The world-famous pianist from Ontario says her US$194,000 piano was destroyed in a moving accident, which happened last week following a recording session in Europe.
“When I was so happy with the results and feeling elated, the piano movers came into the control room … to say they had dropped my precious Fazioli concert grand piano,” she wrote in a lengthy Facebook post on Sunday. Hewitt added that the accident occurred in late January, but she was so shocked that it took her 10 days to finally report the incident to her fans.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “The iron frame is broken, as well as much else in the structure and action (not to mention the lid and other parts of the case),” she wrote.
The movers dropped the 590-kilogram instrument while trying to place it on a trolley, The Guardian reports. The instrument split in two due to the force of the fall.
“It was in top form,” Hewitt said. “Now it is no longer.”
She added that the movers were “mortified” by their mistake, and they told her they’ve never had such a mishap in 35 years. She did not name the moving company.
Hewitt says she reached out to Fazioli, the world-renowned piano-makers, hoping they might be able to repair their creation. They told her the instrument was “not salvageable.”
“It makes no sense, financially or artistically, to rebuild this piano from scratch,” Hewitt wrote.
The F278 Fazioli piano was the only one of its kind with four pedals. Hewitt kept it at her home in Italy and travelled throughout Europe with it for her concerts.
The 61-year-old says she been recording music and playing concerts with her precious piano since 2003, and she’s absolutely crushed to lose it.
“I adore this piano,” she wrote. “It was my best friend, best companion. I loved how it felt when I was recording — giving me the possibility to do anything I wanted.”
U.K.-based piano retailer Terence Lewis compared the incident to “losing a limb.”
“Every single piano is different and you grow with them and they change as they age and you develop together,” Lewis told The Guardian. “For a pianist at that level, a piano becomes an extension of your body and that’s why she dragged it around for her recordings.”
Lewis has provided several Faziolis for London-based concerts through his role as co-owner of Jaques Samuel Pianos in the U.K. He’s also very familiar with Hewitt’s customized piano.
“I practiced on it for three or four hours after it was made,” he said. Lewis added that piano designer Paolo Fazioli will probably never build another four-pedal piano like Hewitt’s again, “because it was such a pain in the arse.”
Hewitt is considered one of the world’s top Bach pianists. She learned to play in Ottawa and Toronto before launching her professional career and eventually moving to Italy.
Hewitt told her fans that she won’t have the piano for future performances or recordings. Her last piece of music with it will be a CD of Beethoven variations, which she hopes to release in November.
The pianist says she doesn’t want to make any further comment on the loss of her piano. She’s also waiting for insurance to address the accident.
She says she has just one wish: that her piano “will be happy in piano heaven.”