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Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215? (Read 7847 times)

Offline iumonito

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Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
« on: March 18, 2005, 06:49:48 AM »
CJ, I have heard from you that you have a 190, which seems to be serving you well.  Did you have a chance to try the 215?

To all, what do you know about these pianos?  If this is the first time you hear about this brand, you can check them out here:

http://www.august-foerster.de/
Money does not make happiness, but it can buy you a piano.  :)

Offline CJ Quinn

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #1 on: March 18, 2005, 08:26:05 AM »
CJ, I have heard from you that you have a 190, which seems to be serving you well.  Did you have a chance to try the 215?


I've played probably 6 or 7 of them over the past year.  They are magnificent.  Jon-nyc and I played an especially nice one 2 or 3 weeks ago while he was still shopping.  He bought a Bosie 200cm this week, but had fine things to say about the AF215.  I'll ask him to comment on this directly, since he was a serious shopper (not a dreamer like me) his input would be useful.
Christopher James Quinn
Brooklyn, Earth

Piano: August Förster 190

mp3s: www.media.cjquinn.com

My Miraculous Brooklyn Piano Teacher:  http://www.racheljimenez.com

Offline jon-nyc

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #2 on: March 18, 2005, 09:06:20 AM »
I concur with Chris. 

I spent the last two months shopping, and seriously considered Fazioli, Grotrian, C. Bechstein, August Förster, and Bösendorfer.    For me, the Bösendorfer won out, but easily my second favorite on the list was the AF 215.

I think the instrument has a great feel, and a delicacy very much like the Bösendorfer -  you don't have to work to play it softly like you do with some other brands.  Tonally its superb, and the bass has a particular clarity.  (this is true even for the 190, which probably has the best sounding bass of all the pianos of that size that I've played)


And to top it off, its by far the best value among Tier 1 European pianos - it comes in at roughly half the price of the Bösendorfer or Fazioli, and is much cheaper than the others I mentioned as well.





Offline iumonito

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #3 on: March 19, 2005, 02:17:56 AM »
Cool.  When you say half of what a Bose or a Fazioli cost, you mean US$35k to $45K or some other number?

BTW, congratulations on your purchase.  I am sure you are loving it.  You may have noticed I'm not  a Bose fan, but I can appreciate what is it that people love about them.  Do you play lots of Schubert and enjoy lieder and chamber music a very whole lot?

And back to the AF.  You got me pondering now, as this was Prokofiev's piano as well, wasn't it?  Seems counterintuitive if they are closer to a Bose than to, say, a Bechstein.  I may need to reevaluate my paradigms (mostly about Prokofiev, right ;?).
Money does not make happiness, but it can buy you a piano.  :)

Offline CJ Quinn

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #4 on: March 19, 2005, 12:42:42 PM »
Cool.  When you say half of what a Bose or a Fazioli cost, you mean US$35k to $45K or some other number?

BTW, congratulations on your purchase.  I am sure you are loving it.  You may have noticed I'm not  a Bose fan, but I can appreciate what is it that people love about them.  Do you play lots of Schubert and enjoy lieder and chamber music a very whole lot?

And back to the AF.  You got me pondering now, as this was Prokofiev's piano as well, wasn't it?  Seems counterintuitive if they are closer to a Bose than to, say, a Bechstein.  I may need to reevaluate my paradigms (mostly about Prokofiev, right ;?).

The price on AF215s probably varies greatly throughout the country- perhaps as by as much as 20%.  Altenburg is known for having very sharp pricing, they in fact buy about 1/2 of the ~120 grands the AF factory produces each year.  The prices on AFs there have not changed in the past year and 1/2 since I was shopping, they tend to absorb the Eruo/Dollar fluctuations.  The 215 is low $40s, the 190 low $30s. 

When I read about Prokofiev having an AF I thought that was odd too.  It just may be a case of AF being a fine piano throughout the Soviet era, and it was easy ( easier?) to get a hold of. 

My recent shopping with Jon has given me a different view towards the AF.  Bosie's have a very different tone, they are both (AF and Bosie 200) mellow but so very different.  The AF (190 and 215) bass has more of a bite to it when played forte+ and overall the piano has a more complex sounding tone.  The Bosie 200 seems incapable of an an ugly sound, even when I play it! The clarity is stunning.  Even the 185, which I found quite disappointing (woody tenor, weak bass) had surreal incredible gorgeous treble.

The more I play different pianos, the more difficult it seems to make comparisons.  The simplistic advice of "play them all" just always comes back to me as ringing very true.
Christopher James Quinn
Brooklyn, Earth

Piano: August Förster 190

mp3s: www.media.cjquinn.com

My Miraculous Brooklyn Piano Teacher:  http://www.racheljimenez.com

Offline jon-nyc

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #5 on: March 19, 2005, 12:56:50 PM »
Cool.  When you say half of what a Bose or a Fazioli cost, you mean US$35k to $45K or some other number?

Yeah, one should be able to get an AF215 in that range. 


BTW, congratulations on your purchase.  I am sure you are loving it.  You may have noticed I'm not  a Bose fan, but I can appreciate what is it that people love about them.  Do you play lots of Schubert and enjoy lieder and chamber music a very whole lot?

Thanks.  I did notice you dissing the Bosie the other day but I decided to fogive you.  Just this once. ;)

I play loads and loads of Ravel, which I think sounds fantastic on a Bosie.  (Incidentally, it sounds pretty good on a Pleyel also.)



And back to the AF.  You got me pondering now, as this was Prokofiev's piano as well, wasn't it?  Seems counterintuitive if they are closer to a Bose than to, say, a Bechstein.  I may need to reevaluate my paradigms (mostly about Prokofiev, right ;?).

I concur with Chris on this.  My current tech grew up in the former Soviet Union and came here in 1991.  He said the AF was one of the most sought-after pianos in the eastern block.  One needed special permission from the Ministry of Culture to get one, he said.



Offline Danm

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #6 on: March 19, 2005, 03:07:56 PM »
Chris says

The more I play different pianos, the more difficult it seems to make comparisons.  The simplistic advice of "play them all" just always comes back to me as ringing very true.

Totally agree. They're all different in subtle ways.

Also I can say I never met a piano I didn't like. OK I only try the good ones (still haven't played any low priced Chinese pianos), but the differences on all of them came down to small matters of preference and price to me.

Offline CJ Quinn

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #7 on: March 19, 2005, 03:38:30 PM »
Totally agree. They're all different in subtle ways.


And not so subtle...

Good to see you Dan! (I don;t post at PW anymore, in case you did not know)
Christopher James Quinn
Brooklyn, Earth

Piano: August Förster 190

mp3s: www.media.cjquinn.com

My Miraculous Brooklyn Piano Teacher:  http://www.racheljimenez.com

Offline chickering9

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #8 on: March 19, 2005, 03:39:46 PM »
Chris says

The more I play different pianos, the more difficult it seems to make comparisons.  The simplistic advice of "play them all" just always comes back to me as ringing very true.

Totally agree. They're all different in subtle ways.

Also I can say I never met a piano I didn't like. OK I only try the good ones (still haven't played any low priced Chinese pianos), but the differences on all of them came down to small matters of preference and price to me.

I have come to Chris's conclusion myself.  

But I also concur with Dan's "I can say I never met a piano I didn't like".  The worst little thing I ever met was a C2.  Awful woody tenor and action like bricks.  I nearly hauled it home from the little shop a couple of blocks away where it was so abused.  They're sort of like stray cats.  Even those scraggly mangy ones have some potential with a little proper care and feeding.  I rescued one that had sat abused and unloved in that little shop for two years and brought it home and gave it some TLC and sold it to a good home in one day.  That hadn't been the plan, but I realized when I had one in every room except the bathroom that one can not just keep picking up stray pianos every time one's heart goes out to one in need. :'(

Offline chickering9

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #9 on: March 19, 2005, 03:43:20 PM »

 (I don;t post at PW anymore, in case you did not know)

Forcing some of the lazier among us to get off our duffs and start talking pricing "transparency" and play consumer advocate in your absence.    :(

Offline chickering9

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #10 on: March 19, 2005, 03:48:59 PM »
My current tech grew up in the former Soviet Union and came here in 1991.  He said the AF was one of the most sought-after pianos in the eastern block.  One needed special permission from the Ministry of Culture to get one, he said.

Considering the great secrecy and the Stallinist regime here, I might imagine Chris could well have overlooked some new law requiring special permission and Homeland Security will be impounding his AF any day now.  It's not as if he's hidden the fact he owns one.  :P

Offline CJ Quinn

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #11 on: March 19, 2005, 03:55:37 PM »


Considering the great secrecy and the Stallinist regime here, I might imagine Chris could well have overlooked some new law requiring special permission and Homeland Security will be impounding his AF any day now.  It's not as if he's hidden the fact he owns one.  :P

"Are you NOW or have you ever been a COMMUNIST piano owner"     ;D
Christopher James Quinn
Brooklyn, Earth

Piano: August Förster 190

mp3s: www.media.cjquinn.com

My Miraculous Brooklyn Piano Teacher:  http://www.racheljimenez.com

Offline CJ Quinn

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #12 on: March 19, 2005, 04:01:03 PM »


Forcing some of the lazier among us to get off our duffs and start talking pricing "transparency" and play consumer advocate in your absence.    :(

Surely you, sir, have better ways to spend your time!  Stick around here, it's far more civil.
Christopher James Quinn
Brooklyn, Earth

Piano: August Förster 190

mp3s: www.media.cjquinn.com

My Miraculous Brooklyn Piano Teacher:  http://www.racheljimenez.com

Offline chickering9

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #13 on: March 19, 2005, 04:07:25 PM »
Surely you, sir, have better ways to spend your time!  Stick around here, it's far more civil.

I keep being reminded of that line in "Gone With The Wind", where Rhett tells Scarlett, "I've always been a sucker for a lost cause, once it's truly lost".

Offline Axtremus

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #14 on: March 19, 2005, 04:29:53 PM »
"I've always been a sucker for a lost cause, once it's truly lost".
Hence the affinity for stray pianos? ;)

Offline chickering9

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #15 on: March 19, 2005, 04:31:53 PM »

Hence the affinity for stray pianos? ;)

Exactly. ;D

Offline Danm

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #16 on: March 19, 2005, 10:46:20 PM »
Hi Chris,
   I heard you had left. I don't go much on piano world either, I don't get much from the group, plus I'd rather be practicing anyhow  ;D

   When I was seriously shopping for a new piano I think I believed that the differences were huge. But as time goes on, honestly looking at it once you get into 'tier 1' or 'tier 2', it seems to me to be not so great.

    I got to play a few Fazioli's in Germany. Lovely pianos, really wonderful. But they certainly didn't seem orders of magnitude better than any of the other fine pianos I've played (or own  ;) )

Dan


Offline jon-nyc

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #17 on: March 21, 2005, 02:53:22 AM »
    I got to play a few Fazioli's in Germany. Lovely pianos, really wonderful. But they certainly didn't seem orders of magnitude better than any of the other fine pianos I've played (or own  ;) )

So Dan - what do you own???

Offline G.Fiore

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #18 on: March 21, 2005, 03:49:25 AM »
 Dan,  the differences the Fazioli offers can't  readily be  seen by the naked eye.  It's the quality of materials/ workmanship, and the detailed refinement of scale/manufacturing processes of this piano that puts it in a class by itself.  In other words, perhaps it's outstanding qualities can only be appreciated by a piano technician or engineer, and not the general public.
George Fiore /aka Curry
 Piano Technician serving the central New Jersey area

Offline Danm

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #19 on: March 21, 2005, 04:04:25 AM »
Jon,
   I own a ... Charles Walter 190!    ;)

G.Fiore
    Am I the general public? Actually I'm both an engineer and a physicist, I played the Fazioli while on a business trip to Stuttgart. Beyond that I've studied piano design pretty seriously (I just can't resist),  I do know a few things about it.
    The Fazioli is a fine piano, but I believe they use compression crowning - which is a practice which should have died out a long time ago. They did a great job on the killer octaves, but nothing much better than what I'm used to. 
    One of the attractions for the CW190 to me was the modern engineering and build construction and care that goes into them. Do I dare to compare the 'tier 2' CW190 to the 'tier 1' Fazioli? No - just reporting my honest impressions.

Dan

Offline G.Fiore

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #20 on: March 21, 2005, 04:38:10 AM »
 NO offense meant Dan. The Fazioli is rib crowned not compression crowned. The C. Walter is a fine instrument, and Del Fandrich is an excellent scale designer and engineer.
George Fiore /aka Curry
 Piano Technician serving the central New Jersey area

Offline Axtremus

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #21 on: March 21, 2005, 04:53:06 AM »
... the differences the Fazioli offers can't  readily be  seen by the naked eye.  ...  In other words, perhaps it's outstanding qualities can only be appreciated by a piano technician or engineer, and not the general public.

Reminds me of the Segway with all its advanced technology and its hefty price tag, and this little Segway-hack that would serve the general public just as well and most likely with a much lower price tag without the fancy technology that would tickle the geeks pink.

That said, I mean no disrespect to Fazioli. My personal experience has been that Fazioli makes the most intuitive, most satisfying piano that I've ever played (the F-228), and I felt it before I even know who/what Fazioli is and what price tag it carries. So I concede that whatever it is that Fazioli put into their F-228, it has an effect on me as a member of the "general public." ;)

Offline Danm

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #22 on: March 21, 2005, 02:56:05 PM »
Curry,
  None taken! Good to hear about the ribs, I think I heard about the compression crowning on PTG website or something, obviously it was erronous (I did have a hard time believing they would do that).
  And I don't mean to imply that my piano is as good as the Fazioli, just that at five times the price I'm not sure it's five times the value, that was my only point. Or maybe I'm just jealous  :P
  And speaking of which, the prices over there are considerably cheaper then here, more in line with S&S prices (before haggling). For some reason, they get jacked up before they get sent to the states.

Offline iumonito

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #23 on: March 22, 2005, 03:50:24 AM »
Oh, well, now please share.  What is this number that Faziolis sell for in Europe?

And to Fiore, there is no innovation in piano construction worth the paper where it is drawn if it cannot be appreciated by the people who play the pianos.
Money does not make happiness, but it can buy you a piano.  :)

Offline Danm

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #24 on: March 22, 2005, 04:03:38 AM »
iumonito,
   Oh I forget the numbers (and the model names even). I got rid of the literature he gave me also, but if I recall that they were something around 60k EU, for a 6 or 7 footer. Like I said, about the price of S&S over here, and seemed about half what they cost in the states. Plus there could be negotiation room, I don't know.
   Fazioli doesn't seem to want to sell to the States for some reason, with prices like this (not even including the exchange rate)

Dan

Offline G.Fiore

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #25 on: March 22, 2005, 04:53:07 AM »
 Iumonito,  as my good friend Keith Kerman would say. Great pianos are like fine wine. One must be educated and have a keen sense of taste to appreciate what others possibly can't. ;)
George Fiore /aka Curry
 Piano Technician serving the central New Jersey area

Offline CJ Quinn

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #26 on: March 22, 2005, 10:57:08 AM »
When I was seriously shopping for a new piano I think I believed that the differences were huge. But as time goes on, honestly looking at it once you get into 'tier 1' or 'tier 2', it seems to me to be not so great.

Dan, do you mean the differences in build quality or in touch/tone?
Christopher James Quinn
Brooklyn, Earth

Piano: August Förster 190

mp3s: www.media.cjquinn.com

My Miraculous Brooklyn Piano Teacher:  http://www.racheljimenez.com

Offline iumonito

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #27 on: March 22, 2005, 04:45:43 PM »
Iumonito,  as my good friend Keith Kerman would say. Great pianos are like fine wine. One must be educated and have a keen sense of taste to appreciate what others possibly can't. ;)

What a lively discussion.  :)  Like with wine, I actually think a good one can be appreciated by anyone.  The connoscienti will enjoy very fully, and will likely enjoy the why as much as the it, but the ignorant still has ears and limbs and will appreciate the it all the same.

I would be glad to hear finally there is one thing I disagree on with Keith.  (Private joke, that and how to say cheesy in Italian).  Alas, if he chimes in maybe we will get a clarification on his position on this. 
Money does not make happiness, but it can buy you a piano.  :)

Offline Danm

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #28 on: March 22, 2005, 07:41:16 PM »
Good catch Chris. I think your hinting at something which is correct, that the differences in tone were not so great to my ears - which is what I really pay attention to since in the end that's what really matters it seems to me. But the differences in touch were large. My Walter certainly didn't have the best touch, but a Bosendorfer I played did. The Walter touch is good, rather straightforward and easy to control to pianissimo, but not something to go crazy over.

The Fazioli had a great touch, seemed similiar to the Shiguru actually. It was one designed for power, you could really feel some heft in it, kind of like swinging a hammer. That Bosendorfer almost played itself, it wasn't designed for as much power but for 'ease of use'.

By the way, I happened across the original information about the Fazioli by accident. I was visiting Ron Overs page again and found it

http://overspianos.com.au/fazioli.html#Fazioli%20Pianos

Ron seems like a reputable guy who knows his stuff. Interesting points in here about the Fazioli, plus some detailed claims that they compression crown.

Dan

Offline chickering9

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #29 on: March 22, 2005, 09:13:16 PM »
...Ron seems like a reputable guy who knows his stuff. Interesting points in here about the Fazioli, plus some detailed claims that they compression crown.

His description is certainly quite clearly "compression crowning".  Fiore/Curry said they were rib-crowned.  I consider both Overs and Curry to be sources of good information and insight.  So who's correct here?

(Hoping Curry is as I prefer rib-crowning in theory, with some buttressing for that belief from a 108-year-old rib-crowned soundboard a few feet away that still has great projection, tone and sustain.  As if it matters for me with Fazioli, unless I win the lottery.)

Offline G.Fiore

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #30 on: March 22, 2005, 09:19:30 PM »
 Chick, Ron Overs review is ten years old.  A lot has changed in Fazioli's production methods since that time. They are now using a hybrid between compression and rib crowning. :)
George Fiore /aka Curry
 Piano Technician serving the central New Jersey area

Offline chickering9

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #31 on: March 22, 2005, 09:52:32 PM »
Chick, Ron Overs review is ten years old.  A lot has changed in Fazioli's production methods since that time. They are now using a hybrid between compression and rib crowning. :)

Is that hybrid what is sometimes referred to as S&RC (not sure where the "&" goes)?

Nice to know that my dreams of a Fazioli 308 have not been destroyed by their use of a purely compression-crowned board!  Now what were those lottery numbers I was using... :P

Offline rich_galassini

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #32 on: March 22, 2005, 10:24:48 PM »
Quote
I would be glad to hear finally there is one thing I disagree on with Keith.  (Private joke, that and how to say cheesy in Italian). Alas, if he chimes in maybe we will get a clarification on his position on this.


"Amo per mangiare il formaggio, ma non sono del formaggio."

This means - I like to eat cheese, but I ain't cheesy.

BTW, I totally respect anything curry says regarding specs. He is actually something of a piano encyclopedia, for those who have not met him. He uncannily remembers the science and math of scales right down to stringing specs.

Messing with curry is like messing with Del Fandrich. You may feel like you won sometimes, but it is only because you are arguing with a gentleman.
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Philadelphia, Pa.
215 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com

Offline CJ Quinn

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #33 on: March 23, 2005, 12:07:59 AM »

 Alas, if he [Keith] chimes in maybe we will get a clarification on his position on this. 

I think Keith is boycotting this site because I could not talk Jon-NYC into buying a Steingraeber.    ;D
Christopher James Quinn
Brooklyn, Earth

Piano: August Förster 190

mp3s: www.media.cjquinn.com

My Miraculous Brooklyn Piano Teacher:  http://www.racheljimenez.com

Offline moltoconbrio

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Re: Anyone out there owns an August Foerster 215?
«Reply #34 on: May 24, 2016, 05:11:29 PM »
A little late in seeing this question.  But I'll respond.  I have owned an August Forster 215 for 10 years now and want to comment on it because I have much passion for the instrument.  I'm a professional pianist in the Seattle area and teacher/owner of SnoValley Piano Studio on the Ridge, now in its 17th year as a full studio.  The Forster has been wonderful, as my practice piano for recitals here and also as a great teaching instrument.  Every technician I have had to maintain it has said its a remarkable instrument in every way.  There's nothing negative to say about it, but there's more:  It's  a truly wonderful instrument.  I grow up on Steinway B's, the piano, or two, in every teaching room at Mannes College of Music in NYC.  The Forster is different than the Steinway. But in no way less of an instrument.  The action is superbly responsive, the tone glorious, especially in the bass.  I'm happy with the piano and need now to sell it because we are moving to a smaller place.  If you know anyone who wants a very fine piano let me know.  Bob Pajer