Klaverens Hus – the Centre for Swedish piano culture – was founded in 1998 to preserve the memories of a significant Swedish industry with factories for the production of pianos and grand pianos, harmoniums, and self-playing instruments (or music machines) with a focus from about 1850 to 1987, when the last three Swedish piano factories closed. As the Museum of Music and Theater, Stockholm has merged with the Museum of Performing Arts and thereby gained a different focus for its activities, Klaverens Hus feels a national responsibility for our entire older keyboard history.
The Klaverens Hus Association is a public non-profit organisation that is nationwide, and has been run on this non-profit basis since its founding. The association is an independent, democratically structured organisation (board, working groups and individual contributions) that is open to anyone who pays their membership fee.
Klaverens Hus has the task of preserving, researching, disseminating knowledge about, and enriching our keyboard culture from a holistic perspective – instrument craftsmanship and fabrication, the development of the piano, and the functions of keyboard instruments in society during different eras. Its activities are a national concern on several levels – music and music life, cultural heritage and industrial history – with international scope and significance.
The goal is to document our keyboard culture through the ages and to create a tangible sounding history. The association works for its purpose by working based on three aspects of cultural heritage conservation, all of which are permeated by research:
Preserve and nurture
– build up a representative collection of Swedish keyboard instruments (pianos, grand pianos, harmoniums, self-playing instruments) as well as earlier keyboard instruments
– build up both archives and a research library on keyboard instruments and industrial history
Explore and document
– research and disseminate knowledge about – above all – Swedish keyboard instruments
– create publications, including the magazine Klaver, and documentary recordings
– participate in international research projects on keyboard instruments and their industrial history.
Bring to life
– create a beautiful and instructive exhibition of piano instruments made in Sweden or by Swedish instrument makers abroad
– provide a collection of playable restored historical keyboards for our musical life that reflect the development of music through these instruments
– bring to life our rich cultural heritage in keyboard instrument production and keyboard music through:
- festivals and concerts with historically appropriate keyboard instruments
- lectures and storytelling sessions that illuminate the piano from all aspects
- courses on playing and caring for historical instruments.
The Klaverens Hus collections and activities are unique in Europe, and rare in the rest of the world. The association has a network of researchers, musicians, and museum professionals around the world.
Among those who have visited our concerts are Hans Leygraf, Lucia Negro, Lars Roos, Stefan Bojsten, Niklas Sivelöv, Mats Persson and Kristine Scholz (all pianists), Susanne Rydén (singer) and Mark Tatlow (fortepiano), Mayumi Kamata (clavichord), Gunnar Idenstam (organ), Björn Gäfvert (harpsichord and piano) and Nils-Erik Sparf (violin).
Klaverens Hus manages the main national collections of collections pertaining to the keyboard instrument industry with (for example) diplomas and medals awarded to factories at art, industry and agricultural exhibitions, where cows, pigs and chickens rubbed shoulders with instruments such as harmoniums. There are catalogues from the factories, a unique collection of construction drawings for pianos and organs, wooden models for cast iron frames and tools, machines, materials and photographs in abundance, so that a full factory environment can be reconstructed.
The website has information about Swedish pianos, such as lists of builders from the late 18th century to the end of the 20th century. Through emails and phone calls, we know that the site is used by people who want to know more about instruments they have, search for information about factories and workers (genealogy) or are generally curious.