Following international women’s day earlier this month, a series of articles have been published across the world commenting on women in the music industry. In the classical world, women musicians are still a relatively new phenomenon. Women composers and conductors are still scarce, although they are definitely on the rise. Read on to find out about Nannette Stein’s story.
A particularly interesting story which has materialised in the Sydney Morning Herald, is that of Nanette Stein. Nanette was an incredibly talented child pianist and had actually played for Mozart. In 1972 at the age of 23, she took over her father’s business and moved the whole thing over to Vienna where there was a bigger demand for instruments. Nanette ’s piano factory was effectively one of the first in the world and at the time it was highly unusual for a woman to be running such a major (and lucrative) operation. When the factory was run under the direction of Nanette ’s father, it produced about 17 pianos a year, however once she was in charge the production of pianos increased to an amazing 53 pianos in a year.
Thanks to factories like Nanette ’s, the piano started to become a highly sought after commodity for the upper and middle classes in Victorian England.
“…as with any high-end product, emerging technology soon liberated the piano from exclusivity.”
The scale on which piano factories began to work has a direct correlation with the industrial revolution. The article from the Sydney Herald comments;
“As the product equally of art and commerce, the piano walked hand in hand with the Industrial Revolution. In its large-scale production, the instrument was one of the first consumer items to face competition from rival nations. Annual production worldwide increased almost tenfold in the second half of the 19th century; by 1910 it was 500,000. But despite the piano’s cutting-edge relationship to technology and manufacturing, playing the instrument was seen as a recreation for girls rather than boys.”
If You’re Feeling Inspired…
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