A mudslide sent a 149-year-old piano out a window and into the muck. Its journey isn't over

Salvador Hernandez, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

LOS ANGELES — It was pouring rain when Kyril Kasimoff unfolded the pages of his just-delivered newspaper. Almost immediately, his heart sank.

There, among the latest dispatches detailing the destructive and deadly deluges that walloped Southern California in early February, was a photograph of a storm-wrecked grand piano — caked in mud, upended by Mother Nature's fury.

"I kept shaking my head staring at it," he said of the image on the front page of the Feb. 6 edition of the Los Angeles Times. "What a tragedy."

The persistent and pouring rain had triggered a mudslide in the Beverly Crest neighborhood of Los Angeles, pushing the piano's home off its foundation and sending it sliding down a hill. The piano fell out a window, bounced off a carport and landed upside down.

Kasimoff, 64, couldn't stop looking at the image. He inspected the picture, scrutinizing the piano's wooden legs, its muddied pedals, its frame.

"That's a Bluthner," he said to himself.


That's when he knew he had to save it.

Kasimoff's entire life has revolved around pianos, their music and their history. And Blüthners have been at the epicenter.

His father, William Kasimoff, was a clarinet player who opened a piano shop in Pasadena with his wife, Helga.

The two imported their first Bluthner piano from Leipzig, Germany, in 1963, making them the oldest Bluthner representatives in the U.S. They've been a staple on the Southern California music scene, providing instruments and services to musicians and artists for decades.


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