06 November 2016
And read about the history of this unique family-run business
Written by managing director and co owner
My father, Colin Leverett, worked at the Blüthner repair workshops in London for 50 years, and was the manager there for 35 years. He trained with the Blüthner family and can trace his training back to Julius Blüthner, the company’s founder, through just three people. I followed in my father’s footsteps and joined Blüthner’s as an apprentice 25 years ago, and my father put me through a rigorous training. My father taught me the importance of beautiful sound, and how to achieve it through the correct set up of the soundboard, strings, and action. Back in the 1970s my father was the first piano technician in this country to rebuild a piano by replacing the soundboard. Many in the industry at that time thought that soundboard replacement was taking things too far, but it has now become an accepted part of rebuilding a vintage instrument and we have found it is the only way to truly restore the tone to the manufacturer’s original specifications.
My late uncle Derek Leverett, Colin, and myself set up the family company Piano Restorations Limited in 2003 after Blüthner UK merged with Blüthner Leipzig, and we retain a good relationship with the Blüthner company, although now we work on many other makes of piano, in particular Steinways, and we work with many more private clients. My father is still working for us, 61 years after he first became an apprentice, and is still one of the most respected technicians in Europe. Our workshop has grown from strength to strength, and we now have an international client base. Some of our clients include Stephen Fry, Michal Hambourg (daughter of the Leschetizky pupil Mark Hambourg), Artur Pizarro - who had three pianos rebuilt by us, Barry Wordsworth, Fou T’song, Colin Matthews, Livingstone Studios, City Lit, London, Madeira Concert Hall, Lisbon Concert Hall, Faro Concert Hall, Millfield School, and now we are taking orders from the USA including a dealer who specialises in selling restored Steinways, and a Professor of Music at Boston University.
With the demand growing, we have decided to focus on opening a selection centre in our workshop, and our showroom should be completed before the end of November 2016. Our aim is to offer a selection of premium restored pianos from the most famous and best makers - Blüthner, Steinway, Bösendorfer, Bechstein, and others, so that our customers can compare and contrast the differences between these instruments.
This film was made by our friend Nick Pettitt at Rocket Communications and it shows people our passion, dedication and eye for detail. The piano featured is a rare Bluthner Kaiser Jubilee frame style VIII , the piece was recorded on said piano in the workshop. My close friend and concert pianist Joseph Fleetwood composed and performed the music for the film - and Joseph is also one of our customers owning two 190cm Blüthner grands rebuilt by us!
Three Bridge Mill
Tel: 01296 733766