Several US music trade magazines announce their annual industry awards in December. So, as we reach the end of 2019, we take a look at the winners of this year’s various piano awards. The bias, however, is somewhat in favour of the digitals.
MMR Dealers’ Choice Awards
The Musical Merchandise Review first appeared in 1879, and has continued to publish to the American trade, without a break, for the past 140 years! The MMR Dealers Choice Awards voted for by musical instrument retailers, began in 1992, and the 27th set of winners were announced this Wednesday (4-December-2019).
Acoustic Piano Line of the Year goes to Yamaha, basically for the depth of its range. Yamaha’s catalogue offers entry-level instruments from under $10,000 to concert grands played by the top professional costing hundreds of thousands.
Home Digital Piano/Keyboard of the Year was awarded to the Casio Privia PX-S3000 (along with the Casio Privia PX-S1000).
Pro Digital Piano/Keyboard Line of the Year went to Kawai with their MP Series of instruments (the Kawai MP11SE and the Kawai MP7SE). They won last year too!
Music Inc.’s Product Excellence Awards
This is the 13th year Music Inc. magazine has held these awards. The voting panel consists of music trade professionals (mostly dealers). Last year the Steinway Model B grand piano won the acoustic piano award, and the Kawai Novus NV10 was considered to be the best digital/hybrid piano.
This year four pianos received the accolades.
The Roland LX708, flagship to the LX range, was voted the best digital piano.
Yamaha’s AvantGrand N1X received the hybrid piano award, and the Casio Privia PX-S3000 compact digital piano was also a winner.
No acoustic piano won in its own right this year. However, the Steinway Spirio|r high-resolution piano player, in conjunction with the Steinway Model B or Model D, did receive a Product Excellence Award.
The following awards aren’t just for the music industry. Nominees include products (and services) from all aspects of modern-day life. Nevertheless, as is the case this year, pianos often appear in their commendations.
iF Design Award
The iF Design Award has been running for some 65 years. The results are announced each year in Hamburg, Germany following three days of meticulous judging by a collection of experts from different fields.
In 2018 The ONE Keyboard Pro in conjunction with The ONE Smart Piano app received a product design award. The last acoustic piano to win recognition was the Schimmel K125 Tradition upright back in 2012.
This year the Roland LX700 Series (digital) as a whole won an iF Design Award. There are three models in the range – the aforementioned LX708, LX706 and LX705.
Red Dot Design Award
The Red Dot Award also goes back over 60 years to 1954. Again it began as a design competition for German companies but is now recognised worldwide.
The Roland LX700 Series was also a winner of a Red Dot 2019 Product Design Award.
So too was the Yamaha Clavinova CSP Series, with the jury drawing particular attention to the Stream Lights feature which functions as a teaching aid. There are currently two models in this premium range of digital pianos, the CSP-170 and CSP-150.
Mexart’s A Singing Desk (featured in a recent World Piano News article) won a Red Dot Design Concept Award.
Good Design Award
The Good Design Award originates in Japan and began back in 1957. Winners of the award can use the widely recognized “G-Mark” symbol in their product marketing. There are various levels of award, with just one Good Design Grand Award made each year. An annual exhibition of winners takes place in Tokyo in September.
The Roland LX708 secured a coveted “G-Mark” in 2018. This year, however, Kawai and Yamaha were both recipients. The Kawai Novus NV5 hybrid digital piano and the Yamaha CP88 (and CP73) were recognized in the “audio equipment and music instruments” category.
A’ Design Award
209 academics, trade press, and industrial designers judge the A’ Design Award and Competition. They employ a rigorous and detailed evaluation methodology. The parent organization is based in Italy but the awards are international in scope, and there is a wide range of categories across the entire design spectrum.
The Exxeo Hybrid Piano is the only piano to feature in the 2019 list of winners. It won a Platinum A’ Design Award in the luxury design category. You can read more about this unusual instrument here.
EdTech Breakthrough Award
Tech Breakthrough is a market intelligence organization, and they run the EdTech Breakthrough Awards program. This scheme identifies the best products in the field of education technology. This year the Casio Privia PX-S1000 and Privia PX-S3000 won the Music Education Solution of the Year award.
Some consider awards to be pure marketing hype, but such programs do draw attention to the world of pianos. Hopefully next year there will be a few more acoustic winners.
Please add your comments if you feel we have missed any other important awards in the above report. You might even want to make up your own, perhaps not too serious, awards for your own favourite instruments!