TOKYO, Aug 12 — A 77-year-old piano that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and has become a symbol for peace is heading to New York next year as the city marks the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

When the United States dropped the bomb on the Japanese city on August 6, 1945, the Yamaha upright piano was in the blast radius. It still retains very low levels of radiation and shards of glass are forever embedded in the black lacquer. “During the bombing of Hiroshima, everything within two kilometers from ground zero was burned and destroyed. This piano was within that boundary and miraculously survived,” said Mitsunori Yagawa, who restored the instrument and tours across Japan, playing it at peace concerts.

A view of Hiroshima after the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. A piano which survived the devastation continues to provide music of ‘peace’ 64 years later. – Reuters file photo

“I’m planning to bring this piano that was exposed to radiation to New York in the coming year, just in time for 9/11 in hopes to spread awareness about the atomic bomb and the preciousness of peace to the world,” Yagawa told Reuters.

Yagawa’s father was exposed to radiation during the bombing, inspiring him to hold these concerts which he hopes will drill home the value of peace to the younger generations.

He held his first concert on the piano, one of five to survive the blast, in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park in 2005.

Last Sunday, the 64th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, which came a few days after Hiroshima, acclaimed composer and pianist Kansaku Tanikawa took to the piano’s tarnished, ivory keys for a moving performance at a memorial event in Tokyo.

He also marveled at the quality of the piano’s sound. “The piano sounds so good that it is hard to imagine that it was damaged by an atomic bomb,” Tanikawa said.
– Reuters

SALZBURG, Austria (Reuters) – An Austrian pianist, Florian Birsak performed two newly discovered pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for the first time in public on Sunday, August 2, 2009 in a house where the master composer once lived.

The concerto movement and a prelude were originally judged by their archivist, the International Mozarteum Foundation, to be anonymous works. Further analysis determined they had been composed by Mozart when he was 7-or 8-years-old.Both pieces were transcribed in the writing of Mozart’s father Leopold but the analysis showed he must have done so from what his prodigy child was playing on a piano, the foundation’s Mozart researcher Ulrich Leisinger told a news conference.

He said the young Mozart almost certainly asked his father to put the pieces to paper because he could not yet do musical notation, and later made his own corrections.

“This was a young composer running riot to show what he was capable of. The piece does contain real technical mistakes and clumsy moments that an old hand like Leopold Mozart would never have made,” Leisinger said.

“Neither the compositional style nor hasty correction-ridden hand-writing are consistent with Leopold’s authorship.”

Both pieces were played by pianist Florian Birsak on Mozart’s own piano in the Salzburg house where he lived for several years as a young man, and that is now a museum.

The International Mozarteum Foundation was founded as a non-profit organisation in 1880 to focus on the life and work of Mozart by holding concerts, running museums and promoting research regarding the composer.

Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756 and died in Vienna in 1791 at the age of 35.

He began playing piano at an early age and was composing from the age of five, going on to write more than 600 works and becoming one of the most prolific and beloved classical composers.

This is not the first time in recent years that works by Mozart have resurfaced posthumously. Last year a library in Nantes, France, reported finding that a musical score that had been donated by a private collector at the end of the 19th century was a Mozart original rather than a copy as earlier thought.

Sheet music recently identified as part of a childhood creation by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is displayed during a press conference held by the research department of the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg, Austria, on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2009. Mozart’s momentous legacy grew Sunday as researchers unveiled two piano pieces recently identified as childhood creations by the legendary composer. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

More information, audio clips and score of this two new pieces
1. Piano piece in G (NMA Nr. 50)
2. Concerto movement in G (NMA Nr. 51)

please go to International Mozarteum Foundation

Source from Taipei Times

Taipei – Japan’s Yamaha Corp, the world largest piano manufacturer, will shut its Taiwan plant later this month due to high production costs in Taiwan, Yamaha’s agent said Wednesday.

‘The Taiwan Yamaha Musical Instrument Manufacturing Co Ltd will close on July 25. Its 100-or-so workers will be laid off with severance pay,’ a staff member from the Yamaha KSH Music Co, Yamaha’s agent, told the German News Agency dpa by phone.

‘It is a pity because the Taiwan Yamaha plant sells the world’s best-quality Yamaha pianos at the lowest price. It has made a great contribution to music education in Taiwan,’ he added.

The Yamaha Taiwan company confirmed its upcoming closure, saying it is part of Yamaha Corp’s global restructuring.

‘In future, production in Taiwan will be assigned to Yamaha’s plant in Japan or other countries,’ it said in a statement.

In its heyday, the Taiwan Yamaha plant produced 10,000 pianos per month for domestic sale and export, but now its makes only 1,000 per month.

‘The Yamaha Corp thinks production costs are too high,’ Tsai Chen-cheng, the plant’s sales manager, told the United Daily News.

But Yamaha Corp’s agent in Taiwan, Yamaha KSH Music Co, will continue to sell Yamaha pianos, offer after-sales service to clients and run more than 100 Yamaha music classrooms which teach piano and other musical instruments.

The Yamaha plant, located in Taoyuan County near Taipei, was opened in 1969 as a joint venture between the local partner and the Yamaha Corp, which has links with the Yamaha Motor Corp, producer of Yamaha motorbikes.

Yamaha Corp was founded by Torakusu Yamaha in 1887 in Hamamatsu, Japan. It produced its first Yamaha piano in 1900 and by 1991 had manufactured 5 million Yamaha pianos.

The Taiwan company is one of Yamaha Corp’s overseas plants, which produce Yamaha pianos using materials and technology supplied by the Yamaha Corp.

There are two Yamaha plants in China and one each in Indonesia, Taiwan and Britain.

Yamaha Corp shut its piano production line in the United States two years ago and plans to close its plant in Britain in October.

NOTHING brings people together like music, whether it be the sweet melodies flowing from the strings of a violin, the beat of a drum or even the tinkle of a piano. Music transcends differences and inspires the best in people, regardless of their race, creed or colour.

The Persatuan Chopin Malaysia will be organising the 1st ASIAN Grand Piano Concert at the Plenary Hall, 3rd Floor, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Friday 12 June 2009.

The concert will feature the collaboration between the Malaysian Chopin Society and the Korean Piano Society to promote cultural and musical exchange between Malaysia and South Korea.

The main aim of staging this concert is to provide a platform for talented young pianists, piano teachers and reputed piano professors mainly from Malaysia and Korea as well as from other Asian countries to come together to share their experiences and showcase their talent and virtuosity in music.

The society also hopes to inspire and encourage those interested in learning to play the piano by supporting budding and talented young Malaysian musicians in fulfilling their career aspirations and helping them develop an appreciation for classical as well as other kinds of music.

This concert has attracted 32 participants (28 professors and four children) from Korea; four from Hong Kong and about 100 participants from Malaysia. This concert has attracted 32 participants (28 professors and four children) from Korea; four from Hong Kong and about 100 participants from Malaysia.

Pianists appearing in pairs will be playing a repertoire of classical compositions on four 9-foot high grand pianos simultaneously throughout the concert. This is the first time ever that a piano concert on such a grand scale is being organised in Malaysia.

The concert will be divided into two sessions: the Junior (6pm-7pm) and the Gala Concert (8.15pm-10.30pm).

In conjunction with the concert, the Malaysian Chopin Society will be hosting a forum titled In Pursuit of Excellence In Music Education on effective ways to develop young musicians, at the Centre on June 13 from 10.30am to 1pm.

Experts from Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea and Indo­nesia will be on the panel.

For details, call Felicia Chen at 012-6657 863 or visit Chopin Society Malaysia

Vertical (Upright) Piano Action Diagram

How and upright piano action functions.
When the key is pressed, it rocks on the center rail, moving upwards at the back. In doing so, it raised the wippen. The wippen operates the jack, which in turn pushes the hammer butt. The butt pivots on its flange and moves the hammer towards the string. When the key is half way down, the damper spoon engages with the damper level, lifting the damper off the strings. When the hammer is almost hit to the string, the jack heel meets the set-off button and as wippen keeps moving up, the jack pivots and moves out from under the butt. the hammer then continues under its own inertia to the string, instantly rebounding. the catcher is caught by the backcheck and is held in the position as long as the key remains depressed.

When the key is released, the wippen drops, the backcheck releases the catcher, the bridle tape exerts a tug on the hammer butt and with the help of the butt spring, the hammer returns to the hammer rail . The damper spring returns the damper to the strings and the jack spring returns the jack under the butt, ready for the next repetition. This entire sequence is momentary, allowing rapid repetition of the notes.

Upright piano action: upright piano internal operation.
Hammer Top Felt: cloth surrounding the hammer.
Hammer: piece that hits the string to make it vibrate.
Hammer Rail: hammer support when it is not operated.
Catcher: piece that catches the hammer tail when it falls.
Backcheck: piece that catches the hammer tail when it falls.
Key: part of the keyboard that is pressed to produce a note.
Wippen: piece to which the strings are attached and that transmits the sound to the soundboard.
Jack: piece that sends the hammer head towards the string.
Hammer Butt: part of the hammer that is pushed by the jack.
Spring Rail: support for the damper when it is not operated.
Damper: piece that prevents the string from vibrating.
String: part of the piano that produces the sound by vibration when hit.

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