BLOG // Taking the Erard on Tour

What follows is the story of a cross-continental tour, taking our Beethoven Erard to three destinations: Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; and Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

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My itinerary: from Ghent to Vienna; from Vienna to Budapest; from Budapest to Cluj-Napoca; then back home over Divišov. Google maps predicts 3,775 km or 41 hours of driving.

The first destination was an invitation long in the making. A conference at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna had been foreseen for 2020. But the Beethoven Year wasn’t meant to be, so 2020 became 2022.

The second felt like a no-brainer: if we’re in Vienna, we might as well drive on to Budapest and also show off our special instrument at the prestigious Franz Liszt Academy.

It’s Cluj-Napoca that felt like the wild card. I had just made new friends through the Romanian Mozart Society. Three’s a charm, so as I looked at the map, I thought: why not drive on to the Gheorghe Dima National Music Academy as well?

Organizing a trip like this comes with hard decisions. Do I take someone with me to help? How much time do I budget in each of the cities, staying sharp from one event to the next while leaving sufficient time for recovery in between? The latter applied both to me and to the piano: it too would need adjusting to changing circumstances.

I decided to embark on the trip on my own. Until days before departure, this meant insisting on rather detailed scenarios with the organizers: who will help me unload and load; will there be parking; can I safely leave the piano in the van if needed; will there be smooth transportation within the venue, from concert to lecture hall; again, will the piano be safe? My focus clearly was on the wellbeing of the “thing,” and taking it on tour started to represent a new chapter of my entanglement with it.

The following is my diary: Tom and his French Piano, if you will.

The following is my diary: Tom and his French Piano, if you will.