Europiano's Successful but Thorny Path of Progress

Reflections on the 35th Anniversary 1985
A day to remember as far as old hands in the trade arc concerned - and one trial newcomers might likewise do well lo mark, learn and digest: the European Union of Piano Manufacturers' Associations has come lo celebrate its 35th anniversary in 1985 after being founded in 1950 at the Ludwigsburg College of Instrument Making, stimulated into existence by Swiss and Dutch piano makers. Still suffering from the aftermath of World War II, the early organization, despite the amount of enthusiasm in which it bounded, was nevertheless quite vuncrable in its years of incipience. Soon the Dutch delegation abandoned the ship, the outcome of a top-level personnel crisis. Unde-jected in spirit, the Swiss Association continued to act as a solitary pillar of strength to the movement, which benefitted from the farsightedness of such members as Albert Haf-ner, Hans Ramseyer, Armin Jacobi and Oswald Sasso. The turn of the tide came in the sultry summer meeting staged in Stuttgart in 1958 which resulted in the foundation of the German Piano Manufacturers' Association in October of ihe same year, again at the Ludwigsburg College, with the Director of Studies, Karl Jung, being appointed secretary of the European Federation of Piano Technicians and Tuners. From now on everything seemed to advance from strength to strength, International meetings were held which resulted in contacts being established far beyond ihe European continent The first of these large-scale get-togethers was in Korscnacn :>wu-zerland in 1959, followed a year later by the Remscheid (Germany) Congress and in 1962 by meeting on the Isle of Mainau (Lake Constance) which turned out lo be an unforgettable experience. Meanwhile the name Europiano had been coined, headed by Oswald Sasso who, from the outset, threw himself into the task of guiding the organization on its future career. A born polyglot, he projected his whole personality and professional experience into the undertaking. Europiano now began to lake shape. Its European image, however, actually came to be formed when the national associations of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, France. Italy and Norway became fully integrated, enhanced by a Mood of applications for personal membership received from almost every country in Eastern and Western Europe, bonds of cordial relationship also being established with colleagues from the GDR. Whal followed now were some really wonderful and inspiring moments of shared company. The 1965 Berlin Congress marked the beginning of a consolidated venture which took us to such places as Paris, Copenhagen, Bozen, Wiesbaden, Biel, Vienna London, Evreux, Karlsruhe,Helsinki, Alès and Ancona. Today Europiano has developed into a might stronghold. Membership continues to grow from year to year in an institution that has come to qualify for recognition not only in international realms of piano construction, but in professional music-making spheres as well. Relations to national associations in the US and Japan are in the process of being formed, while everything is being done to build up a liaison with the remaining nations of Europe, especially Britain, that are not yet represented in Europiano. As may be seen, there is still quite a lot of work to be accomplished if we are to boast an organization that is well and truly Europeaa Oswald Sasso went all out in an attempt to establish and maintain contact to the above „problem areas". His successor, Hans Quispel (Rotterdam) tried to do the same, and the acting President, Fritz Grossenbacher (Switzerland), also has his fair share of problems to solve. In so doing he is fortunate in being able to rely on the support of all national associations affiliated to Europiano which have developed into efficient and really dynamic establishments over the years while displaying solidarity with the parent organization, Europiano, to which their own existence owes such a great deal. A feeling of pride is also experienced when one observes the amount of active involvement indulged in by young members who continue to swell the ranks. After 35 years of Europiano our aims and objectives are still the same: vivos voco, mortuos plango, fulgura frango which, applied to the first person plural, may be interpreted thus: we appeal to the living, we mourn the dead, we cast away the Fulminator's thunderbolts - the problems that lie ahead of us.