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Hot topic...
#2890498 09/15/19 02:04 AM
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Re: Hot topic...
Retsacnal #2890499 09/15/19 02:05 AM
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Where are we going?


Some men are music lovers. Others make love without it.
Re: Hot topic...
Retsacnal #2890520 09/15/19 04:59 AM
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Ok, I'll take the topic literally, and post a pic that has something to do with the board, and the topic.

[Linked Image]

Fire is hot.
And apparently, piano burning is worthy of a Wikipedia article.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_burning


My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
My other Yamaha is an XMAX 300.
Re: Hot topic...
Retsacnal #2890541 09/15/19 06:31 AM
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Asian companies have now bought, or have bought a majority share, of several premium European brands. What has this done to quality, production, and distribution of each of these brands? In what way has it been a help? In what way has it been a hindrance?


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Philadelphia, King of Prussia, and Cherry Hill, NJ
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Visit our Online Store
Re: Hot topic...
Rich Galassini #2890598 09/15/19 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Asian companies have now bought, or have bought a majority share, of several premium European brands. What has this done to quality, production, and distribution of each of these brands? In what way has it been a help? In what way has it been a hindrance?

I guess to know this, we'd have to do a case-by-case comparison of the brands in question.
I can think of four: Bösendorfer (Yamaha), Seiler (Samick), Schimmel (Pearl River) and Feurich (Hailun).

So to do would be to check: Have the pianos become better or worse since the companies were taken over by an Asian company?
And we'd also have to compare this to top-tier European companies that have not been taken over by Asian companies; like Bechstein, Fazioli, Steingraeber... See if these pianos have also changed in quality.

Then we'd see if there's a correlation between Asian ownership and continuity in quality.


My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
My other Yamaha is an XMAX 300.
Re: Hot topic...
Rich Galassini #2890601 09/15/19 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Asian companies have now bought, or have bought a majority share, of several premium European brands. What has this done to quality, production, and distribution of each of these brands? In what way has it been a help? In what way has it been a hindrance?



Rich, can you share your thoughts on these questions? I think you are uniquely positioned to enlighten most of us here.



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Re: Hot topic...
Retsacnal #2890633 09/15/19 12:35 PM
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Must also include in the discussion the extent to which production has also moved/changed along with the change in ownership.

Larry.

Re: Hot topic...
Retsacnal #2890642 09/15/19 01:02 PM
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I think Japan has proven its ability to design and build world class, quality stuff. As for China and Korea, I don't think they're as far along in the design department as Japan. However, they are quite capable of building top quality stuff to other companies' specs. See for example smart phones and electronics. Therefore it seems possible that under the direction and design specs of high quality European and American piano companies, China and Korea could build stuff to the the same standards. Unlike cell phones and electronics, however, the market for pianos is not as big. But maybe with the growing demand for pianos in Asian markets, it could be big enough.


Kawai MP11SE
souped up Kawai GL10
Re: Hot topic...
Retsacnal #2890649 09/15/19 01:13 PM
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All those bombed factories in WW2 ,yet so many survived ? We can keep bombing factories everywhere I suppose ? There are "SO MANY WAYS TO BOMB" Then the pianos we love ,seem
to love ,seem a little more purer,more perfect ! (than real )
Or is it just the pianos we want to promote or sell !

Last edited by Lady Bird; 09/15/19 01:14 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: Hot topic...7
Retsacnal #2890652 09/15/19 01:18 PM
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So.KEEP bombing then we can breath OUT and say ahhh YA MA HAH

Last edited by Lady Bird; 09/15/19 01:20 PM. Reason: Spelling
Re: Hot topic...
iLaw #2890655 09/15/19 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by iLaw
Must also include in the discussion the extent to which production has also moved/changed along with the change in ownership.

Larry.

Completely agree -- without this point, I don't think we can really have a discussion. We'd have to know more specifically about each (share) acquisition.

Re: Hot topic...
NobleHouse #2890657 09/15/19 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Asian companies have now bought, or have bought a majority share, of several premium European brands. What has this done to quality, production, and distribution of each of these brands? In what way has it been a help? In what way has it been a hindrance?



Rich, can you share your thoughts on these questions? I think you are uniquely positioned to enlighten most of us here.

It all depends...... ........? With this image of a massive fire and then this kind of discussion.Cheap rumours are enough to cope with, in other words lies !
If we are gong to talk about FACTS yes .,but if one does not know for sure .,FALSE rumours cause damage !

Re: Hot topic...
Emery Wang #2890660 09/15/19 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
I think Japan has proven its ability to design and build world class, quality stuff. As for China and Korea, I don't think they're as far along in the design department as Japan. However, they are quite capable of building top quality stuff to other companies' specs. See for example smart phones and electronics. Therefore it seems possible that under the direction and design specs of high quality European and American piano companies, China and Korea could build stuff to the the same standards. Unlike cell phones and electronics, however, the market for pianos is not as big. But maybe with the growing demand for pianos in Asian markets, it could be big enough.


For sure, the Japanese are totally dedicated to quality--I believe this grows out of several cultural attitudes. However, don't dismiss the Koreans--they can be fierce and dedicated, also, although their culture is quite different from the Japanese.

Re: Hot topic...
Emery Wang #2890678 09/15/19 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang

... As for China and Korea, I don't think they're as far along in the design department ...



But wouldn't you like to sit down and try out that Yangtze River 275 that went to the Tchaikovsky? I sure would. I assume that it was a one-off, and I don't believe there is a single one in the United States, but I'm sure curious. Parsons doesn't seem to even hint at a high-end Yangtze River model in the 210-220 cm range, but that would be interesting as well.

Larry.


Re: Hot topic...
Rich Galassini #2890680 09/15/19 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Asian companies have now bought, or have bought a majority share, of several premium European brands. What has this done to quality, production, and distribution of each of these brands? In what way has it been a help? In what way has it been a hindrance?

So yes please discuss the subject Rich has introduced ! But please do so responsibly that is all I ask There have in the past been false statements and implications drawn.This is only destructive.
Recently Seiler and Schimmel have been bought by by Samick and PR. Bösendorfer is in the safe
hands of Yamaha.This is a major prize for Yamaha !
Other firms Steingraeber,Bechstein, August Forster,Sauter,Bluthner etc are German made.So how are the ones like Schimmel and Seiler and Bösendorfer still doing .How authentic are they as European instruments? Are these still European pianos?

Last edited by Lady Bird; 09/15/19 03:42 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: Hot topic...7
Rich Galassini #2890708 09/15/19 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Asian companies have now bought, or have bought a majority share, of several premium European brands. What has this done to quality, production, and distribution of each of these brands? In what way has it been a help? In what way has it been a hindrance?

It has helped save these companies from themselves. The Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese are excellent at mass producing complex products while keeping costs down. In China that may have something to do with lax labor laws who knows. Both Koreans and Japan understood that Americans and Europeans wanted to buy affordable pianos but European companies kept to old craftsmen tradition building costly pianos by hand one at a time and were over taken by Japanese companies Kawai and Yamaha in the 60's and Korean companies in the 90's. The European companies never realized the problem until it was too late because they were too slow to adapt. So Chinese companies are able to build these pianos cheaper and because of globalization they are able to take only what they need if they can't produce something of similar quality like hammers. The end result of which are cheaper pianos. Whether these pianos will stand the test of time is still to be seen. Also I think one of the reasons why it happens to be Asian companies taking over the market is because there is stronger market (interest) and kind of renaissance of culture in China that produced wunderkinds Lang Lang and Yuja Wang. There is a much stronger market for the acoustic piano and classical music in general in China than there is probably anywhere else in the world. It is my understanding that represent something in the order of 70% as the target market for acoustic pianos. American and European kids are unfortunately too preoccupied with video games to bother with Chopin or Bach. The problem with all this is mostly an identity crisis of these previously European owned companies. They mean the old traditions are being lost, they may worry that jobs will eventually be being away from them and made in Germany often ends with a question mark. One other concern that I brought up in another topic was that because these Asian companies (particularly Japanese) are good at identifying consumer trends and pouncing on them. I think to the detriment of the piano industry as a whole they are over marketing digital pianos as an acceptable substitute for the acoustic piano. So we are seeing a large influx on digital pianos in America and Europe while the Chinese with their ever more refined tastes are gobbling up the quality "real" stuff.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Hot topic...
Retsacnal #2890711 09/15/19 05:04 PM
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Let me first share my personal story that I was directly involved with. Cunningham Piano Company is a long time Bösendorfer dealer. In fact, in 2005 (Pre-Yamaha) we were named "North American Warranty Center" for Bösendorfer. To be clear, under Yamaha there is no such designation.

Anyway, while the transaction was happening, which took many months, I had panic attacks... literally. I have loved Bösendorfer since I first played one as a child and I had confidence in Yamaha, but I had heard so many rumors about what would happen when the transaction was completed. A member here on PW (who is also an industry insider) shared that he KNEW that Yamaha had plans to build Bösendorfer in Japan.

The good news is that the first thing Yamaha did was sink a ton of money to buy leased land that Bösendorfer needed. This was a great sign. After Yamaha had had ownership for a year I spent 10 days in the factory with the manager of our piano restoration facility. We looked over the entire operation and not a corner was cut.

As an observer of this relationship, Yamaha has treated their ownership as a partnership, as art preservation. But at the same time they have asked Bösendorfer to stand on their own fiscally. As far as I know, they are doing that.

The upside is that Bösendorfer has gained distribution, marketing support, and capital to improve process, R&D, etc.

The downside is that Bösendorfer may have lost some panache in the minds of some people that have misperceptions of what each brand represents.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Philadelphia, King of Prussia, and Cherry Hill, NJ
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: Hot topic...
Retsacnal #2890726 09/15/19 05:57 PM
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Yes obviously Bösendorfer is safe with Yamaha, so I am sure it will continue as a great piano. Of there are smaller European firms that the time could come when they may have face the music ?
I am thinking of August Foster and Sauter.For anyone interested in European pianos.(the home of
pianos and music)This is a reason for concern.Udo Steingraeber seems to have the energy to fly
around the world and do his thing to protect and market Steingraeber pianos. C Bechstein and
Bluthner are huge firms and probably will cope for a long time.
European pianos do not have to be SAVED from themselves but times change and much with it.
Competition is massive in a world that the accoustic piano is not as valued as much as it once was.
Classical music struggles as well where social conditions have changed.Composers do not compose for a Prince or Archbishop anymore but often freelance.
And then owners of important European manufactures age and die.We hope for a musical and business minded family member to step forward.Otherwise the manufacturers just cannot cope
against other massive piano makers.
I do not understand what Rich means when he says a great piano like Bösendorfer LOSES panache in the minds of people who do not understand what each brand represents?

Last edited by Lady Bird; 09/15/19 05:59 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: Hot topic...
Retsacnal #2890728 09/15/19 06:08 PM
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Another thing that has not been mentioned: Is the impact on a prestigious piano manufacturer more significant, when it is bought not by an Asian piano maker, but by an American company that has nothing to do with making music?
I am of course thinking about Steinway, which is probably one of the best known top-tier piano builders and has been bought a few years ago by an investment firm named Paulson.
Has Steinway changed more than Bösendorfer, or Seiler or Schimmel?

Investment firms don't care about music, they care about making money. This makes them different from Asian piano factories. Those are interested in making music and money.

Last edited by patH; 09/15/19 06:09 PM.

My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
My other Yamaha is an XMAX 300.
Re: Hot topic...
Retsacnal #2890733 09/15/19 06:29 PM
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In regards to Bosendorfer I don't think there is a better company than Yamaha to be owned by. They have deep pockets, already a large market share, their own reputation for building quality grands at all levels, and they obviously know how to run a company. I was very impressed with their Presidents remarks in the annual report and a purveyor in educating the public about the value of the musical instrument in sustaining culture. He understands that if they don't do their part in preserving the art then their own survival is at risk. Yamaha can save a company like Bosendorfer from themselves because it asks them to maybe question some traditions that might make a company less fiscally responsible but preserves the core of what makes a Bosendorfer special because that's what they investing in. So long as the public is aware that these changes in ownership does not mean cutting corners I think Bosendorfer's reputation for fine quality pianos will remain unscathed.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
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