December 2010 Archives

Yamaha CFX Captured Heart of Pianists

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The 16th International Chopin Piano Competition awarded Yurianna Avdeeva, a Russian pianist, as the 1st Prize winner. Staged once every 5 years in Warsaw, Poland, one of the most honored piano competitions in the world, hosted 16th session from September 30 through October 23. Founded in 1927, its glorious roster of the winners includes such virtuosi as Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman, and Stanislav Bunin. World-class Japanese pianists, Hiroko Nakamura, Mitsuko Uchida, Michie Koyama and Yukio Yokoyama are also awarded in the past competitions.

The piano Ms. Avdeeva played was Yamaha CFX concert grand, a new flagship model of the company which made debut early this year. It became a historical moment for Yamaha which has been an official supplier for the competition since 1985. (photo below left: ©Wojciech Grzędziński for NIFC/Yulianna Avdeeva.) 

Selected by prominent contestants explains excellence of the CFX
Atsushi Matsuki, manager, Piano Division, a key engineer of the CFX design project, says, "Prior to the first preliminary, the contestants are allowed 15 minutes to select their piano in 5 days. This year, Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai and Fazioli pianos are offered for selection. Among the 322 participants, 78 passed for the first preliminary. Very prominent pianists selected the CFX, and they successfully derived beautiful tonal color characteristic to the CFX. We are greatly honored that they selected the CFX. Pianists seldom comment details on their selection, but we understand that the fact they selected the CFX explains their high evaluation of the piano." 

Forty contestants were invited to the second preliminary, and 20 passed the third preliminary. Only 10 pianists left for the finals. It was exceptional that 4 contestants out of 10 played the CFX which was just introduced in the market early this year.

Matsuki continues, "The CFIIIS has established characteristic sound of Yamaha. We further polished the sound for the CFX that can reach every corner of concert hall with remarkable level of resonance. It's our pleasure that pianists who seek deep and fully resonant sound highly appreciate the tonal quality of the CFX instantly when they touch it."

No goal for technological advancement    
About the world distribution of the CFX, Kenichi Matsushiro, manager of the Piano Division, says, "Because we have started world marketing of the CFX immediately after the launch, only limited number of the piano is now available. We are planning to offer more CFXes for the pianists to have them experience the sound, and promotion to concert halls. It's our great pleasure that Ms. Avdeeva won the first prize with the CFX. Our consistent efforts have been paid. Our engineers and sales people are very excited with the result. It's the greatest reward for piano supplier. We feel this is another milestone that Yamaha has achieved." (photo: Atsushi Matsuki, left and Kenichi Matsushiro)

Despite high level of accomplishment, Yamaha never sits on that. Matsuki says, "Personally, we feel obliged that we have much devoted in developing a piano which has won quite positive response from pianists. But as a piano manufacturer, we never say that Yamaha has accomplished a goal. The technology can be further refined. We never conceive that we did something great. It can be put simply that the pianists expressed their musical talent, and we did our best to offer a fine piano to support them.

"Every pianist has their own taste and requirements for piano. In addition, what they expect in piano changes from time to time. Pianist, concert hall and audience are equally involved in terms of defining fine pianos. Yamaha will continue to serve the needs of pianists of time."

The company is prepared to support young pianists at international piano competitions with highest quality pianos and technical assistance while taking feed back from players.

It's safe to say that the CFX which drew eyes and ears of world's pianists has opened the new stage for Yamaha's piano manufacturing.   

Roland Foundation hosted the 2nd Electronics Arts Hamamatsu Award presentation and a reception party on November 22 at Hotel Okura, Tokyo, inviting over 100 music academy and industry guests.

Originatde in 2007 to celebrate artists contributing to development and promotion of electronic musical instruments, Isao Tomita, composer, was the first recipient of the award.

The award also represents Roland's expectation that Hamamatsu, world-renowned city of music and musical instruments, serves as a leading role in providing musical hardware, software and contents to the world music scene. (photo from left to right: Ikutaro Kakehashi, president, Roland Foundation, Hector Olivera and Sergio Scappini.)

The 2nd Award was presented to two performing artists, Hector Olivera, organist, and Sergio Scappini, accordion player. As a prominent organist, Olivera travels throughout the world frequently to give concerts. Scappini, resident professor for Conservatorio di Musica "Giuseppe Verdi" di Milano, collaborated with Roland in development of the Roland V-Accordion. (photo left: Isao Tomita, the first recipient of the Award, left, celebrates Hector Olivera.)



After the award presentation ceremony, they enthralled the audience with distinguished musicality and technique at a concert. Olivera and Scappini expressed that they felt highly honored to be the prestigious recipient of the award. (photo right)

The Electronics Arts Hamamatsu Award supports innovative artists who seek optimum expression of their music with advanced digital technology.



Leading print music distributors, Osaka Murakami Gakki, Prima Gakki and Matsuzawa Shoten have announced to set up a consolidated Internet platform, ClaigsWEB© to start servicing in March. Under the new system, music publishers and distributors share information and contents of printed music and books on music in distribution.

The press conference held on November 18 in Tokyo was attended by 50 representatives from 37 music publishers. The ClaigsWEB (Centralized Administrative services information Gathering System) will be organized as a membership web service.

So far the three distributors have managed Internet customer support system architected with their own products master data base covering information on product name, retail price, date of publication, name of publisher, JAN code, etc.

It has been a weary work for the distributor staff entering new titles sent in different formats from hundreds of publishers, and making the information updated from time to time. As print music market has been stagnant these years, the sales can't cover the operating cost of the data base. Forming joint forces to establish an integrated data base was a natural course for the print music distributors.

New music titles once registered on the CraigsWEB by music publishers are reflected on master data base of the 3 distributors along with their reviews and title cover image data. Thus it greatly helps improve sales promotion and order taking at music retailers.

While, music publishers can access to the CraigsWEB to know sales performance, shipment and inventory level of their new titles at the 3 distributors. Building the bi-directional data base of music publishers and distributors, it contributes to reduce overall expenditure at both sides.

Katsufumi Tange, Sales Dept. manager of Osaka Murakami Gakki who is responsible for development of the CraigsWEB says, "We expect that the system will encourage music retailers join the network, enabling them efficient inventory control and to reduce cost. When it works as we plan, our gross profit will increase 10% to 15%. It will also be a tremendous benefit for music publishers as their work will be significantly trimmed, say, monthly sales over work will increase 30% to 40%."

Tap digital publishing business
The advent of Apple iPad early this year instantly drew attention and interest of publishing industry. Yoshihisa Yamaguchi, assistant manager of Computer System Dept. of Osaka Murakami, says about prospective future of digital publishing, "The publishing industry will face huge investment for distribution of digital publication, and it will take years before the sales of digital publication pay the development cost. The CraigsWEB has a merit that it serves both printed music and digital publication. For example, purchasers of digital publication are referred to printed music and vice versa. It will help promote existent print music business. They must be linked each other."

Surprisingly, most part of the advanced and integrated system is offered as a free service for the involved parties. Tange explains, "Exactly, we, distributors accept much of the investment for the system, but we are optimistic that increased sales of traditional printed music products will pay the cost. Efficient system for the publishers will add extra value to the CraigWEB master data which will also expand distributor data base and increase sales opportunities. In other words, development and successful operation of the system solely depend on sales performance of the distributors."

Aoyama Harp & Harp Carrier

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Natural finish ¥1,550,000
Dark Brown finish ¥1.500,000
The full-concert model made of fine maple delivers rich well resonant sound that is remarkable in this price range. Weighing just 34kgs, it's suitable for symphonic band as well. Natural and Dark Brown finishes are available.

Harp Carrier with a handle ¥47,000
Exclusively designed for grand harp using the same wood material as instrument, it comes with a handle to convey the instrument without effort.

Further information is available from:


ESP Electric Guitar & Bass

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RODEOholic-FLAME ROSE BROWN-(e-ZUKA Model) ¥520,000 (photo left)
RODEOholic electric guitar which is a gear of e-ZUKA for "GRANRODEO" has a new Flame Rose Brown finish. It features half scalloped frets from 15th to 24th for improved playability, Seymour Duncan SCR-1n and SH-14 pickups for the front and rear, Sperzel Trim-lock tuners and The D Thing tuner for the 6th string.

GARAGE (Akihiro Namba Model) ¥320,000 (photo right)
The self-supervised signature model features fat and relatively compact alder body, hard maple neck, 20 frets Honduras rosewood fingerboard, tilted head with two tuners laid out on each side, Seymour Duncan P type and MM type combination pickups of SPB-2 and SMB-4A, ESP original CINNAMON 3-band equalizer that provides versatile sounds, and Vintage White finish.

Further information is available from:

Cakewalk by Roland DAW Software

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The SONAR software has been upgraded to the SONAR X1 Series that consists the PRODUCER, flagship version, the STUDIO intermediate version with rich built-in plug-in effects and synth voices, and the ESSENTIAL for entry level musician to offer musicians all the fundamental recording, editing and mastering functions.

They feature redesigned user interface that provides greatly improved work flow and easily accessible drag & drop control capability of effects and voices, as well as new browser for bulk file control.

The new control bars and Multi Dock function allow the user to control view size, position and scale at desired level and 10 display sets of combinations of display screens for recording, editing and mixing can be saved.

The FX Chain function provides routed multiple plug-in effects. The PRODUCER has Pro Channel function that provides integrated analog modeling compressor, equalizer and tube saturator functions.  

They work on Windows7, 7x64, Vista SP2, Vistax64, SP2/XP Home SP3, and XP Professional SP3.

Further information is available from:

Roland AV Mixer & Recorder

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VR-5 ¥390,000
An AV mixer/recorder efficiently serves live video production, recording and output for web streaming with quite simple control. It packs all features of video switcher, video playback, recorder and preview monitors required for streaming live events. A dedicated streaming system can be set up simply by connecting the VR-5 with camera, microphone and, computer by means of USB. 

It provides dual LCD monitors with touch control, three video layers for 2 video sources plus DSK, 5-channel video switcher, scan converter for PC input, 2 mono and 5 stereo mixable audio channels and MPEG-4 player/recorder.

Further information is available from:

Suzuki Harmonica

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Air Wave ¥1,200

Specially designed for children, the 10-hole harmonica features wider holes for easy voicing, and light-weight thin rounded body and cover to be securely held. Blue, Orange and Red models are available. It comes in C key with an illustrated score book providing 3 tunes including Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and mimic sounds.

Further information is available from:

Kiwaya Ukulele Bags

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UCB-S for soprano model ¥6,400
UCB-C for concert model ¥7,200
The canvas bags come in cool and cute design easily coordinated with player's fashion style. A shoulder strap is standard. Five earthy colors of Red, Blue, Beige, Green and Orange are available.

The UCB-S measures 9.5cm wide for the head and 19cm wide, 55cm high and 7cm deep for the body. The UCB-C comes in the same head size, and 22cm wide, 64cm high and 7cm deep body size.

 Further information is available from:

Avdeeva Won Chopin Competition Playing Yamaha CFX

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Yamaha unveiled CFX concert grand piano during the NAMM Show in January, and the Frankfurt Music Fair in March. Kazune Shimizu, pianist, commended its sound as "Most beautiful sound in the world." The audience who heard his performance fanatically applauded the piano and its sound that it exceeded the CFIIIS of its highest level of completion with unrivaled tonal presence from delicate and distinctive pianissimo to fortissimo carrying over the sound of full orchestra.

The world witnessed the excellence of the CFX during the 16th International Chopin Piano Competition took place in Warsaw from October 18 through 20. Yulianna Avdeeva, 25, from Russia won the first prize with the CFX.

Staged every 5 years, the competition has a reputation as a gateway to success for budding pianists. So far it has sent a host of prominent artists to the music scene. Yamaha has been supporting the competition as an official supplier since 1985.

Among the 78 contestants, 10 who had passed the 3rd preliminary performed at the finals, and 4 of them chose to play the Yamaha CFX. The new born child of Yamaha won overwhelming support from the contestants. It also represents a significant achievement for Yamaha and its piano manufacturing.  (photo: ©Wojciech Grzędziński for NIFC/Yulianna Avdeeva.)              

2010 Music China

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Reflecting China's growing economic presence in the world market, the 2010 Music China in Shanghai staged from October 11 through 14 further expanded inviting more than 1,200 exhibitors and 42,000 visitors to the 70,000 sq. meter site.

Ten years ago when China emerged as a world's manufacturing base, a myriad of small local musical instrument makers

flourished. They provided the world markets with tremendous number of instruments at remarkably low price. As overseas manufacturers set foothold in the country, and advanced foreign technologies were introduced, those junk makers quickly disappeared. On the other hand demands for high quality brand products grew among the wealthy people. Today, China is attracting eyes of international consumer products industries as a huge selling market with 1.3 billion people well comparable with the total population of the U.S., EU and ASEAN countries.
Music products market, largely relying on piano, is developing in major coastal cities in China, but other western style musical instruments remain unfamiliar for Chinese consumers. Consequently, the exhibitors are enthusiastic in increasing awareness of their brand names and high standard of quality while seeking immediate business results.

One Japanese exhibitor commented, "In Japan and Western developed countries, every product area is dominated by few top brands. But the situation is different in China. That means chances are good for all manufacturers regardless of size. We can compete with big names and get sizable share of the market here if our marketing works well."

According to a spokesperson at Messe Frankfurt, Hong Kong, co-organizer of the event with China Musical Instrument Association and INTEX Shanghai, the exhibitors are recognizing the show as a gateway to broader Asian markets. In this context, they are more inclined to control exhibit of their products themselves than relying local distributors.

This year, exhibitors from France, Germany, Italy, Czech, Scandinavian countries, England, Holland, Spain and Taiwan set up national pavilions with financial support from individual government organizations and industry associations to save their exhibit cost. The organizers encourage this style of participation from overseas.

Piano leads Chinese music market
Today, it's estimated that a total of 500,000 pianos are sold in the world markets. Fifty major piano manufacturers produced 429,000 pianos in 2009. Twenty five Chinese companies shared 76% of them with total output of 324,000 units. Chinese piano manufacturing developed in fast pace after 1988 when a total of 50,000 pianos were built. Pearl River Piano, the largest manufacturer in China, shared 15,000 units then. Its production is said to mark 100,000 units this year.

Yamaha initiated music education with electronic keyboard in China in 1997. Thirteen years later, 20,000 students are enrolled. Music teaching studio business looks to be quite prospective in the years to come. As it was in Japan, piano is a status symbol in China, but only 4% of the urban households in China have a piano. Kenichi Ohmae, economist, once pointed that piano market of a country would continue to grow until GDP per capita would reach 10,000 U.S. dollars. China's music market has stepped into the stage of steep growth as its GDP per capita marked 3,800 U.S. dollars today.

Seeking business opportunities in the expanding market, more than 50 piano makers set up booths at the 2010 Music China. They included such world's leading manufacturers as Bl?thner, Fazioli, Kawai, Grotrian, Samick, Schimmel, Steingraeber, Steinway & Suns, Toyo Piano, Yamaha, Young Chang, as well as Pearl River, Beijing, Shinghai Piano and other Chinese manufacturers.

Growing market for wind instruments
China produced 1,380,000 wind instruments in 2009 of which 80% were exported. In 2001 it was only 460,000 units. Chinese wind instruments have improved in average year after year, however, experts say that there's something to say about quality while there are some international level products. As it was the case with piano, considerable number of small and unqualified manufacturers disappeared from the market in recent years.

Will Chinese electric guitar boom come?
On the contrary to piano and wind instruments, the market for electric guitars and digital music products is underdeveloped in China. As economic growth continues and wage level of consumers rises, Chinese people will have more time for leisure activities. Surging interest in rock, punk and jazz music is prominent among young generations. Growing popularity for these instruments in the country was verified by the electric guitar and drum demonstrations at the fair site which attracted massive crowds. Soichiro Takizawa of Ishibashi Music (retailer), Tokyo, said that it's no wonder that the industry sees guitar boom in China in the years to come.

Also, Makoto Suzuki, president of ESP, commented that sales of ESP guitars distributed through Tom Lee Music (Hong Kong) since April rose 50% over the previous year. The company is setting keen eyes on Chinese market as it receives inquiries for expensive models retailed over 300,000 yen.

Electronic drum is quite popular in China, but recording gears and computer-based music production looked to be not much recognized in the country.

During the period, a host of business seminars, forums and concerts were provided for the industry and visitors. They included a seminar, 'How to Promote Music for Adults' which invited An, president of China Musical Instrument Association and Joe Lamond, president, CEO, NAMM. An talked about adults music activities in China, and said the market development for adults was required for further growth of the Chinese industry. Lamond explained roles and philosophy of NAMM that its revenues generated from NAMM Show were reinvested in the industry to support market development that would help grow the industry. (photos below/)











Cremona Mondomusica 2010

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 306 Exhibitors From 24 Countries, and 11,624 Visitors

The 23rd MONDOMUSICA took place at Cremona Fiere, Cremona, Italy from October 1 through 3.

Located at 90 kilometers east south, or one hour train ride, from Milan, Cremona is a synonym of violin with its history of violin making dates back to 16th century. In the ensuing 200 years, the town raised such master makers as Nicolo Amati, Guarneri del Ges?, and Antonio Stradivari. Backed by rich tradition of violin making, the town has Stradivari Museum, Violin Makers School and about 100 violin workshops. Approximately 120 professional violin makers have their studios in the town, and 5,000 violins certified by the town of Cremona are built by them.

The Mondo-musica 2010 welcomed 306 exhibitors including 12% new companies and individual makers to the 10,000 sq. meter site. About 50% of them came from overseas, mainly European countries, and U.S., China, Taiwan, Japan and India. Japanese exhibitors included Yamaha Musica Italia, Chaconne, violin specialist dealer in Nagoya, Shirakawa Sogyo, string instrument distributor in Tokyo, Roland Italy as well as 3 individual Cremona-based masters as Takashi Ishii, Akira Takahashi and Hiroshi Kikuta. (photos: opening ceremony inviting government officials of UAE and Mr. Antonio Piva, president, Cremona Fiere.) :

Originated as an exhibition by local individual violin makers 23 years ago, the Mondomusica has increased its presence in international violin society after it had Cremona Fiere as official organizer in 2002. Though the recent global economic setback has negatively impacted the industry and international visitors, it served as an exclusive exhibition for violin family instruments, and a meeting point for the people from various parts of the world.

The exhibition was largely consisted of violin family instruments, their materials and parts, varnish, pigments, strings, bows and cases. The exhibits included works of top level makers from Antonio Stradivari String Instrument & Bow Makers Association. In addition to them, guitars, lutes, mandolins, harps, piano, organs, recorders and music books and printed music were also on exhibit. During the session, a host of seminars, symposiums and concerts were staged.

The 2011 Mondomusica takes place from September 30 through October 2. Cremona also hosts Stradivari Triennale, a violin making competition once every 3 years with the next session planned in 2012.