Y is for Yamaha and the growth of the Asian market
Twenty years ago, any piano manufactured in the Far East was viewed with sniffy suspicion by the West, even those built by the long-established firm of Yamaha. How quickly all that has changed, with Yamaha, Kawai (both Japanese) and Young Chang of South Korea now producing quality instruments to rival the best European and American makes. Presently the largest manufacturer in the world is the Pearl River Group (China) producing a staggering 100,000 pianos a year and providing parts and/or economical models for other major brands.
Similarly, two decades ago few Asian pianists had made it on to the international stage. Now, stimulated by ‘the Lang Lang effect’, pianists from China, Japan, Korea dominate piano competitions and are routinely signed by major labels. Apart from Lang Lang himself, some of the best known are Yundi (formerly Yundi Li), Yuja Wang, Hong Xu, HJ Lim, Joyce Yang, Xiayin Wang and the blind Nobuyuki Tsujii.