Every December we highlight those pianos that have won awards over the past 12 months. Awards are given by various music publications and design institutes to instruments and companies that have excelled.
This year, with fewer new instruments appearing, there haven’t been many award-winning pianos.
MMR Dealers’ Choice Awards
Musical Merchandise Review (MMR) is a long-established American trade publication. Its Dealers’ Choice Awards are chosen by musical instrument dealers from across the U.S.
Award: Acoustic Piano Line of the Year. This again went to Steinway and Sons, not only for its high-end instruments but also for its lower-priced Boston and Essex ranges.
Award: Home Digital Piano/Keyboard of the Year. This was won by the Casio PX-S Series of compact digital pianos, which include the new PX-S1100 and PX-S3100.
Award: Pro Digital Piano/Keyboard of the Year. The Privia Series, of which the above PX-S instruments form a part, was a clear winner here. Although classed as keyboards these compact digital instruments, with their impressive piano voicings are designed to appeal to both the pro and amateur pianists. Casio has had a good year.
Red Dot Design Awards
The Red Dot Design Awards have been running since 1955, and this year the Roland F701 digital piano was a recipient of a Product Design Award. This is the third such accolade for Roland’s digital pianos. The judging panel were impressed by the instrument’s understated appearance and high-performance range.
The Roland F701 also received a NAMM University – Best in Show 2021 Award at this year’s NAMM show. These awards are given in various categories to those instruments at the show the judging panel consider outstanding.
Good Design Awards
The KAWAI meets HIDA mini grand piano won a Good Design Award this year. These awards were established in Japan in 1957, and winners can use the internationally recognised “G-Mark” logo in their promotions.
Although conceived as a child’s “first piano”, this 32 note instrument is much more than a toy. Kawai and furniture manufacturers Hida Sangyo collaborated on the project. The result — a beautifully crafted mini grand piano with casework of solid walnut.
KVR Readers’ Choice Awards
Award: Favorite Keyboard Virtual Instrument.
Modartt again won this award for its Pianoteq 7 virtual piano modelling – this is the third year in a row it has won. KVR Audio is an online community focussing on music software technologies. It was established some 20 years ago and has a strong global presence.
The A’Design Awards and Competition is judged by a large school of academics, trade press, and industrial designers. Like the Red Dot Awards, these are made for designs across all disciplines.
This year the impressive Klavins Una Corda Piano won a Silver A’Design Award. This acoustic upright piano has one string per note (hence its name) and a unique soft timbre.
Guthman Musical Instrument Competition
The Electromagnetic Piano should also get a mention in this article as it won third prize in the prestigious Guthman Musical Instrument Competition this year.
The contest celebrates new ideas in musicality, design and engineering and is judged by top industry professionals. The Electromagnetic Piano uses a series of electromagnets to vibrate the strings. This creates a unique sound and enables strings to sustain indefinitely.
Other Award-Winning Pianos
As we always say, awards shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but they do help promote the industry, which must be a good thing.
If you feel we have missed any other important awards featuring pianos, please let us know.