Capitol Furnishings
The State’s Moldenhauer Blüthner Piano

​The Blüthner piano was a prized possession of musicologist and Spokane musical legend,  Dr. Hans Moldenhauer.  In 1938, it made the trip with his young family from Germany with a stop in the Bronx, New York before being transported across the United States to its home in Spokane where it resided for nearly 50 years.

Made in 1893 in Leipzig, Germany, this is a 6-foot 3-inch grand piano and its furniture style spans the late 19th Century.  It has a light rosewood veneer with the black accent moldings of the "Empire" style. It has turned legs, fret-work music desk, and carved acanthus leaf decorations on either side of the ivory keyboard.  

Blüthner is one of the three "B's" of German piano makers, the others being Bechstein and Bosendorfer.  Their design is often innovative and this piano is no exception.  The soft pedal on most grand pianos physically slides the keyboard sideways so that the hammers only strike two of the three strings per note.  On this piano, the soft pedal moves the hammers closer to the strings so that there is less distance for the hammer to travel.  To compensate for the feeling of "lost motion" in the keys, there is also a steel bar that lifts the back end of the keys.

In 1990, the piano was presented to the State of Washington as a gift from the Hans Moldenhauer Estate and placed in the State Reception Room of the State Capitol Building.  After 27 years in public service, the piano was in need of restoration.

Concern about the deteriorating condition of the piano limited its use.  The piano's condition came to the attention of the Capitol Furnishings Preservation Committee which was instrumental in securing funding from the State Legislature in 2015 for the piano's restoration.

The goal of this restoration has been to return the State's Moldenhauer Blüthner Grand Piano to as near original aesthetic and performance condition as is practical, with keyboard and action which is easy and responsive to the pianist, sound that is beautiful and appropriate for the intended use, and an appearance that is representative of decorative art furniture, without appearing to be "new."

The restoration has been completed in July 2017 by Ken Eschete of Bentside Arts in Spokane.

Photos of the Restoration

Click the photos to see larger versions

Click the photos to see larger versions

Click the photos to see larger versions


​About Dr. Hans Moldenhauer and the Moldenhauer Archives