Perzina is a German piano maker. The company was founded in 1871 in Schwerin, in the north of Germany. By Julius and Albert Perzina. Though assembly now is located totally in China, the pianos are designed and engineered in Germany. Many of the materials and components come from different parts of Europe. The old manufacturing location in Germany is still owned by one of the principal shareholders for possible future manufacturing.
The history of the Perzina Piano begins on July 1, 1871. on that day Julius and Albert Perzina opened their shop in Schwerin. This small, yet pleasant town was then home to some 40.000 people. It was the capital of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, in the north of Germany. A lake emphaises Schwerin’s beauty. More lakes surround it and just beyond the perimeter a magnificent 19th century Castle guards the town. In 1910 the court pianist, Ida Sothmann, played her Perzina Piano here. By 1919, in turbulent times, the grand Dukes Relinquished their power. In 1871 Julius and Albert were in their late twenties. They were the sons of a Saxon piano builder and wanted to continue their father’s work. The Perzina brothers followed training rooted in the rich traditions of centuries, receiving thorough training in all skills needed to build the perfect instrument. During these Apprentice years, spent travelling and learning, they worked in many shops as journeyman and assistants, the best known of them being the factory of the famous Carl Bechstein. On July 1, 1871 they proudly painted ‘’Gebrüder Perzina’’ (Perzina Brothers) on the dilapidated gable of an old piano factory in Schwerin. It was no more than a large workshop where the Perzina brothers went to work with 12 craftsmen. The process was purely according to traditional methods and completely manual, from the refined woodwork to the casting of the frames. In the first year of the operation 20 pianos were produced. In those days there were almost 500 piano factories all over Germany of which no less than 150 were in Berlin. During the first Decades of the Twentieth century, most of these companies perished. But Perzina survived.
Men and circumstance
The success story of Perzina can be traced to certain people and circumstances. In 1871 the many independent nations of Germany were united under the iron rule of chancellor. Otto von Bismarck and the first German Kaiser. The long awaited unity was a strong impulse to the economy. Tolls and tariffs that existed between those German states were abandoned. In German history these years are called ‘’Gründerjahre’’, the years of foundation, when many companies were founded. This was the first version of what the world was later to recognize as the German ‘’economic miracle’’ .the profits benefited the commoners - compared with countries going though transition- who spend more money on housing, furniture, travel, entertainment and culture. Fathers and mothers wanted to learn how to play, and let their children take piano lessons. The piano took its important place in the average household as an instrument and a piece of furniture. The Perzina brothers profited from this situation, and did so shrewdly, for they combined their vast technical knowledge with a distinct feeling for style and quality. Their piano had to have an outstanding sound, beautiful design and be able to offer pleasure to generations for a sensible price. The company has remained faithful to the formula stated by the brothers Perzina some 140 years ago.
The Perzina piano was received well. Many players and listeners paid the builders compliments. Exhibitions brought many medals in precious metals, diplomas and other paraphernalia. Wherever the Perzina piano was heard it received enthusiastic approval. Royal recognition came in the archduke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin granted the Perzina the title: ‘’piano supplier to the court. Other nobles were soon to follow: Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands joined the Dukes of Oldenburg, Anhalt then married to Hendrik of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. In 1906 she chose Perzina to become the Royal Piano factory. The old sales prospectus and catalogues of the company mention many European Royals and hundreds of other who frankly and abundantly expressed their complete satisfaction with the Perzina product. Among them are many professional musicians, conservatory professors, piano teacher, art critics and piano dealers. The director of the Royal Dutch Opera wrote of Perzina in 1900: ‘’The Perzina pianos distinguish themselves through their remarkably beautiful tone and sound. They are very pleasant to play and are of sound and solid construction. The prices of these instruments are moreover much lower than that of the other first-class pianos. I can hence, with full conviction, warmly recommend ‘’the Perzina piano’’. Also French and English musicians gave enthusiastic recommendations. A music critic wrote about Perzina: ‘’Solid, precise, excellent mechanism, melodious’’. Such recommendations came from many cities and countries in Europe and beyond: Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Constantinople, Cape Town, London, Madrid, Paris and Vienna.
In those days the company letterhead stated ‘’The Largest Piano Factory in Northern Germany’’. Around 1900 the company expanded rapidly. This was mostly the work of Daniel Huss, a son in law of Julius Perzina. Between 1897 and 1917 he was the owner and manager. What started with a production of 20 pianos in1871 had flourished to 1000 in 1910. Perzina had its own steam-driven sawmill, there were branches all over Germany and Europe and a world spanning distribution network was established. Customers in Asia, South America and Australia were gladly served. The export to the wide tableau covering all kinds of pianos in many types and colors. There were also electric pianos (pianolas), and of course the Grand Production of Perzina Grand Pianos Started in 1905. Just like the uprights, the grand pianos easily found their way to concert halls, conservatories and music lovers.
Innovation and tradition
The turnaround of 1990 re-united the German People once again. Free enterprise got the chance to rebuild the East. The ‘’Deutsche Treuhand Anstalt ’’. Responsible for the organization of the economic transition, looked to the west for new investors for the Perzina asset. This was a unique opportunity for a group of investors with a long established experience in the production and trade of pianos. After many decades of not producing pianos, the company was reorganized with the principles and values of the Perzina brothers in mind, and again experienced international success. The production process has been thoroughly modernized. Thus a young Chinese-Made Perzina, with a name only 130 years old, is now available again. All over the world piano’s wearing their ‘’Gebrüder Perzina-signature’’, are once again heard.
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (January 2008)|