December is the month we take our customary look back at the winners of the year’s various piano awards. These “gongs” are bestowed mostly by music publications and design institutes. In previous years, most awards have gone to digital pianos. This is even more the case in 2020.
MMR Dealers Choice Award 2020
Musical Merchandise Review (MMR) is an American trade publication. It was established in 1879, and its Dealer Choice Awards are chosen by musical instrument retailers. There are three piano-related classes. Last year’s winners are shown in brackets.
Acoustic Piano Line of the Year is awarded to Steinway & Sons (2019: Yamaha) for both its flagship line and for its popular lower-priced Boston and Essex brands.
Home Digital Piano/Keyboard of the Year goes to the Roland FP-30 (2019: Casio Privia PX-S3000 and PX-S1000). An extremely popular choice. This 88-note portable “ticks all the boxes”.
Pro Digital Piano/Keyboard Line of the Year is won by the Kawai MP Series. This range has won the award for the last 3 years.
Music Inc.’s Product Excellence Awards 2020
Music Inc. magazine’s voting panel comprises music trade professionals, with dealers making up the majority. This is the awards’ 14th year.
The Kawai Novus NV5 hybrid piano won a Product Excellence award receiving praise for “…incorporating a digital and acoustic piano into one instrument with a great touch, feel, sound, and cabinetry at a great price.”
Music and Sound Awards 2020
Music and Sound Retailer is a 35-year-old trade publication currently with the highest audited circulation of any MI trade magazine. These awards are its 34th and are given with reference to the previous year. So their winner of Best Keyboard Sound Module 2019, announced in 2020, is the Roland GO:PIANO88.
Good Design Award 2020
The Good Design Award originate in Japan in 1957. Winners can use the internationally recognised “G-Mark” in their marketing.
No piano received this award in 2020. The Kawai Novus NV5 hybrid piano and the Yamaha CP88/CP73 stage pianos both won in 2019.
Red Dot Design Award 2020
The German-based Red Dot Design Award has run for over 60 years. It is now keenly sought after by companies around the world.
This year Yamaha and Casio both received a Product Design award. The Yamaha CP88 and Yamaha CP73 digital stage pianos won for their intuitive operation, touch response and piano voicings. Whilst the Casio Privia PX-S1000 digital piano gleaned praise for its sleek compact design and its keyboard action.
In 2019 honours went to the Roland LX700 Series and the Yamaha CSP Series.
IF Design Awards 2020
Another German-based institution, iF International Forum Design also runs a longstanding competition. They have been rewarding great design since 1953.
And, when it comes to digital pianos, the IF Design Awards 2020 mirror their German compatriots at Red Dot. The Yamaha CP88 (including the Yamaha CP73) and Casio Privia PX-S1000 both winning product design awards this year, and for similar reasons.
Awards can be a guide to help discover the better instruments. But, like reviews, some shouldn’t be taken too seriously. At the end of the day, awards are subjective, and may not reflect your needs from an instrument.
Please add your comments if you feel we have missed any other important awards in the above report. And feel free to make up your own awards for your favourite piano — especially if its an acoustic!