Music

'It was my best friend': Angela Hewitt devastated by destruction of her piano

Accidentally dropped by movers, her Fazioli concert grand is not salvageable.

Accidentally dropped by movers, her Fazioli concert grand is not salvageable

Pianist Angela Hewitt performs a recital at the 2018 Trasimeno Music Festival. (Trasimeno Music Festival)

Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt took to Facebook on Feb. 9 to express her dismay over the accidental destruction of her beloved Fazioli grand piano.

Hewitt had just completed recording sessions in Berlin for a forthcoming album of Beethoven Variations when she received news that movers had accidentally dropped her piano, damaging it beyond repair.

This is the piano with which Hewitt has made all her recordings in Europe since 2003. "I adored this piano. It was my best friend, best companion," she reflected, before resigning herself to acquiring a new Fazioli in the coming months. Along with jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, Hewitt has been Fazioli's most prominent ambassador for two decades, helping to raise the profile of this Italian brand of piano. Prices of Fazioli grands start at $139,998.

Read Hewitt's full account, below.


I feel ready now to share a very sad piece of news. It happened ten days ago, and has been such a shock to me that I didn't immediately want to share it with the world. For the moment I will just write this, and not comment further. At the end of my most recent CD recording sessions (Beethoven Variations in Berlin), when I was so happy with the results and feeling elated, the piano movers came into the control room (where I was finishing up with my producer) to say they had dropped my precious Fazioli concert grand piano. My very own that I have used for all of my CD recordings done in Europe since 2003 (and of course for many concerts). I couldn't believe it. Well yes, it happened, and unfortunately the piano, now that it has been inspected by Ing. Fazioli and his staff, is not salvageable. The iron frame is broken, as well as much else in the structure and action (not to mention the lid and other parts of the case). It makes no sense, financially or artistically, to rebuild this piano from scratch. It's kaputt. The movers of course were mortified. In 35 years of doing their job, this had never happened before. At least nobody was hurt.

I adored this piano. It was my best friend, best companion. I loved how it felt when I was recording--giving me the possibility to do anything I wanted. It was also the only F278 Fazioli in the world to have the 4-pedal mechanism (normally reserved for the F308 model). And it only recently had new hammers and strings put on it. You will hear on the Beethoven Variations CD (when it comes out in November, I hope) that it was in top form. Now it is no longer.

For my festival this summer in Umbria, of course we will still have Faziolis — that goes without saying. And at least I have no recording scheduled in the next few months. But now there is all the insurance saga (hopefully this won't take long), and then I can choose a new one in Sacile when Mr. Fazioli has three of them ready for me. But what with his production schedule, and my touring around the world, this will take some months, I imagine.

You can hear this piano on my most recent recording--the Six Partitas of Bach (BBC Music Magazine's Record of the Month, by the way), but also on so many others. One of my favourites for the sheer quality of sound and colour from my Fazioli is the Debussy CD, of which you can hear extracts here. I hope my piano will be happy in piano heaven....

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