The Bösendorfer 290 Imperial is the commanding flagship, featuring outstanding concert grand piano quality and an extra octave.

Eight full octaves

Of all our grand pianos, model 290, the Imperial, carries the Bösendorfer DNA, our heritage in its most pronounced form. Historically, the Imperial was the 19th grand piano model made by the Bösendorfer company.

Originally built following a suggestion by composer Ferruccio Busoni, the Imperial has 97 keys, i.e. eight full octaves. This expanded range allows faithful performances of a number of compositions by Bartók, Debussy, Ravel and, not least of all, Busoni.

Combining a very powerful soundboard and a high proportion of mountain spruce from the Alps, this piano’s sound is almost orchestral. The Bösendorfer “resonating box principle,” which views the entire instrument as a cohesive whole, generates unsurpassed power and a poignantly full tone. Model 290 is our only standard grand piano model to have acquired an epithet when it was first built in around 1900: Imperial (lat. imperare, to order, command).

Its commanding presence in some of the world’s great concert halls sets the standard by which other grand pianos are judged.


97 keys
l: 9’6″, w: 5’9″, net: 1.255 lb

Inspiring Composers

Due to its uncompromising, purely Viennese sound and its tonal range unsurpassed the world over, the Imperial has inspired composers to write piano works particularly for this piano. Here are some examples:

  • Béla Bartók
  • Piano Concerto No.2
  • Piano Concerto No.3
  • Sonata
  • Ferruccio Busoni
  • Several original compositions
  • J.S. Bach transcriptions
  • Piano concert op. 39
  • Claude Debussy
  • La Cathédrale Egloutie
  • Ernst von Dohnányi
  • Piano Concerto (devoted to the first Bösendorfer Piano Competition 1889)
  • Frank Martin
  • Piano Concerto No.2
  • Modest Mussorgsky
  • Pictures at an Exhibition: The Great Gates Of Kiev
  • Maurice Ravel
  • Jeu d’Eau
  • Barque sur l’Océan (Miroirs)
  • Gaspard de la Nuit
  • Roger Sessions
  • Piano Sonata No.2
  • Ralph Vaughn Williams
  • Pieces for Pianos