Any piano student can tell you that their instrument has a total of 88 keys, but that isn’t always the case. While working on transcriptions of Bach organ works for the piano, composer and pianist Ferruccio Busoni found that the standard keyboard was unsatisfactory.
In order to mimic the sound of the largest organ pipes, Busoni worked with Ludwig Bösendorfer of the eponymous piano factory to create an instrument with an extended the piano’s lower register. The result was the Model 290 Imperial, a 97-keyed piano that encompasses eight full octaves.
The first prototype was built in 1909. Its extraordinary sound inspired major composers, including Bartók, Debussy and Ravel. Several music pieces composed require an Imperial to ensure that they are played true to the original.
Garrick Ohlsson once called it the “Rolls Royce of pianos.”
• 1886 ~ Robert Herberigs, Flemish Composer and writer
• 1898 ~ Paul Muller-Zurich, Composer
• 1902 ~ Guy (Gaetano) Lombardo, Canadian-born American bandleader with The Royal Canadians: “The most beautiful music this side of heaven.”
• 1904 ~ Balis Dvarionas, Composer
• 1905 ~ Taneli Kuusisto, Composer
• 1910 ~ Edwin Gerschefski, Composer
• 1910 ~ Father’s Day was observed for the first time at Spokane, Wash., at the request of the the local YMCA and the Spokane Ministerial Association to earmark a Sunday to “honor thy father.” The idea originated in the mind of a Ms. John Bruce Dodd, a local housewife who was inspired by her admiration for the great job her father, William Smart, had done in raising his 6 children after his wife’s untimely and early death.
• 1912 ~ Jerry Jerome, American saxophonist
• 1913 ~ Sergey Ivanovich Taneyev, Russian Composer, died at the age of 58
• 1926 ~ DeFord Bailey was the first black to perform on Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry
• 1927 ~ Karel Kupka, Composer
• 1930 ~ Jul Levi, Composer
• 1932 ~ First concert performed in San Francisco’s Stern Grove
• 1936 ~ Tommy DeVito, Singer with The Four Seasons
• 1939 ~ Al Wilson, Musician, drummer, singer with Show and Tell
• 1940 ~ Maurice Jaubert, Composer, died at the age of 40
• 1942 ~ Spanky (Elaine) McFarlane, Singer with Spanky and Our Gang
• 1943 ~ Shiek Of Araby by Spike Jones & City Slickers peaked at #19
• 1951 ~ Ann Wilson, Singer with Heart
• 1953 ~ Larry Dunn, Musician, keyboards with Earth, Wind & Fire
• 1961 ~ Little Egypt (Ying-Yang) by Coasters peaked at #23
• 1962 ~ Paula Abdul, Singer
• 1965 ~ I Can’t Help Myself, by The Four Tops, topped the pop and R&B charts. The Tops, who had no personnel changes in their more than 35 years together were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.