Pianos made by: Baldwin Dongbei (Yingkou) Piano and Musical Instrument Company, Ltd., Yingkou, Liaoning Province, China
The Dongbei Piano Company in China is owned by Baldwin Piano Company, a subsidiary of Gibson Guitar Corporation, and makes pianos that are sold in North America by various distributors and under a variety of names, including Baldwin, Everett, and Hallet, Davis & Co. (see listings under those names). Pianos made under the names Nordiska and Weinbach are no longer distributed in the U.S.
Dongbei is Chinese for "northeast." In 1952 Dongbei was formed by splitting off from a government-owned piano factory in Shanghai and establishing a new government-owned factory in the northeastern part of the country. Dongbei began a process of modernization in 1988 when it purchased the designs and manufacturing equipment for a vertical piano model from the Swedish company Nordiska when that company went out of business. The Swedish-designed model 116 vertical was strikingly more advanced than Dongbei's own Prince and Princess piano lines. (At that time, Dongbei made only vertical pianos.)
In 1991 Dongbei entered into an agreement with Korean piano maker Daewoo whereby Daewoo would assist Dongbei in improving its production of vertical pianos. In 1996 that relationship was extended to the design and production of grand pianos. In 1997, when Daewoo decided to leave the piano business, Dongbei purchased nearly all of Daewoo's grand-piano manufacturing equipment and began making grands. Export to the U.S. began in 1994 under the brand name Sagenhaft, at first only of vertical pianos. When the export of grand pianos began in 1998, other brand names such as Nordiska, Everett, and Story & Clark, began to become available, and over the next 10 years production for both domestic use and for export grew enormously.
In early 2007 Gibson Musical Instruments, parent of Baldwin Piano Company, acquired Dongbei Piano and renamed it Baldwin Dongbei (Yingkou) Piano and Musical Instrument Co., Ltd., thus creating a major piano-manufacturing power in China with two plants. (The other plant, Baldwin (Zhongshan) Piano and Musical Instrument Co., Ltd., is in southern China.) Baldwin has greatly expanded its presence in China over the last five years, and the company says it will use the manufacturing capacity of Dongbei to service the Chinese domestic market as well as the world market (see also under Baldwin). In the two years since Baldwin acquired Dongbei, both the workforce and the production output have been considerably reduced to make the former government-owned operation more efficient and profitable.
When Daewoo left the piano business in 1997, some of the technicians and designers sent by Daewoo to advise Dongbei stayed on with Dongbei for many years, during which they designed numerous new piano models. Some of these technicians had trained in both Korea and Germany. In the opinion of many technicians who have examined a variety of pianos from China, the Dongbei grand-piano designs are among the best and most successful musically.
Pianos made by: Young Chang Co., Ltd., Inchon, South Korea, and Tianjin, China; and Guangzhou Pearl River Piano Group Ltd., Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
Essex pianos are designed by Steinway & Sons engineers and are made in factories in China and Korea by both Young Chang and Pearl River. Steinway first introduced its Essex line of pianos in early 2001 with a limited offering of models made by Young Chang, and the brand kept an unusually low profile in the piano market for a number of years. In 2006, a major relaunch of Essex took place that included a new and very complete line comprising 35 grand and 31 vertical models and finishes.
FALL 2009 -- page 153
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hybrid & Player Pianos
New-Piano Buyers’ Reference