Chris Maene Workshop
Chris Maene was born in 1953 and learned the craft of instrument builder in the piano workshop of his parents, Albert Maene and Zulma Doutreloigne, in Ruiselede in Belgium. At the age of 16 Chris Maene made his first harpsichord and at the age 21 he built a copy of a Dulcken fortepiano from 1794. The interest that Chris Maene cherished for the harpsichord as well as the fortepiano and the modern piano is remarkable for a piano constructor today. The influence that these instruments have on each other has created a multitude of knowledge and skills on top of a never before seen diversity. These achievements were the beginning of Chris Maene’s current workshop, where he is assisted by 10 staff members, who eacht have their own specialty, to build and renovate a steadily growing selection of fortepianos and harpsichords.
In 2004, the Chris Maene Workshop received, for the first time worldwide, permission to build a replica of the first (and oldest known) Steinway piano: the so called Steinway N° 1 – Kitchen piano from 1836. It was a great succes, which was not only the subject of a documentary by Bram Crols, but also travelled around the world to be played in concerts by Steinway artists. This project was the proverbial cherry on top of the cake for Chris Maene and his staff members, as well as the result of 70 years of experience and three generations of Maene instrument building.
Fascinated by master instrument builders from the past, Chris Maene also collects historical keyboard instruments. They are often rare pieces and some of them are restored for concerts and CD recordings.
The museum of Chris Maene consists of approximately 170 different keyboard instruments. Every day, a strong team of workshop employees engages their self in the rehabilitation of old keyboard instruments, the maintenance of old and new pianos and their construction.