Slow boat to China
Looking back in the history books it appears this will be the first time a new, British-made Grand piano has been exported to China for nearly half a century.
Cavendish pianos was founded five years ago after the closure of Kemble Pianos, the U.K.’s last remaining manufacturer. Owner Adam Cox says, “We felt it was a case of ‘do or die’ for British piano manufacturing so we stepped into the breach and Cavendish Pianos was born.”
Two years ago Cavendish exhibited at the Shanghai Musical Instrument Show and found a Chinese distributor for their pianos based in Beijing. Since then they have successfully exported many upright pianos to China. Then Cavendish were asked if they could produce a grand piano for the Chinese market. “This has been a long project lasting over a year but finally our first British-made export grand piano is ready, boxed up and will be sent out on Tuesday the 23rd of February 2016.” says Cox. The piano has been very carefully packaged and will now take a “slow boat to China” which takes about two months. Cox says hopefully, “We will keep our fingers crossed and if our clients are happy with their first Yorkshire-made grand piano, we will expect to get future orders.“
“We are proud to be British exporters but even more proud to be Yorkshire exporters! It’s very special to be producing such lovely things in the beautiful surroundings of the Yorkshire dales. We have been helped by our superb local Chamber of Commerce and there is lots of information currently available for exporters with the #ExportingisGREAT national initiative.”
So why do the Chinese want British pianos? They are by far the world’s largest producer of pianos in history. Is it not like “taking coals to Newcastle”?
Cox explains, “British pianos have always had a distinctive tone, being more “mellow” or sweet sounding than other pianos. Far Eastern pianos, such as Yamaha for example, are certainly “brighter” – perhaps more Rock and Roll”. Indeed Elton John plays a Yamaha, “On the other hand, Jamie Cullum loves Cavendish. Perhaps he’s into a more gentle sound. A smooth sound for a smooth pianist…”
But most Cavendish customers are not famous musicians, or in China, they are mainly families in this country with children learning or simply those who love the outlet of playing a “smooth” piano for fun at home and are proud to have one that is British-made .
We wish Cavendish luck in their ambitious venture and hope that the sound of Yorkshire is as popular in China as it is in this country.