PianoDisc Marks 20th Anniversary in 2008
PianoDisc is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2008, and marke the milestone at the NAMM Show by showing its latest technology and several new products and featuring PianoDisc artists in concerts throughout the show.
NAMM 2008 saw the debut of PianoDisc’s High Definition interactive videos (combining MIDI, audio, and video) created specifically for the modern player piano system. Called PianoVideo-HD, these specially formatted DVDs allow PianoDisc system owners to view a High Definition music video while their piano plays along with it live, in sync with the pianist on the screen. PianoDisc showed samples of their first HD videos at the show, including tracks from artists Joe Augustine, Jeffrey Biegel, Richard Glazier, Eric Himy, Oksana, Emile Pandolfi, Danny Wright, and vocalist Michael Andrew with Sam Sorensen on piano.
Also new in Anaheim was Sync-A-Vision, a media workstation that is powered by Apple’s Mac Mini and comes with a 19″ HD monitor mounted on a piano’s music rack. Sync-A-Vision in combination with a PianoDisc system makes the piano a single-source audio/visual hub. Sync-A-Vision with PianoDisc is especially suited for playing PianoDisc’s new PianoVideo-HDs, providing an HD screen in close proximity to the piano as it plays the video’s imbedded MIDI signals. Sync-A-Vision is also compatible with karaoke and piano teaching software among other applications.
The company also demonstrated MusiConnect2, a new software application that connects PianoDisc customers and their pianos with the PianoDisc music library. With MusiConnect, customers can download music from PianoDisc’s Web site and manage their own personal PianoDisc music libraries in iTunes. Demonstrations of MusiConnect2 were ongoing at a kiosk in PianoDisc’s exhibit.
Rounding out its introductions, PianoDisc’s flagship system, Opus7, the world’s first Internet-connected player system for acoustic pianos, had new enhancements. In addition to its own “PianoDisc Live!” Internet radio programming with live streaming audio and MIDI (the first such programming, introduced at NAMM several years ago), it also has 24/7 Classics and More, an Internet radio station that streams MIDI files to the Opus7 system for around-the-clock, disc-free piano performances. The music on 24/7 is all in the Public Domain, so it’s an ideal source of royalty-free music for hotels, restaurants, and other public venues.
QRS ‘Park West’ Spade Leg Grand
QRS Music Technologies, Inc. announces the introduction of the Park West, a new twist on the spade leg piano, designed to appeal to the more style-conscious customer.
“The details are what make the Park West distinctive from other spade leg pianos and a cut above,” said Tom Dolan, president and CEO of QRS. “Our dealers will love this piano; we predict the Park West will be the best-selling piano in our new Signature Series Collection.”
The Park West is available in 5’4″, 6’1″, and 7’0″ lengths and in satin ebony lacquer and high-polish ebony finishes. Priced at under $20,000, the model offers a level of style, performance, and design not seen in this price range. It features a music rack, cabinet banding, and leg detailing that are distinctive and bring a modern perspective to the classic design.
Hammond Suzuki Dinner for Suzuki’s 55th Anniversary
To celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Suzuki company, Hammond Suzuki’s Manji Suzuki attended a NAMM Show reception and dinner held to recognize the company’s dealers. From left: Howard Feldman, Manji Suzuki, Dennis Capiga, and Masuo Terada.
Kennedy Directs Pearl River U.S. Sales; Other Personnel Shifts for Piano Maker
Jennette Xu, president and CEO of Pearl River Piano Group America, has announced the appointment of Philip Kennedy national sales director. Kennedy has been with Pearl River for more than seven years as a district sales manager representing the South and Southeastern U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Pearl River has also hired Jean Hollenbeck as its new assistant manager. She comes to Pearl River from GE Capital Solutions. The company announced that John Garrison has stepped down from his post as vice president, sales and marketing.
Phil Kennedy grew up in the industry and has played the piano since he was five years old. After attending Duquesne University with a major in music education/piano, Kennedy joined the Wurlitzer Retail Stores Division. His career also includes more than 10 years with Baldwin, which included multi-store management of factory-owned stores, management of Baldwin’s store in Pittsburgh, and ownership of Baldwin of Pittsburgh. This was followed by a stint at Roland before he joined Pearl River Piano Group America. Kennedy will continue to be based in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Jean Hollenbeck comes to Pearl River with experience in sales and credit, especially in the music industry. Her career has been focused for the last 10 years on sales growth and account retention for music-related financial services at GE Capital Solutions. Her career also includes similar positions with Transamerica Distribution Finance and the Whirlpool Financial Corp. Hollenbeck will be based at Pearl River’s corporate headquarters in Ontario, Calif., where she will assist president/CEO Jennette Xu.
Newell Hardy has been named Pearl River district sales manager for Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri. Hardy, with 25 years of expertise in music sales and management including senior sales and management positions with Yamaha, Roland, and Samick.
At the 2008 NAMM Show, visitors to the Pearl River/Ritmüller display room had the opportunity to meet Lothar Thomma, renowned European piano design consultant. Thomma was on hand to meet and greet customers and personally demonstrate the design nuances that distinguish a new collection of Ritmüller piano models being considered as additions to the company’s North American line.
Yamaha Rolls Out Clavinova CVP400 Series
“No question about it: the Yamaha CVP400 Series Clavinova Digital Pianos are the most exciting CVP Series ever,” says Jim Levesque, Clavinova marketing manager. “For the first time in the history of the digital piano, users can record fully orchestrated performances, with vocals, onto their USB thumb drives. These acoustically stellar performances can then be turned into CDs, using iTunes or Windows Media Player, and then easily shared with friends, in person, on disc, or over the Internet. And, for added convenience with fewer external interfaces, the Clavinova CVP400 Series is the first with a built-in LAN port.
The instruments in Yamaha’s new CVP400 Series (CVP401, CVP403, CVP405, CVP407 and CVP409) offer grand piano realism like never before. With Yamaha’s Instrumental Active Field Control (iAFC) technology, the CVP-409/407 models use built-in microphones and speakers to reproduce the sonic textures of a grand piano, creating a resonant sound that’s truly unparalleled. The Natural Wood keyboard on the CVP409/407 reproduces as closely as possible the experience of playing an actual grand piano, including the authentic touch, feel, and weight of the keys. Yamaha’s Graded Hammer 3 (CVP405/403) and Graded Hammer (CVP401) technologies give a natural piano touch and expressive response.
The Clavinova CVP400 Series Digital Pianos are offered in a choice of three finishes, depending upon model: polished ebony or polished mahogany or dark rosewood. In addition to the gorgeous finishes, the CVP409 now comes with Synthetic Ivory keytops to create a more authentic feel to the keys.
With the USB Audio Recorder feature on the CVP409/407/405/403 models, users can record their own performances, including singing, karaoke, or anything else that comes through their Clavinova’s sound system, such as, for example, an electric guitar when plugged into the mic input jack. “Then, they can burn a CD or send their music over the Internet to share their creations with others,” says Levesque. “And, the Super Articulation Voices (CVP409/407/405) and Mega Voices (CVP409/407/405/403) make a wide range of acoustic and electric instruments playable directly from the keyboard with expressive realism and performance characteristics never before heard in a Clavinova Digital Piano. If you activate the guitar voice, for instance, you’ll hear harmonics, fret noise, and body tap, just like you would when listening to a live guitarist. Same with brass instrument voices – you’ll hear shakes and falls – or saxophone, where you’ll hear breath noise. Yamaha designers purposefully created Super Articulation Voices to sound the way real instruments sound – and it all happens naturally and appropriately, just the way you hear these sounds when you’re listening to a musician performing live or on a high quality recording.”
New VP/GM at Lowrey
Seijiro Imamura has been named vice president and general manager of Lowrey Organ Company, a wholly owned division of Kawai America. Current Lowrey vice president and general manager Satoshi Takada, having spent nearly seven years at Lowrey, now takes on responsibilities at Kawai headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan, beginning in February.
Imamura, who was introduced to the Lowrey dealer network during the NAMM Show, is no stranger to the United States, having spent 15 years in a variety of roles in engineering, R&D, and project management at Lowrey from 1988 to 2003.
A life-long music maker, Imamura learned piano at the age of five. At 12 years of age he found his true passion, which is the trumpet. A concert brass band member through junior and senior high school, he was a member of the symphony orchestra at university. After graduation he has continued playing regularly by soloing at churches, and being a member of a British-style brass band. He also has mastered the two-finger, easy-play Lowrey organ method.
“As a home organ manufacturer, my goals are to supply attractive, enjoyable, profitable programs and products to our dealers,” stated Imamura. “I believe the recreational music making market holds tremendous promise for Lowrey and its dealers. We at Lowrey will strive to develop dealers and offer the kind of support that creates the opportunity for long term success.”
At the company’s annual breakfast meeting during the NAMM Show, Lowrey director of sales Mel Wisniewski presented the 2007 Top Performer Dealer Awards given to the top dealer in each of the five regions. These went to Leonard and Lynn Hannah of Hannah Piano & Organ, Columbia, S.C.; Judy and Phil Lambert of Lambert’s Music Center, Anderson, Iowa; Doug Brown and Jarvis Webb of Piano Gallery, Idaho Falls, Ida.; Ken Turner and Stan Beagley of Piano Gallery, Murray, Utah; and Dave Constantino, Bob Carbone, and Bob Wolfe of Piano & Organ Center, Clay, N.Y. Ten other dealerships were also honored by Lowrey.
Stevan Mills Named Hailun Sales VP
Stevan Mills has been named vice president of sales for Hailun Distribution, LLC. Formerly national sales manager, he was promoted to the newly created position in January.
“Steve has done an outstanding job in the initial phase of our company’s life,” said Theresa Perry, Hailun USA president. “Now our sales and sales force are expanding and there are the concomitant increased responsibilities and need for a more strategic role. Steve has demonstrated his commitment to our mission and I am so pleased that he will take on this new ‘hat’.”
Formally organized 16 months ago, Hailun USA has seen sales grow steadily. Executive offices for Hailun USA in the Atlanta suburb of Lilburn, Ga. support all sales operations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.