Grand Pianos in Lofoten

Lofoten is perhaps first and foremost known for its beautiful nature and the cod that come to spawn every year. Less well known is Lofoten’s unique collection of grand pianos of the Steinway & Sons type. The local population today has access to as many as 10 grand pianos which are kept in top condition and used all around the year. Several have gradually noticed this – a phenomenon that is described as completely unique. A technician from the Steinway factory in Germany stated that Lofoten probably has the highest density (based on Lofoten’s population) of Steinway & Sons in the whole world! But this has not always been the case.

Read the story behind Steinway & Sons here.

Grand pianos on loan

At the establishment of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival in 2004, there was not a single Steinway & Sons available in Lofoten. General manager Knut Kirkesæther then had to borrow two instruments from Music in Troms. These he transported – together with his own grand piano of the type Blüthner from 1896 – in a truck. Before the road to Lofoten became ferry-free, the trip took 16 hours – one way.

In order to be able to carry out the festivals at all, Kirkesæther repeated the journey for a full four years. This was both time consuming, expensive and far from risk-free. It would later turn out that he did not have a valid driver’s license for a truck. Nor was there an insurance company that would insure the precious cargo.

Knut Kirkesæther jokingly calls the development since then as “black magic”. – It is almost inconceivable that this has happened. The quality of each instrument is so consistent andhigh that the pianists who use them have different favorites. It says something about what we havemade, he says.

Read more about the festivals here.

Thanks to local involvement in Lofoten

It is part of history that not a single public cent has been used directly to finance the total of 10 grand pianos. Organized as a foundation, the festival owns two of the instruments. The foundation has also in various ways contributed to the purchases of the other instruments, partly financially, but always as a consultant.