Concert hall gets rid of its pianos

Concert hall gets rid of its pianos


norman lebrecht

July 17, 2020

The calamity ridden Fairfield Halls in Croydon, outside London, has returned nine pianos to Phoenix Pianos, ‘a little-known manufacturer based in Kent.’

Before the Halls closed for refurbishment in 2016, the venue had two prized Steinway grand pianos, each worth around £45,000, one of which had been paid for by public subscription. Mystery surrounds the fate of those two cherished instruments – it has been suggested that they were sold off at a massive discount towards meeting some of the previous management company’s deficits.

More on the miserable saga here.


  • JosieH says:

    Ironically, unlike the Barbican, the hall has a lovely acoustic and a pipe organ. In the 60s the major orchestras visited regularly. It also has very good public transport to central London. How about it Sir Simon?

  • Chris Butchers says:

    I know nothing of the Fairfield Halls saga, but it’s rather a shame that Richard Dain’s brave and in many ways remarkable Phoenix venture should be so casually dismissed as collateral damage.

  • will says:

    They were lousy examples of Steinway; I say good riddance!

  • Iain Scott says:

    Actually Phoenix Pianos are a very interesting company with some innovative approaches.

    • christopher storey says:

      Well , it’s certainly different. But what has racing car technology to do with soundboards???

      • Hello Christopher.

        We use a UK company for the manufacture of our carbon fibre soundboards; that same company also supplies parts for Formula 1 cars. CF is a versatile material.

        We spent considerable time using both Finite Element Analysis – and our ears – to develop our climate-resistant soundboards, and they bring something new and exciting to the table. We are also manufacturing Kevlar soundboards, and our bridge technology allows us to make thinner traditional wooden boards. It’s nice to be able to offer our customers these options.

        Some of the articles I have written for International Piano are available to read on the Phoenix website; I genuinely hope you find them interesting.

        Best wishes to you, and please feel free to drop us an email if you have specific questions.


  • engineers_unite says:

    Fairfield is one of the best halls in London.
    The acoustics are excellent.

    Playing on the stage is wonderful.

    It’s always been a source of bewilderment to me why they are not better know, compared with the singularly awful RFH, and the humungous and largely useless victorian monstrosity the RAH (apart from the organ!).

    • christopher storey says:

      It is now more than 40 years since I have been to the Fairfield, but when I was within reasonable distance of it I seem to remember very enjoyable evenings spent with the RPO and ( I think ) Bryden Thomson . It is a shame for these “lesser” venues to be struggling