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Pleyel, the world's oldest piano makers still in operation and the favourite of Frédéric Chopin, are to shut their last workshop in a symbolic blow for the once mighty flagship of French artistic savoir-faire and industry.

Since Ignaz Pleyel, an accomplished composer-musician and friend of Joseph Haydn, launched his first French manufacturing plant in 1807, the brand has continuously produced pianos for more than 200 years.

It was Pleyel who introduced the upright piano to France, who first used a metallic frame in his pianos and invented the sound known as "sustained".
His pianos' rich, velvety tones charmed Chopin, for whom Pleyel was the official piano supplier, but also a host of illustrious names including Liszt, Debussy, Grieg, Ravel and Stravinksy.

Many of the 250,000 Pleyels built in the past two centuries still furnish countless French homes, while the Salle Pleyel, designed to showcase them, is Paris' most prestigious concert hall.

Have the heart of a gypsy, and the dedication of a soldier -Beethoven in Beethoven Lives Upstairs

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