David Klavins plays his new creation, the M470i vertical concert grand piano.
Soaring to new musical heights, a German-born innovator has crafted what is believed to be the world's largest grand piano.
It is without question one of a kind: attached high on the wall of a concert hall in Latvia, the steel-framed vertical grand piano hangs as if in mid-air some three storeys above the audience.
To play it, pianists must climb a steep flight of steel stairs to a balcony.
High school dropout
"Since I was 16 years old and dropped out of school to become a piano restoration apprentice, I have been trying to explore new designs and principles, which deviate from the 140-year-old construction of the traditional grand piano," Klavins, now 65, told AFP while sitting at the 450i.
He crafted his first vertical piano in 1985. Now at his workshop, the Klavins Piano Manufaktura based in the town of Vac just north of the Hungarian capital Budapest, he dreams up his signature vertical designs.
"Traditional pianos are meant to be transported in and out of the concert venues, but my vertical design has to be mounted on the building's structure," Klavins said.
"The size of the piano and length of strings do not set records for a record's sake: the idea is to create the best imaginable sound for all the performers and listeners who come to this particular hall," he added.
On display to the public for the first time on Friday, the instrument has already created a buzz among piano enthusiasts.
Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs has his fingers crossed that the record-breaking piano will help the industrial port city of 40,000 rebrand itself into a family-friendly tourist destination.
"We're hoping to attract foreign music lovers as well," he said.
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