By Emma Reynolds, CNN | An extremely rare, $194,000 grand piano was smashed when movers dropped it while taking it out of a recording studio, Canadian virtuoso Angela Hewitt has revealed.
Hewitt, one of the world’s leading classical pianists, said in a Facebook post that she had just finished recording Beethoven’s piano variations in Berlin when the movers entered the studio control room to tell her they had dropped her handmade Fazioli piano.
The pianist said it had taken her 10 days to share the “very sad piece of news” because it “has been such a shock to me that I didn’t immediately want to share it with the world.”
Her precious F278 Fazioli piano was the only one in the world with four pedals, she wrote.
“I adored this piano. It was my best friend, best companion. I loved how it felt when I was recording — giving me the possibility to do anything I wanted,” she said.
“Now it is no longer.”
The iron frame was broken, as was much of the structure, lid and case, she said.
Italian engineer and pianist Paolo Fazioli, the owner of Fazioli Pianos, declared the handmade instrument “unsalvageable,” Hewitt wrote.
The pianist said it was a “shock” to lose the instrument, which was her “best friend.”
Hewitt said she “couldn’t believe it,” adding: “It makes no sense, financially or artistically, to rebuild this piano from scratch. It’s kaputt. The movers of course were mortified. In 35 years of doing their job, this had never happened before. At least nobody was hurt.”
Fazioli Pianos is in Sacile, northeast of Venice, in an area of Italy known for its woodworking.
Hewitt said she kept the piano at her home in Italy and had used it for almost all her recordings over 17 years.
Hewitt told CNN she would not be commenting further “while the insurance saga is still in motion.”
A spokeswoman for Fazioli Pianos told CNN the company could not comment further because of a “strict internal rule” on protecting clients’ privacy.
Simon Markson, managing director at Markson Pianos in London, told CNN he thought a £150,000 ($194,000) estimate of the piano’s value if it were new was accurate.
“It’s an expensive piano,” he said. “It’s going to appeal to someone high level.”
Markson said an accident like this “doesn’t happen very often” and was distressing because of “sentimental” attachments.
“There are six or seven top companies making good quality pianos. Different pianos appeal to different people according to tone and touch. The Fazioli is good for Bach,” he said.
Hewitt said she will choose a new Fazioli in the next few months, writing, “I hope my piano will be happy in piano heaven.”
Hewitt is not the first to suffer the loss of a valuable instrument in transit. In 2007, movers delivering an $89,000 grand piano to the Two Moors Festival in Devon, southern England, dropped the instrument out of their van.