Sauter is the world’s oldest, continuously run piano company, producing pianos since 1819, with family members still involved in the management of the company.
It was 1813 when Johann Grimm applied to become a piano builder with Johann Andreas Streicher, owner of the most famous piano company of its time, in Vienna, Austria. While at the prestigious Streicher Piano Company, the young apprentice was introduced into the art of piano building by the most influential individuals in piano building and music. (Sauter Piano Company recently honored the memory of Johann Andreas Streicher by publishing a CD with his original compositions).
In 1819, impressed by what he had learned at the Streicher factory, Johann Grimm returned to his hometown of Spaichingen, Germany and began to faithfully build square pianos in the tradition that he had been introduced. Johann did not have any children, so he asked his nephew Carl Sauter to join the company and in 1846 transferred its ownership to him. Under Carl the company expanded the workshop into a proper manufacturing center employing a dozen apprentices, and soon became the leading piano manufacturer in Southern Germany making sure to adhere exactly to the construction principles handed down from the founder.
After Carl’s early death, Johann Sauter, at the tender age of 17, took the company over along with his mother. It was Johann who left Germany for extensive trips, including a visit to America. Upon his return, he went to work combining the advantages of the US production principles with the tradition of Viennese manufacturing. The business was thriving and Johann Sauter managed to establish the company firmly in Central Europe. The era of Johann Sauter also saw the changeover of production from square pianos to the larger pianoforte.
With the beginning of the 20th century most piano manufacturers ran into economic difficulties. However, Carl Sauter II, who took over the company in 1909, continued to expand the factory and increase production by streamlining and modernizing its assembly. With their outstanding quality and improved models, the excellent sound associated with the name of Sauter was famous throughout Germany, becoming the benchmark for European Piano Craftmanship.
Hans Sauter, who took over the firm in 1948, applied new findings in science and new techniques and materials to the modern craft of piano-building. Soon, the pianos – which both looked and sounded superb – were being exported world-wide. In 1952, the production of grand pianos marked the start of a new era in the company’s history.
In 1982 Ulrich Sauter became part of the company leadership, and the company has yet again come to new heights: The development of the double repetition mechanism, giving the pianos a particularly sensitive touch, and the launch of the high-quality M-Line at the beginning of the 1990s, along with the new concert grand 275 (introduced in 2000) being accepted by many noteworthy artists all across the world. Sauter has also added a designer touch with its exclusive “Sauter – designed by Peter Maly” model range, created especially for modern living environments.
Preserving the heritage, and yet venturing forward into new territory, has made the Sauter Piano Company a leading piano manufacturer in sound, quality and design today. The Carl Sauter factory is among the two leading piano manufacturers who have not given in to outsourcing parts of production to Eastern Europe or Asia.
The technical principles that the Streicher Piano Company embodied are today famous as the Viennese sound. The sound of a Sauter piano most closely resembles the tonal qualities preferred by Mozart and his contemporaries.