Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

“Storm Blüthner” Piano

The “Storm Blüthner” now stands at the Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Co. on Larchmont where the parts will be cleaned and salvaged for research, study, parts in other pianos and art.

After being tossed out of its Beverly Glen home by a mudslide caused by last week’s Atmospheric River storm, an 1875 Blüthner parlor grand piano, now known as the “Storm Blüthner” stands in the showroom of the Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Company on Larchmont Blvd.

The saga of how the somewhat complete piano still covered with mud and debris came to be on Larchmont Blvd was shared with the Buzz by Kyril Kasimoff, whose family owns Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Company.

The family first became aware of the piano after seeing a photograph on the front page of the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, February 6, 2024.

Photo from Kyril Kasimoff of the

“We recognized it likely as a Blüthner by the two remaining legs, casters, pedals, case, and beams. After all, it was in a very desirable neighborhood. We contacted the photographer who gave us the address,” said Kasimoff.

The next day, just as Kasimoff was about to leave his Larchmont shop to go onsite with tools, he received a phone call from a neighbor asking for help.

“I interrupted and asked if it was a Blüthner “Yes!” she said cheerfully and gave me her husband, Travis’s phone number. Travis was in the street, preserving the piano from being discarded. According to Travis, the neighborhood had played the piano over the years. As it turned out news reporters were on site and were recording my call with Travis,” said Kasimoff.

“We then ordered movers, who were on a job in Beverly Hills, to pick up the piano,” said Kasimoff. “They were given special clearance to pass from the blocked road at Sunset Blvd and Beverly Glen. They parked at the base of the hill. The piano was still buried in mud with water still streaming by it running down the hill.”

“Fortunately, a nearby LADWP crane hoisted the piano out of the mud and the movers were able to place it on a skid,” said Kasimoff. “They carefully pushed it down the slippery hill past eight other homes to Beverly Glen. From there, the movers loaded it onto their truck and delivered it to the patio behind our store at 337 N. Larchmont Blvd. When I saw it, it was a heightened moment!”

Once he got a closer look at the piano Kasimoff noted that amazingly, all the strings were intact.

“Can you believe none of the strings are broken? Greatest engineering – craftsmanship! The Blüthner quality will be in the museums beyond all of us!”

“We think the rear leg broke off and slid out of the destroyed music room. It took a body flip, slid across a carport, and landed upside down in the street,” said Kasimoff.

“Three legs were found, pedals, name board, action, ¾ of the lid, and a 6-inch piece of the strut was recovered, along with several ivories,” said Kasimoff. “Lost was the music desk and 1 full foot of a plate strut is missing. The keys almost move freely, yet will not sound because of the dirt clogging the strings and dampers.”

“This 1875 Blüthner parlor grand piano #12026 has a rosewood finish, measures 6’4″ in size, and has the unique Blüthner Patent Action and fourth string aliquot,” explained Kasimoff. “According to the neighbors, the piano belonged to the famous Polish opera star, actress Miliza Korjus (1909-1981). She was a soloist at the Berlin Opera. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1938 for her performance in “The Great Waltz.” In her later years, she coached operatic stars, Beverly Sills and Joan Sutherland.”

“We imagine she had salons entertaining Hollywood royalty with her voice and at this Blüthner,” said Kasimoff.

To learn more about the piano, Kasimoff called Dr. Christian Blüthner, a 5th generation family member running the company in Leipzig since 1853. Coincidently Dr. Blüthner had been in Anaheim at a music trade fair just the previous Sunday, before the storm. Helga Kasimoff recounted his grandfather saying at the demise of another Blüthner in a mountain cabin, “Mrs. Kasimoff – put it to rest, it has done its duty!”

Details on the piano’s lineage, its first owner, etc, have been lost to history. The Blüthner factory and the company’s archives were destroyed during World War II during the targeted bombing in 1943, explained Kasimoff. A brand new similar Blüthner is priced at about $ 158,000.

“Before the storm, this Blüthner had a great legacy, it was an antique with a great history and sentimental value!” said Kasimoff. “Unfortunately, it is now totaled. Though we plan to salvage it for research, study, parts, art, etc.

“The casters are designated for an upcoming restoration of Willi Apel’s Blüthner, author of the Harvard Dictionary of Music, the piano was later owned by Marko Rothmüller, a Metropolitan Opera soloist,” said Kasimoff.

The action, one of the most important parts of the piano, will be cut into 20 action models for use in museums, conservatories, and technical teaching. The extra ivory will go to violin makers for bows and guitar makers for fingerboards. The cast iron harp will be saved and repurposed as a three-dimensional sculpture.

“We will save the veneer, screws, bolts, hinges, etc. and it will be all cataloged,” said Kasimoff.

“It was remarkable how the community pulled together to save this piano from a tragic ending – in the dump!” said Kasimoff.

The Storm Blüthner has already attracted local and international news coverage from NBC Los Angeles, ABC News, Piano, and Maalehet, Estonia’s largest newspaper.

Storm Blüthner now stands in the front showroom window at Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Company. Stop by and visit.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Latest Articles

.printfriendly { padding: 0 0 60px 50px; }