History of Rochester
The European knight, Since 1835
In 1805, British aristocrat Louie Andrew was born in Rochester-upon-Medway, Kent County. It is a town about 30 miles southeast of London. Andrew had received piano education since childhood, during which he exhibited extraordinary musical talent and became keenly interested in piano production. At that time, the trend of “Grand Tour” in the upper class was rising. Louie Andrew left for France at the age of 20.
Paris and Italy
Approximately from the middle of 1820 to the end of 1830, Louie Andrew had engaged in technical management and sales management in piano manufacturers such as Pleyel and Rogers for five years, during which he accumulated rich experience and knowledge on piano production. Over the following five years, Louie Andrew headed for Italy due to his family business, where he met Luigi Rasori, founder of an Italian piano brand.
The musical atmosphere was notably dynamic in Paris, where he attended various cultural salons and concerts, got acquainted with many renowned musicians and piano manufacturers, and became close friends with them. Thanks to his extreme pursuit of piano timbre and his taste in piano manufacturing, Louie Andrew was struck by the idea of creating his piano brand.
Louie Andrew and His First Piano
In 1835, Louie Andrew ultimately built his piano factory in Paris, France. The technologists were mainly some senior technicians from piano factories such as Pleyel and Bord. They used to be busy with piano production, aircraft machinery, chemical equipment, and piano tuning, etc. Meanwhile, Louie Andrew cooperated with piano manufacturers Rogers and Hatzenbuhler and created his piano brand “Rochester”. Rochester was Louie Andrew’s hometown. By doing so, he aimed to commemorate the traditional British knighthood spirit featuring fairness, justice, and freedom while cherishing the memory of his hometown.
In 1215, King John was forced to compromise under Articles of the Barons, which was proposed by British barons to restrict the monarchy. At the request of nobles, he signed the original Great Charter, which inhibited the monarchy and guaranteed people’s right for freedom. This document written on a parchment restricted the power of the feudal monarch for the first time in history, and later became the legal cornerstone of British constitutional monarchy. However, the king who was unwilling to be restrained broke the promise afterward and launched a civil war. He assembled a mercenary army to besiege the barons, while a knight army led by the barons fought hard in Rochester castles, which, therefore, had evolved into an important symbol of the struggle for fairness, justice, and freedom.
In Rochester-upon-Medway, the Thames River and the Medway River pass around the town, from which Celts, Gauls, and Romans entered London historically. There is one of the best-preserved Romanesque castles. As one of Dickens’ favorite cities, it was initially built in the 7th century.
In 1837, the famous French pianist Kalkbrenner used the Rochester piano in his concert and highly praised it, “The piano is luscious, mellow, and understated in timbre, and demonstrates passion with its abundant granularity and fluency.” Afterward, Rochester was designated as the preferential piano in his concert.
As a coeval musician, Valentin Alkan also favored the Rochester piano. In the joint concert with Chopin in 1838, he used the Rochester piano, making the performance doubly charismatic.
In 1840, the Rochester piano rose to fame in multiple large-scale concerts and thus resulting in the cooperation with the Paris Conservatory of Music. Since then, lots of European conservatories of music have designated it as one of their choices for performance.
In 1845, Rochester’s grand piano and upright piano were awarded the European quality certification by the British certification authority LRQA, with 12 projects such as design, research and development, and production included.
Since 1839, Rochester company has been nominated for Paris Honor a couple of times, and finally won the Paris Medal of Honor in 1949.
The upright piano made by Rochester in 1845 is close to modern simple style in appearance.
An upright piano produced between 1836 and 1838 has currently been broken.
Highly Prestigious European Piano Brand
Rochester is one of the few factories in the world today that still maintain the old traditional craft to produce pianos. Over 60% of employees in French factories have worked in this company for more than three decades. Under the guidance of these old craftsmen, pianos produced at present remain the extraordinary tone quality lasting for more than 180 years.
The Rochester piano has been baptized, tempered, and reborn in the years of history. Because of the highest standards and techniques, as well as the best piano-making masters, Rochester has been endowed with the noble quality like the knight. As the representative of the world’s top handmade piano-making artistry, Rochester is a highly prestigious European piano brand jointly produced by the piano family.