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The Piano

The Pleyel Double Grand Piano at Asbury United Methodist Church is 1 of 7 Pleyel double grand pianos known to remain in the world, and the only playable Pleyel double grand in the Western Hemisphere.

It has two separate, facing keyboards with two complete & separate sets of strings, on one shared soundboard. The resonance created by this design is akin to the extra harmonics created by a 12-string guitar - only with over 460 strings!

While creating great opportunities for duo and quartet performances, the rich sound of the additional strings and soundboard create a luxurious sound for a single pianist.

The piano is owned by FMTA and is currently housed in Bettendorf, Iowa, through an agreement with Asbury United Methodist Church.

Events

April 9th, 2022: QC Piano Ensemble Festival
3:00: Free concert featuring local QC piano student ensembles and special guest artists DĂșo Mistral of the University of Chile

*Masterclass at 10:30 a.m. open to the public

Events held at Asbury United Methodist Church (see below for details)

Past performers:

  • Lily Arbisser, NFMC Young Artist, Women's Voice 2019-2021
  • Asbury Pleyel Quartet
  • Nathan Carterette
  • Chamber Music Quad Cities
  • Dr. Elise Cooper, Emmaus Bible College
  • Dr. Juliana Han, Augustana College
  • Happy Dog Duo, NFMC Ellis Duo Young Artist 2017-2019
  • Dr. Sharon Jensen, Clarke University
  • Dr. Marian Lee, St. Ambrose University
  • Pleyel Piano Players
  • Dr. Charles Schmidt, Augustana College
  • Stopulos Brothers Duo, Des Moines, Iowa

Location

Asbury United Methodist Church
1809 Mississippi Boulevard
Bettendorf, Iowa 52722

History

Historic Pleyel Double Grand Piano: From Paris to Bettendorf - The Amazing Journey of the Pleyel Double Grand Piano

By 1890, wealthy music lovers yearned to own two grand pianos for their salons, but most lacked the necessary floor space. Two grands were needed to perform both orchestral reductions of symphonies and piano concertos. To satisfy that demand, Pleyel and Company of Paris invented the double grand piano. The instrument combined two grand pianos into one - with two facing keyboards, and a new frame on which two sets of identical strings were mounted head-to-tail with their own bridges, but with a shared soundboard. 

Pleyel's instrument, patented as the "Duo-Clave," began manufacture in 1897 and continued until 1946. It is believed that 74 Pleyel double grands were manufactured during this period.

The Pleyel double grand owned by FMTA came to the Quad Cities by way of its last, previous owner, Joe and Thea Leclair. They acquired the piano while Joe was commissioned by the US military in Paris. Upon her passing, Thea, a lifelong member of IFMC (Iowa Federation of Music Clubs), wished that the piano would stay in the Quad Cities and be played. 

In February 2010, FMTA voted to begin fundraising to restore Thea's piano. In the Fall of 2017, FMTA acquired full ownership of the piano. On November 21, 2017, the piano was moved to Premier Piano Service of Walker, Iowa, for complete restoration. On October 26, 2018, the fully restored piano returned to the Quad Cities and is currently housed at Asbury United Methodist where Thea was a member for fifty years. Research indicated this is the only Pleyel double grand piano in the Western Hemisphere on which performances are possible, allowed and welcomed. 

The serial number of Thea's piano was key to unlocking its personal history. Pleyel serial No. 133165, manufacturing No. 21237 indicated it's a small model (2 meters, 46 centimeters), with an original rosewood veneer finish. The serial number indicates the 'end of manufacturing' date of November 10, 1904, and purchased December 20, 1904 by Marguerite de Saint-Marceaux for 3,600 Francs.

The FMTA's mahogany case is 4' 9.5" wide, 8' long, and 1' 7" deep. It weighs approximately 1,320 pounds. At some point, it was refinished in black

Donations

Donations can be made online with a credit card through the following link:

Donate

...or by sending a check payable to "FMTA - Pleyel Project" to:

Dick Sessler, Pleyel Committee Treasurer
2019 Mulberry Avenue
Muscatine, IA 52761

FMTA, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and IFMC are members of NFMC (National Federation of Music Clubs).

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