Georg Friedrich Karl Grotrian was born in Schöningen, Germany in 1803. By 1830 he was running a successful music business in Moscow that also manufactured and sold pianos. After 25 years he returned to his homeland. Soon after, he made the acquaintance of Theodor Steinweg who owned a small piano manufacturing company founded in 1835. In 1855 Grotrian entered into a partnership with Steinweg in his business
In 1858 the company moved to Braunschweig, where Grotrian had purchased the aristocratic house of a medieval mayor at Bohlweg 48, home for the family, central meeting place for their guests and the birthplace of a steadily growing number of excellent instruments.
After Georg Grotrian passed away in 1860, his son Wilhelm furthered the success of the enterprise. In 1865 Theodor Steinweg sold his shares of the business to the Grotrians and left the company. Since then the Grotrian family – on which the name Grotrian-Steinweg was bestowed in 1919 – has continuously been the sole proprietor and management of the company. After Steinweg left, Wilhelm welcomed his two sons, Kurt and Willi, into the business with the following words of advice: “Lads, build good pianos and everything else will take care of itself.”
The turn of the century brought with it a wealth of new innovations in the art of piano building. Many of these advancements were introduced and patented by Grotrian-Steinweg, which not only advanced the quality of their own products, but pushed the construction of pianos forward. For example the homogeneous soundboard, the legendary upright model 120, the first precise scale design, the star-shaped back construction, and many more. The result of this pioneering momentum extends into the present and accounts for Grotrian’s consistent superiority in the field of piano design and construction.
The tradition was maintained by Erwin and Helmut, the sons on Dr. Kurt Grotrian-Steinweg, who died in 1929. Then came World War II, during which nearly the entire factory and the house on Bohlweg fell victim to the bombing raids. It was 1948 before production could be resumed.
The Grotrian-Steinweg family assumes a responsibility that has both artistic and pedagogical dimensions. Not satisfied by only manufacturing upright and grand pianos of the highest possible standards of excellence, they play an active role encouraging young aspiring musicians. In 1954 Grotrian-Steinweg held its first piano competition. This developed into an institution of the highest prestige and worldwide significance, giving new talent the opportunity to excel and take their first steps towards a successful career in the field of music.
By 1974, Knut Grotrian-Steinweg (son of Helmut, fifth generation) was ready to advance into the future, and the company moved into a new state-of-the-art factory. Grotrian-Steinweg realized the dream of a couple of artists by combining 2 Grands under one special lid and connected by a soundboard bridge, a thus far unheard sound event. Both grands can also be used as solo instrument.
Today, with the sixth generation at the helm, Grotrian-Steinweg combines modern technology with the expertise that could only accumulate through 150 years of experience in the true art of piano-making.
The founders’ philosophy of uncompromised quality was incorporated in each instrument since the beginning. The production of instruments grew with the increasing demand and their expanding reputation. Uncounted letters and testimonies of unforgettable artists are then or today a convincing proof. More than 30 emperors, royalties, and nobles awarded Grotrian-Steinweg as their suppliers.