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Published in Pianist Magazine Issue No. 4 – 2019

Pianos for all

Extraordinary: Transparent special edition from Kayserburg

Times are changing. Today in China millions of children learn to play the piano, inspired by great role models such as Yundi, Yuja Wang and Lang Lang. And Chinese piano manufacturers are keeping
pace, especially the Pearl River Piano Group, where almost 500 pianos leave the factory every day.

With Leng Tshua and Evelyn Luo at Ritmüller-Concert Grand Piano

Portrait of the Pearl River Piano Group

At the Leipzig Fair we met Leng Tshua, International Sales and Marketing Director at Pearl River Piano Group China, and Evelyn Luo, General Manager Pearl River Piano Group Europe GmbH with branch office in Braunschweig. This subsidiary has already been in existence in Germany for 15 years. Both have been in the piano industry for over 30 years and are passionate about the new presentation of Pearl River Pianos in Europe. The company was founded in Guangzhou in 1956, and Pearl River is now the largest piano manufacturer in the world. Leng Tshua: „We are proud of our production of more than 150,000 pianos annually by more than 4,000 employees. All instruments of the three brands Pearl River, Ritmüller and Kayserburg are manufactured in the new ultra-modern factory in Guangzhou, which was completed in 2018. We combine traditional craftsmanship with advanced computer-controlled CNC machines to meet the high European standards. We also use European materials such as machine heads and hammer heads from Renner, felt from Wurzen felt factory and strings from Röslau. In 1998, Pearl River was the first piano company in China to receive ISO 9001 certification.“ Leng Tshua: „There are no concessions when it comes to quality. Much has changed in the past 30 years and we have continuously improved the quality of our products in cooperation with renowned piano manufacturers in Japan and Germany. Today we manufacture pianos based on European manufacturing methods, with a European sound. Simply put, it is our goal to produce good products at a reasonable price that everyone can afford. This is achieved through the efficiency of our production, that is our philosophy.“ Leng Tshua sees the great importance of music. „Music is an important part of life, books, music, art, we need it every day. That is why it is so important for our children that the first contact with a piano is a positive experience. The sound must be pleasant and inviting. I am a pianist myself, I started when I was two years old. This is a process, music and sound is like baby food. It must have nutritional value and be of high quality, otherwise the baby won‘t grow. On a piano with bad sound, children don‘t learn to love music. It‘s like giving a child insufficient care. If you‘re not careful, the child will turn away from music. It is well known that children who learn music are also better at mathematics, and their social behaviour is also positively influenced by music education. The new generation is our hope for the future.“  We are talking about 30 to 40 million Chinese pianists? Leng Tshua: „I would say: one and a half million young people who want to make music their profession. Our Kayserburg International Youth Piano Competition, which I promote worldwide, has been very successful, not only in Europe but also in North America, Australia, the Philippines, Ecuador and Hong Kong. Next time in 2021, most Asian countries will be represented, and an exciting news is that we have more than 100,000 participants this year in China alone.  With the support of educational communities, public schools and music schools across China, we can manage that.

A look inside the Pearl River Factory in Guangzhou

Pearl River is the market leader in China and the instruments are exported to more than 112 countries. Pearl River was one of the first to market pianos in the USA under its own company name. Evelyn Luo: „Our instruments were well received by piano teachers and tuners.“ Pearl River produces concert grand pianos for all three brands, Pearl River, Ritmüller and Kayserburg, which are offered in specialized flagship stores throughout China, Asia and other countries in the Pacific region. Evelyn Luo: „We are now in a position to offer our products all over the world. We are starting to serve the European market with our products Ritmüller Classic Line, Ritmüller Superior Line and Ritmüller Premium Line.
We now turn our attention to the sale of Ritmüller pianos, one of the oldest German brand names for pianos in Germany. Pearl River has revived this brand and introduces three instrument lines. The Ritmüller Classic Line offers high sound quality and a wide variety of models, suitable for both professional and amateur musicians. The Ritmüller Superior Line was designed by a European team of designers. All instruments have high-quality components, including soundboards made of selected spruce wood, Röslau strings and the best hammer felt. The Ritmüller Premium Line was also developed by our European and American piano makers and we use the latest technologies. With these instruments, Pearl River also addresses professional pianists at the same time.

ERIC SCHOONES

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