Tori Amos on her traveling Bosendorfer piano, which is shipped to accompany her to concerts. When she's home, she plays a second, 2.8 meter Bosendorfer. More, from a story in yesterday's Financial Times:
"You have to pick one that matches your personality, and these pianos are each unique. It's like Stradivarius with his violins, each one is different from the next." The sounding parts of Bosendorfer's instruments, like those of Stradivarius, are made of spruce from Italy's Flemme Valley. The trademark Bosendorfer quirk is the nine extra keys in the lowest register, the only piano to diverge from the centuries-old standard 88. Amos is a fan of the extra keys. "They're my sub-woofers," she says. "In a live show, they have a great effect. The low sound really kicks you in the stomach."
Amos visited the Bosendorfer factory in Vienna recently and was impressed with the workers' artistry. "When you get into the inner Bosendorfer sanctum, the guys have their hands on this precious wood and are looking at naked pin-ups of beautiful women's bodies and listening to "Sticky Fingers" by the Rolling Stones. It's not vulgar, though, it's about crafting beautiful instruments with sensuality."
Amos said, "When you pick the right piano, it's like a love affair. Your instrument becomes a family member, only these ones are like great wine, they last forever. The worms will have eaten me and my Boozy [Bosendorfer] will be sitting there, knowing every one of my secrets."
Bosendorfer sells fewer than 500 pianos a year; Steinway sold 8,100 last year. 99% of concert pianists in the US, and 95% worldwide, play Steinways.