History of the piano

The scheduled lecture focuses on the origin of a new instrument which has earned a name of grand piano throughout centuries, the development of its construction and the connection to keyboard’s music evolution. The lecture will also include the expose on the instrument’s position in music culture in its relatively short life (approx. 320 years). The main part of the lecture explains the use of the most essential inventions implemented in this instrument in its constructional evolution. Some elements of terminology associated with antique, historical and modern instruments will also be included yet this section is dependent on the time available.

Benjamin Vogel – Professor Emeritus of the University of Szczecin (Chair of Artistic Education) and Associate Professor at the Institute of Musicology, Lund University, Sweden. Specialises in instrumentology. A graduate in musicology at the University of Warsaw (1973), where he received his PhD in 1977 (Musical instruments in the culture of the Polish Kingdom 1815-1914, Kraków 1980) and habilitated in 1988 (The Polish piano. The construction of pianos on Polish territory from the mid 18th century to World War II, Warsaw 1995), and where he was employed until 1994. He is also the author of Dictionary of violin makers active on historical and current Polish lands and of Polish violin makers active abroad until 1950 (Szczecin 2007; 2nd ed. Bydgoszcz 2019) and of catalogues: The Andrzej Szwalbe Collection of Historical Pianos in Ostromecko (Bydgoszcz 2016) and The Collection of Historical Pianos of the Museum of Industrial History in Opatówek (Opatówek 2020); articles in professional journals in Poland (“Ruch Muzyczny”, “Muzyka”, “Rocznik Chopinowski”) and abroad (“Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society”, “The Galpin Society Journal”, “Svensk Tidskrift för Musikforskning”), dictionary and encyclopaedic entries (Encyklopedia muzyki, PWN; Encyklopedia muzyczna PWM; Polski Słownik Biograficzny; Encyklopedia Gdańska; Encyklopedia Szczecina; Encyclopedia of Keyboard Instruments, New York 1994; Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. 2, Bärenreiter 1999-2007; The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 2nd ed., Oxford 2014). Co-author of the National Institute of Music and Dance web portals Polish Folk Musical Instruments (2014), Piano in Polish Collections (2015) and Violin in Polish Collections (2016). Member of the Polish Composers’ Union, the Union of Polish Violin Makers, the American Musical Instrument Society and Svenska samfundet för musikforskning, as well as member of the Programme Council of the Fryderyk Chopin National Institute (2007-2011) and honorary member of the Association of Polish Piano Tuners.

Event partner

Lecture: 3 September (Saturday), 9.00 am, Universe 1


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