The Erard grand piano

The Erard grand piano in the Orgelpark is an extra-grand modèle de concert 260 cm from 1899. In an Erard grand piano the strings run parallel. Modern grand pianos are overstrung, which means that the bass strings cross other strings obliquely. This difference is noticeable in the clarity and timbre of the tones.

At the time, all the musical greats played an Erard grand piano: Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Verdi, Wagner, Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Diepenbrock, and so on. 



Sebastien Erard, born in Strasbourg in 1752 as Sebastian Erhard, counts as one of the greatest mechanical engineers his trade has ever known. In 1768 he moved to Paris to be an apprentice with an – unknown – harpsichord builder. A mere four years later, at 20 years old, his reputation had already been established. The renown of Erard pianos grew to such a size, that many simply used the term ‘an Erard’ when speaking of a pianoforte.


Sebastian Erard remained innovative well into old age. At 69, he developed repetition mechanics and a metal frame. The latter ensured that instruments did not go off key as quickly. Many other inventions by Erard have over time become standard parts of all modern pianos and great pianos. Erard did not only build pianofortes, but also constructed harps. With its perfection and ingenious design, the pedal system of Erard’s harps went beyond anything harpists had dreamt of until that time. Just like how several harpsichord manufacturers of the 18th century had occasionally built ‘claviorganums’ (harpsichords with a few organ registers), Erard developed a pianoforte with an extra organ clavier, the so-called ‘piano organisé’.


Erard has also built ‘true’ organs: in the reformatory of St.-Denis, the concert hall of the Paris conservatory, and the concert hall of the Tuileries Palace. In the latter organ (1827), Erard built a free reed, the first of this kind of organ registers. This so-called ‘Jeu Érard’ has been forgotten as such, but it did contribute to the later popularity of free reeds in organs ánd to the success of the harpsichord, which, after all, is fully based on free reeds.

a Guest­Friend!

Become an Orgelpark GuestFriend

Become a GuestFriend for just 80 euros per season and visit all 80 Orgelpark concerts!

Read more

The Orgelpark originated from the ideals of the Utopa foundation.

With its own initiatives, the Utopa Foundation offers people space to develop their creative talents and further.

Visit the website