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              Estonia


Piano making in Estonia was an art practiced during the late 18th century and has been documented as early as 1779.

The craft had flourished, and during the late 19th and the early 20th century there were nearly 20 independent piano companies. The most notable of these manufacturers was Ernst Hiis-Ihse, whose handmade piano from 1893 became the prototype of the Estonia piano. After the WW II, Mr. Hiis was invited to establish a larger facility, known today as the Estonia Piano Factory.

Estonia made pianos received awards for excellence in design and manufacturing at international competitions in Europe.

They became prominent on concert stages throughout the East, and over 7 400 Concert Grand instruments have been made. Many great pianists, such as Sviatoslav Richter, Dmitry Shostakovitch, Emil Gilels and Claudio Arrau, among others, performed on these pianos. After Mr. Hiis' death in 1964, however, the quality of the pianos gradually declined in part due to the scarcity of high quality parts and materials during the communist regime, and changes that were made to the production methods

     
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