range instruments continuing to decline, the Paris-based company has accepted that it is unable to sustain losses on a yearly basis and will be making its 14 remaining staff redundant.
Founded by the composer Ignaz Pleyel in 1807, Pleyel soon enjoyed a reputation for making instruments of exceptional quality. The company’s reputation was helped no end by being championed by Chopin, for whom it made a number of pianos. Among its innovations was the manufacture of the first ever metal-framed pianos.
In all, Pleyel has made around 250,000 pianos over its 206 years in existence, though production has recently dwindled to around just 20 a year. The instruments have been typically aimed at the upper end of the market.
The Pleyel name will at least still continue to be kept current by Paris’s Salle Pleyel, the concert hall opened by the company in 1839 to showcase its finest instruments. Considerably updated and enlarged since then, the Salle Pleyel today seats just under 2,000 people and is one of the jewels in the French capital’s musical crown.