More than 80 years of passion and craft

History

Pianos Maene was established in 1938. Having more than 80 employees, 6 shops, a piano museum and a world famous workshop, it has become one of the biggest piano companies in Europe. The family company is owned by Chris Maene and his two sons, Frederic and Dominique (photo).

In 2013, a beautiful photo album was made in honour of the company's 75th anniversary.

Below you can find some of the highlights of the company’s history...

1938 - 1984: the first generation

In 1938, Albert Maene and Zulma Doutreloigne established their first piano shop in Belgium in Esen near Diksmuide. Mr. Maene was an organist and music teacher, and he gave private notation and piano lessons. He also rented some rooms with pianos where students could practice. Mrs. Maene excelled in business, and thus they made a brilliant duo for the running of their piano shop.

An organ builder, Jozef Loncke, lived close to the shop. He taught Albert Maene the art of tuning pianos. In addition, the piano dealer and restorer from Bruges, Pierre Labyt, taught Albert Maene more about the piano business. Last but not least, from Antwerp, Guido Vancauwenberghe, passed his knowledge on to Albert Maene.

The important milestones during this period are:

  • 1947 Move to Ruiselede, Aalterstraat 27
  • 1958 Albert Maene builds a study carillon
  • 1960 Selling of upright and grand pianos Kawai
  • 1969 Chris Maene builds his first harpsichord
  • 1971 Acquisition of the brewery “De Molen” in the Aalterstraat 4, Ruiselede. This will become the second showroom
  • 1972 Official Yamaha dealer
  • 1973 Chris Maene joins the business
  • 1975 First fortepiano replica is built; a copy of a Johannes Daniel Dulcken
  • 1984 Chris Maene becomes Managing director of Piano’s Maene – opening a new showroom in Ruiselede

1984-2004 Chris Maene makes the company an international player

In 1984, Chris Maene took over from his father Albert, and took charge of the business.
He created a further bloom and expansion of the activities. With artisanal experience, he was able to build a workshop filled with specialists, some of whom had trained in Hamburg, Berlin, Poland, Tokyo, and Paris. What is unique about Pianos Maene, is that it combines of a piano business, a workshop, and a collection of historic instruments. That way, the shop can guarantee complete service to their clients: selling, maintaining, tuning, restoring and building pianos. No other piano shop in Belgium offers this.

Important milestones from this period are:

  • 1989 Opens a new workshop for building and restoring instruments, in the Industriestraat nr. 5, Ruiselede
  • 1990 10th staff member joins the firm
  • 1990 Starts selling digital pianos
  • 1994 Opens shop in Brussels
  • 1994 Begins piano retals - for concert halls and private homes
  • 1995 20th employee joins the company
  • 1998 Move to Industriestraat 5
  • 2000 Becomes an official ”Steinway & Sons" dealer
  • 2000 30th employee joins the firm
  • 2001 Opens shop in Ghent
  • 2002 Pianos Maene becomes the exclusive Steinway & Sons importer for Belgium

2004-present : continuous growth and investment

In 2004, the two sons of Chris came to work for the company. With Dominique and Frederic Maene, the third generation is also active.

Meanwhile, over 40 employees guarantee excellent service: tuners, consultants, transporters, administrative services, and all of the workshop members who are responsible for maintaining, building and restoring instruments. The three shops sell about 1200 piano’s every year. Furthermore, over a thousand pianos, rented to individuals, are in circulationThrough us. Every year some 850 concert rentals take place. The biggest concert halls, such as the Concertgebouw Brugge and the Brussels Bozar, call upon the instruments and services of Pianos Maene. We own three Steinway concert grands and four ½ grands. Furhtermore, we rent some of the historic instruments from the collection of Chris Maene, which includes more than150 instruments. These instruments are used during concerts as well as during recordingssessions.

When the building in the Aalterstraat became too small, Piano’s Maene moved in 1998 to the Industriestraat 5. Ten years later, in 2008, this building also proved to be too small, whereupon the workshop and the showroom moved to a bigger location in the Industriestraat 42. Today, Pianos Maene is one of the biggest piano centers in Europe.

Important milestones from this period are:

  • 2004 Start of Doutreligne pianos and harpsichords
  • 2006 Building of the very first Steinway replica: the "Steinway N°1"
  • 2008 Move to new headquarters, Industriestraat 42
  • 2009 45th employee accepted. Award Trends Gazellen West-Flanders
  • 2009 Investments for the workshop : 3D Cad Software (Top Solid), horizontal presses, vertical presses
  • 2010 Investment in new ERP-software Navision
  • 2010 Workshop Chris Maene builds a replica of Chopin piano : a concert grand Pleyel from 1843
  • 2010 Workshop designs a design grand piano : the Doutreligne Seven. First introduction at Interieur Kortrijk
  • 2011 Pianos Maene wins the ‘Henry Van de Velde Award’ for the Doutreligne Seven design piano
  • 2012 Pianos Maene purchases a recent industrial building and opens a fourth branch-store in Wommelgem (Antwerp)
  • 2012 Chris Maene leaves the daily management to CEO Stefaan Vanfleteren and his management team. Chris himself focuses on the workshop and instrument building
  • 2013 Pianos Maene opens a new branch-store in Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Ghent.
  • 2013 Pianos Maene officially becomes Royal Warrant Holder, after years of service to the Court and the Royal Family.
  • 2013 Chris Maene and his workshop build a replica of a Broadwood pianoforte from 1817, by order of the Mc. Gill University in Canada.
  • 2014 Klara, the classical music radio station, elects Chris Maene as Musical Personality of 2013
  • 2015 Chris Maene and his workshop build a very own straightstrung concert grand for Maestro Daniël Barenboim
  • 2015 Next to the show room in Ghent, a second show room opens: the Steinway Piano Gallery Belgium, flagship store of Pianos Maene
  • 2015 The Doutreligne Seven design piano and the Chris Maene Concert Grand are introduced in the Belgian Pavilion on the World Expo in Milan
  • 2016 Pianos Maene opens a new shop in Rekem (Lanaken), Limburg. The company bought the historic church"Paterskerk" of Oud-Rekem and renovated it completely, with respect for its history, but with a view towards the future. The historic church has now piano showrooms and a concert hall.
  • 2018 Pianos Maene takes over the company "Ypma Piano's" in The Netherlands and renames it to "Maene-Ypma PIano's". Ypma Piano's was official Steinway importer for The Netherlands since many decades. With this new subsidiary in The Netherlands, Pianos Maene becomes the official Steinway importer for Belgium and The Netherlands.