Pleyel, Ignace-Joseph (1757-1831)

Ignace-Joseph Pleyel (1757-1831) was born in Austria and began his life as a composer. He was appointed as Kappelmeister, or conductor, for Strasbourg cathedral until 1789 when he moved to London due to the French Revolution. Pleyel returned to France around 1792 and established himself in Paris in 1795, initially working as a music publisher until 1807 when he founded his piano firm. Pleyel had help from Jean-Henri Pape during the infancy of the business, together they developed what he called the pianino, a vertically strung upright piano. In 1815 Pleyel’s eldest son, Joseph Stephen Camille Pleyel, became a partner in the firm. Camille was a concert pianist who developed relations with some of the most renowned artists at the time, including Frederic Chopin. Chopin preferred Pleyel pianos, and promoted them as his favorite, thus helping the firm achieve greater popularity. Ignace-Joseph Pleyel made three major contributions to the advancement of piano manufacturing. The first was a patent in 1810 of tempering brass and steel wire for piano strings, the second being the pianino, as discussed previously, while the third was the creation of a cast-iron frame, patented in 1825.

Literature References:

Clinkscale, M., 2006. Makers of the piano, 1700-1820. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.218.

Palmieri, R. and Palmieri, M., 2003. Encyclopedia of Keyboard Instruments. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, p.303-304