Edmund Handy - restoring historical early celeste, harpsichord and clavichord instruments
“What Edmund Handy has achieved in making his new celeste is nothing short of remarkable. Beautifully constructed and finished, with a sound the equal of, and in many ways better than, the original Mustel instruments…..”
Matthew Downes (Orchestra Operations Manager, Royal Opera House)

“….. it is quite clear that Edmund has produced a superb instrument. Quite simply, he has thought of everything, and made an instrument far superior to any I have played before.”

Rob Clark (Head of Ballet Music Staff, Royal Opera House)

“I cannot recommend this instrument too highly.”
Barry Wordsworth (Music Director, The Royal Ballet)
Edmund Handy - celeste restorer

Edmund Handy’s celeste is designed to recreate the magical sound of the original French instruments first built by Auguste Mustel in 1886. The tempered steel toneplates and resonator boxes produce a sound that is mellow and harmonically rich, the sound that inspired Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Respighi, Stravinsky, Kodaly and countless other major composers.

This celeste features solid oak casework with a full-width music rest and spring-loaded lifting handles built into the case ends. The keyboard height is designed to match that of a Steinway model D grand piano, and the damper lift pedal is positioned to the right of centre. The compass is four octaves c1 – c5, and the standard pitch is a442Hz. As in the original celestes, all the keys connect directly with the action and hammers, so the sound is placed correctly within the instrument and the absence of trackers allows for a more consistent touch.


Every component of the celeste has been specifically designed for modern professional use, and the casework and frame is light yet extremely rigid. The dimensions and weight have been kept to a minimum, resulting in a compact instrument with a minimal footprint – an important consideration on stage and in opera house & theatre pits. The instrument measures 873mm wide, 841mm high and 454mm deep, and the total weight is approximately 48kg.

Repairs and Servicing

Edmund has repaired and serviced celestes for clients including Glyndebourne, the Royal Opera House and English National Opera, and for most of the major UK orchestras.  Servicing and minor repairs are usually carried out on site, but his workshop is equipped for major overhauls and other work including pitch adjustments and re-tuning.  In February 2005 he was appointed UK service representative for Schiedmayer Celesta GmbH after training at their factory in Stuttgart.