Technology, ideas, and education: the Yamaha world in Iannantuoni’s words

This year Yamaha is back at Cremona Musica – Piano Experience, exhibiting its most prestigious pianos, the most technological instruments, its philosophy, and also hosting some concerts, featuring world-renowned artists. To know more about what to expect from Yamaha, we interviewed Giovanni Iannantuoni, senior manager of Yamaha Piano Division.


This year Yamaha will exhibit its pianos at Cremona Musica, in the Sala Stradivari. Can you tell us which new models you are presenting?

For sure, we will bring all our best models. The “Viennese sound” will be represented by Bösendorfer’s 214 and 280, both from the new Vienna Concert series, two pianos that had an unexpected success. The 280 Vienna Concert grand piano, in particular, became Sir Andras Schiff’s reference piano. Today Bösendorfer is the oldest piano producer in the world that is still in business, in a solid business, I would add. In 2008 Yamaha took over the historical Austrian brand, bringing it out from its serious financial crisis, and I want to specify that, after the takeover, production, projects, brand philosophy remained 100% Made in Austria. Personally, I really appreciated this operation, as it saved a brand that is a world heritage. I think we all consider the piano a universal heritage. We know that Cristofori invented it, with the fundamental support of Ferdinando De’ Medici, but then the piano developed in all of Europe, and then many builders were born. Thanks to this spread, the piano evolved a lot. Then, in 1897, Yamaha was founded, followed by other Japanese crafters. Now Yamaha is the company of this field that invests the most in research and development, in innovation, and we can do it thanks to our peculiar diversification. In Cremona we will have more Yamaha’s pianos than Bösendorfer’s. Obviously we will bring the prestigious CFX grand piano, that was the most requested piano during the 2015 Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Then there will be the new SX7 and SX6 concert pianos, and the more technological ones, like the new SH Silent, TA2 TransAcoustic, and the renowned Disklavier. These pianos will amaze visitors for their innovation and quality. Let’s say that our visitors will not be disappointed.


Among Yamaha’s models, the Disklavier is one of the most innovative ones: what are the possible uses of this piano for professionals, students, and amateurs?

As I mentioned before, we will have our wonderful C7X Disklavier Enspire in the Sala Stradivari. The technology of this model, that Yamaha launched for the first time in 1887, has greatly evolved. Its uses are almost infinite; it enables to record and reproduce the pianist’s action, with a long series of utilities for teaching, composition, and entertainment. Disklavier can be played remotely too, from thousands of miles away, it can be used to train alone in four-handed performances, or to relive the performance of famous pianists that are not with us anymore, and much more. All the features can be easily managed through the app, available on smartphones, that enables to record synchronized videos too. Regarding Disklavier, I remember that when we presented it in a Conservatory in Northern Italy, a teacher said: “It is a circus that a prestigious German brand would never think of producing”. After many years the facts showed he was totally wrong. I want to remind that the Disklavier in the Sala Stradivari will move into the wonderful Piazza del Comune, in Cremona, on Saturday 29, for the special Silent Concert, for the first time with piano and violin, an emotional experience I totally recommend. If you want, you can book your headphones for the event here: https://swc2018-cremona.eventbrite.it


Yamaha has always been a pioneer for digital pianos too: which are your main models in this field?

In the world of digital pianos, Yamaha became a benchmark. This field grew greatly in the last years, and it confirms that always more people are dreaming to make music. We cannot deny that the digital pianos, thanks to their cheap cost and portability, absorbed part of the acoustic pianos market, but I think that acoustic pianos, animated by live wood and vibrating metal, will be the undisputed king of musical instruments for a long time. In Cremona we will have different models, both portable and upright. The CSP 170 is particularly interesting, with its didactic vocation, and also the innovative AvantGrand, digital pianos with a real piano mechanics. Whoever loves having fun, can try the super-technological workstation GENOS, with its new surprising and natural samplings.

 

Is there any particular promotion for those who want to buy a Yamaha piano?

We are all tired of the fake advertisings. I think we all want simplicity and openness. Nobody likes to be treated like a consumer, we are humans, and this is how we want to be treated. I do not like campaigns such as “...last days, hurry up...”. Our policy for prices is really balanced, we try to raise the quality, keeping the prices fair. We launched some financial campaigns that are available all the year long, to allow families to pay for our products in installments. Yamaha pays, totally or in part, according to the cases, the interest of the financing. The retailers can give you further information.

 

Yamaha invests a lot to support musical education and to promote young talents: what are your current projects in this field?

This is the part I prefer. Our educational vocation is unique in the world. The Yamaha Music foundation was born in 1966, in Japan, with the aim to promote and spread music education. We arrived in Europe in 1990, and since then we have invested a million Euros in scholarships for young students. Now our Yamaha schools boast dozens of thousands of scholars just in Europe. Yamaha’s musical courses accompanied wonderful careers, famous artists such as Beatrice Rana, Mariangela Vacatello, Giulia Rossini, Hiromi Uehara, just to mention a few. Another success of ours has been “Music at school”, that enabled about 9000 students of the primary school to study music during schooltime. Then musical campuses for kids, refresher courses for teachers, concerts for young talents. In this field our activity is frenzied and joyful. This is why on Sunday 30 September, at 3pm, in the Sala Stradivari, we are hosting a meeting about the importance of welcoming musical education into the life of kids. We will talk about it with music, words, images… with: prof. Luigi Berlinguer, president of CNAPM (National Committee for the practical teaching of music), Dr Isabella Gasperini, psychologist, Cesare Picco, world-renowned pianist and composer, and other important institutional and musical personalities and with Roberta Ferrari, didactic manager of Yamaha. I suggest everyone to come, it is not a boring conference, but a party to celebrate the future. Because kids are our future, and I am really proud to be part of a company that cares a lot about the future.


What do you expect from the upcoming edition of Cremona Piano Experience?

The main reason we decided to come back to Cremona Musica this year is that we want to meet our community of “friends of Yamaha”, that is made of aficionados, musicians, journalists, bloggers; a network of people connected by the threads of music and by the passion for beauty. We will meet our friends, and some of them, world-famous pianists, will offer our visitors some high quality concerts. We come to Cremona Musica to give our small contribution to the visitors of the fair. At the top of all our activities, Yamaha places a clear mission: “To contribute to the improvement of our society through the spread of music and musical culture”. We are coming to give and, if we succeed, we will come back home satisfied.