The Pramberger legacy began over 225 years ago with the birth ofJoseph Johann Prambergerin Tyrol, Austria in 1779. Joseph learned the skills of woodworking and at a very young age in Vienna during an era in history where every aspect of creating a piano was an art of learned skill and personal craftsmanship. Joseph had the utmost respect for the tradition of craftsmanship and piano building principles, and his education led him to become aMaster Artisan in Europe.
After serving an apprenticeship under Mathias Muller in the early 1800s, Joseph was employed and then later partnered with Michael Schweighofer, a Viennese piano builder. After several years, Pramberger gained full ownership of the Schweighofer & Pramberger Piano Shop in Vienna. At this time, many important innovations were invented while classical music’s popularity started to gain momentum. In addition, Joseph learned the importance of protecting his hard work and inventions, patenting several new piano designs, piano strings and metal soundboard.
Joseph Johann Pramberger’s two sons, Johann Jr. and Joseph, followed in his footsteps. Johann Jr. learned the trade and eventually took over the family business, while Joseph studied the art of woodworking alongside his brother and later became an independent piano builder. The family secrets of fine woodworking and masterful skills were passed down from generation to generation in the Pramberger family, and Anton Pramberger was no exception. Anton became a Master Artisan at an early age in the tradition of Old World European craftsmen as he learned directly from his grandfather by working as an apprentice for him. It was also a time when he learned the value of traditions, the importance of detail, and how to apply only the best craftsmanship principles. Anton once recalled his grandfather instructing him at a young age to “meticulously observe only the best work of others, and absorb every possible detail and nuance of their craft.”
a new age
With Europe still recovering from the devastation brought on by World War II, along with the advice and prodding of his family, Anton decided to move his family and immigrate to the United States. His uncles and cousins had already been employed by Steinway & Sons since 1913, and he was offered a job at Steinway’s piano factory in Astoria, New York. He dedicated roughly the next 25 years to Steinway & Sons working as a pattern maker and constructing the complex machinery required to manufacture pianos. Anton’s son Joseph, just 12 years old when the family migrated to the United States, continued the family tradition by following in his father’s footsteps. He too gained employment with Steinway & Sons, spending nearly 30 years with the company as he honed his piano making skills and technique.
Joseph Pramberger never stopped studying the art of piano making, choosing to expand his knowledge through formal education by attending New York University and earning a Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering. His vision was to recapture and recreate sound characteristics of a “Golden Era” Steinway and blend them seamlessly into the technological advantages of the modern age. He was often requested by the bigger names of the piano industry to visit and consult key suppliers and major piano manufacturers in Europe, Japan and Korea, something that he continued to do even in retirement. He would go on to become a Design and Project Engineer and eventually retire as Vice President of Manufacturing for Steinway & Sons and Chairman of the International Technical Exchange Group.
a bright future
In the tradition of the Pramberger family members before him, Joseph formed his own company, Pramberger Piano Ltd. in 1987. He began designing his own line of pianos and worked together with his father, Anton, restoration and rebuilding pianos. Although design and manufacturing technology has evolved over the years, the inherited knowledge, experience and skilled touch of a Master Craftsman’s hands are still paramount in the creation of a modern musical instrument.Samick is proud to continue the long, distinguished tradition of Prambergerwhile manufacturing these pianos with the same core values and detailed craftsmanship.