I’ve just returned from a very interesting trip to visit the Petrof piano factory in the Czech Republic. The factory is situated in the historic city of Hradec Králóve, around 70 miles east of Prague. The occasion was Petrof’s 150th anniversary of manufacturing upright and grand pianos.

To have reached this milestone is a considerable achievement, especially in view of such challenging economic times. It begs the question – why has Petrof survived (and is thriving) when so many other piano makers have given up, or have been bought over?

I believe it all comes down to the degree of individual attention and handwork which goes into these pianos. They are still made in the traditional, labour intensive way by skilled craftsmen and woman. This is very refreshing, in an era when many instruments roll off an automated production line, with the barest of human intervention.

It’s a difficult quality to define, buy Petrof pianos have real character. The instruments typically have a warm, mellow tone which is not common or typical these days.

It’s obvious that the Petrof family, headed by Zuzana (Susan) Petrof still really believe in what they are doing. Fellow piano dealers came from all over the world to help celebrate with Petrof, and everyone I spoke to came away with renewed enthusiasm for the company and the pianos.

I hadn’t intended to buy any pianos while over there, but I just couldn’t resist. I’m really looking forward to receiving the next consignment of Petrof pianos!