"Bösendorfer is a piano company founded in 1827 in Vienna, Austria. Ignaz Bösendorfer (1794-1859) set up his factory in 1827. In July 1828, the emperor of Austria decreed him authorised to “make and sell pianos, as a citizen and as a master craftsman”. His biggest achievement was providing Franz Liszt with a grand piano that was “sturdy with a beautiful tone” that could withstand the playing of the pianist, who was known at the time for destroying Viennese pianos with his virtuoso performances. The pianist’s support gained Bösendorfer worldwide acclaim. His son Ludwig took over in 1860, opening a new factory with a showroom in the centre of Vienna by the Palais Lichtenstein, as well as a large Bösendorfer concert hall within the former riding school, which then became one of the city’s key cultural centres. The depression of the 1930s affected the company’s output hugely, with only a few hundred pianos being made, and then the second world war destroyed wood stocks and the factory. A small number were produced in the 1950s. Kimball then bought the company, so Bösendorfer had the support of the American giant. The Bösendorfer model 290, also known as the “Imperial”, today remains the emblematic Bösendorfer piano. It contains 97 keys rather than the 88 on standard concert pianos. This larger keyboard contains eight complete octaves (C0 to C8), and is the only model of piano on which some of Bartok, Debussy, Ravel and above all Busoni’s works can be accurately played. Its unusual orchestral sound, produced by its special soundboard, is the reason it was nicknamed “Imperial” soon after it first appeared - the name was not initially used by the company. Today Bösendorfer is entirely owned by the Japanese company Yamaha.