QRS Music Technologies, Inc.
269 Quaker Drive
Seneca, Pennsylvania 16346
Pianos made by: Sejung Corporation, Qingdao, Shandong Province, China
Founded in 1904, Gulbransen was a well-regarded maker of pianos and organs in the early 20th century, and at one time was the world's largest maker of player pianos. An indication of the company's stature and success in its early history is the fact, that during World War II, Gulbransen was one of only two piano manufacturers allowed to continue production; along with Steinway & Sons, they made pianos for government use. In more modern times, Gulbransen became known for its electronic organs and MIDI products. In 2004, QRS Music Technologies, maker of the Pianomation player-piano systems and distributor of Story & Clark pianos, purchased Gulbransen's MIDI products and company name.
Currently, Gulbransen serves as an entry-level line for Story & Clark dealers (see Story & Clark), offering two grand and two vertical sizes, made by Sejung in China (see Sejung). Gulbransen pianos can be ordered with factory-installed Pianomation systems.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
Pianos made by: Ningbo Hailun Musical Instruments Co. Ltd., Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China
Ningbo Hailun began making piano parts and components in 1986 under the Ningbo Piano Parts Factory name, and began assembling entire pianos in 1995. Its assembly facility converted to a full-scale piano-manufacturing facility in 2000. The company offers a full line of grands and uprights in its designer Art Case Collection, as well as traditional styles and finishes. In addition to making pianos under the Hailun name, it also makes the Wendl & Lung brand for distribution throughout Europe and a few piano stores in the U.S (see Wendl & Lung). The company also makes pianos or components under contract for several other manufacturers and distributors.
In 2009 Hailun entered the market for luxury-case instruments by commissioning a one-of-a-kind concert grand. Named "Dreams of the East," the instrument's rim was created from a single piece of Chinese rosewood, and hand-carved with beautiful Chinese landscapes by a Chinese master wood-carver. The company says that in 2010 it will introduce two new uprights for professional pianists and institutions in the U.S. market: a 52 1/2" model PE 33 upright with a "lush and powerful sound in the American tradition," and a 51" model HU K5 upright "which will reflect a brighter, more 'European,' sound philosophy." Both will have a middle pedal that operates a true sostenuto mechanism.
The Hailun factory has over 400,000 square feet of production capacity and 800 employees. A 200,000-square-foot expansion project is underway to accommodate distribution in the U.S. market. Additionally, a new cabinet factory is now complete and began production in 2008. Since 2001, the company has invested heavily in computer-controlled manufacturing equipment and has hired an impressive group of experts from Japan (Ema Shigeru), Europe (Peter Veletzky, Stephen Paulello, Claire Trichet, Sibin Zlatkovic), and the U.S. (Frank Emerson) to help it reach the highest quality standards. In 2009, to oversee and assist with quality control, Hailun hired Rolf Ibach, owner of Rud. Ibach Sohn, one of the oldest and most reputable European piano companies, which closed its doors in 2008 after more than 200 years in business. While modern manufacturing methods are fully utilized, the factory also uses a large amount of skilled manual labor, and provides an in-depth training program for its workers, conducted by piano builders and technicians from the U.S. and Europe.
SPRING 2010 -- page 183
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hybrid & Player Pianos
New-Piano Buyers’ Reference