In the autumn of 2016, the Meieriet Art Centerwas under construction, with an expected opening in 2017. No decision had yet been made about its own grand piano in the house. At the same time, the festival’s friends’ association was on its regular tour – this time to Berlin – with Knut Kirkesæther as tour guide. It was during a tour in the Berlin Philharmonic Concert Hall that the idea went from thought to action.
The festival’s own piano technician – Thomas Hübsch – is responsible for the orchestra’s approx. 20 grand pianos that are in the concert hall at all times. A tour of his workshop was rounded off by a surprise concert with Georgy Tchaidze. He then played on a Steinway & Sons model D that Thomas had just renovated. The instrument was therefore in top condition – and ready for sale for only € 60,000. At that time, this corresponded to well under half of a new one.
Kirkesæther nicely asked Thomas to wait to sell the instrument until the case in Meieriet Art Center was clarified. In the municipal council there was of course interest, but no money. The budget gaps were many and large, and several politicians believed that the house initially had to open without a grand piano.
The festival leads ahead
During a board meeting of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival, it was decided to start another fundraising campaign for the purpose. The board put 50,000 in the pot and started the campaign. Ambitious enough, the goal was to raise the money before the opening of the house, May 2017.
Unfortunately, the fundraising campaign came in competition with their own campaign for the purchase of chairs for the main hall. The festival was therefore politely, but firmly asked to end the action. At that time, the action had come halfway, not least due to a larger donation from Vestvågøy Music Council.
The art center opens – with its own grand piano
After a new board meeting in Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival, a request was sent if Vestvågøy Municipality could not count in the 300,000,-, which was then missing. The decision was far-fetched, but in the end there was an allocation of 350,000,- which would also cover shipping from Berlin. The price also included travel and accommodation to Thomas Hübsch to prepare the grand piano for the inauguration in May.
At Easter 2017, the instrument was driven from Berlin to Lofoten with a hired transport agency. The shipping came to 30,000,-.
Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival took the new grand piano into use for the first time during the festival’s opening concert on 10 July 2017. The grand piano then played a significant role, and was more than approved by both the artists and the audience.