Wendl & Lung is a piano-manufacturing company based in Vienna with piano production in China via a partnership, widely regarded for their product.
The Wendl & Lung brand started in 1910 as a collaboration between Stefan Lung and Johann Wendl in Vienna, Austria. From around 1930 onwards the company seems to have moved towards piano rebuilding and restoration.
Peter Veletzky, great-grandson of Stefan Lung, took over the business in 1994. In 1999 he became technical advisor to various piano manufacturers in China. This relationship was developed via the Chinese wife of Ernest Bittner, who formed a business partnership with Veletzky in 2000.
In 2003 pianos bearing the brand Wendl & Lung started to be produced in the Ningbo Hailun Musical Instruments Co. Ltd. in Ningbo, China, in partnership with Veletzky and Bittner. The first models were a 115 cm upright piano, based on a prototype made by Veletzky, and a 122 cm upright based on Hailun's existing upright model. This was commercialized to a Wendl & Lung 122 cm model in August 2003. The exact level of technical input from Veletzky in the manufacture of pianos is unclear, but it seems certain that he has introduced technical innovations and improved quality control processes to the Hailun factory.
Two grand piano models were introduced in 2004: the 161 cm Professional I and the 178 cm Professional II. Additional grand models are expected to start commercial production in late 2007 (218 and 288 cm), with further models planned. Various technical innovations, such as a double repeat mechanism and a harmonic pedal have been introduced in collaboration with other piano technicians.
Wendl & Lung distributes pianos through a network of dealers, mostly in Europe and Asia. The Hailun factory produces pianos under several different names, including Hailun and Steigerman Premium, as well as Wendl & Lung, and this may introduce some confusion into the marketing of Hailun pianos. There are technical variations between the brands, mainly down to the choice of materials and suppliers for various components.
The combination of Chinese manufacture with European brand name is common in the piano world, since it provides generally lower prices than European or American manufacture, with a reassuringly authentic-sounding name. In reality the brand name is often owned by the Chinese manufacturer, and Wendl & Lung are unusual in being a true partnership between a European company and a Chinese factory.