Museum Showcases Works of Acclaimed Piano Maker
The Tartu Song Festival Museum opened an exhibition yesterday celebrating the 175th anniversary of Julius Robert Rathke, one of the most eminent piano makers of 19th century Estonia.
German-born Rathke learned his profession in the East Prussian city of Köninsberg (now Kaliningrad) before moving to Tartu in 1868. There he opened a factory where around 1,400 pianos were eventually manufactured. Many of them can still be found in schools and homes across the country.
Rathke also passed on his skills to many of the nation's later piano makers, including Ernst Hiis, who founded the Estonian Piano Factory in 1950.
After Rathke's factory burned down in 1891, he moved to St. Petersburg. Later, however, he returned to Estonia where he spent his final years as a piano tuner.
The exhibition will remain open until February 24.