GW Distribution, LLC
135 Fisher Road
Mahwah, New Jersey 07430
Pianos made by: Guangzhou Pearl River Piano Group Ltd., Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
Established in 1954 through the consolidation of several piano-making facilities, Pearl River is now the largest piano manufacturer in the world, with a production of over 125,000 pianos annually by more than 4,000 workers. The government-owned company says the average length of service of its workers is 17 years. Pianos are made under the Pearl River and Ritmüller names, and under a few other names for OEM contracts with distributors, such as Cristofori (with Jordan Kitt’s), Henry F. Miller (with Sherman Clay) and Essex (with Steinway). (See separate listings under those names.) Pearl River is the best-selling piano brand in China, and is exported to more than 100 countries.
Over the past couple of years, Pearl River has revised and streamlined its model lineup with the assistance of Lothar Thomma, a well-respected German scale designer. Some new models have been introduced, and older models have been reviewed and modified. Currently, Pearl River verticals begin with the 42½" console model 108 in continental style (no legs) and a style with legs and toe blocks, and with the 43" model 110 in a variety of American furniture styles. They continue with a series of studio models, including the 45" model 115 in a traditional institutional style (legs with toe blocks), and the 45" model 115E in a school-friendly institutional style. Finally, there are the upright models, including the newly designed 48" model EU122 and the 51½" model 130, both in institutional style.
Pearl River grands come in six sizes, from 4' 11" to 9', including three new models: GP160 (5' 3"), GP170 (5' 7"), and GP188A (6' 2").
Prior to 2008, Pearl River's Ritmüller line used the same strung back (structural and acoustical components) as the Pearl River line, but with different cabinets. Lothar Thomma, mentioned above, was hired in 2006 to design, from the ground up, a line of higher-end pianos that would be distinct from the Pearl River line. These instruments were introduced in North America in 2009 under the Ritmüller name. In most other parts of the world, the pianos are branded Kayserburg. All the new UH and GH models feature solid spruce soundboards, Renner hammers, hornbeam wood actions, and real ebony sharps, among other higher-quality features. Piano Buyer's reviewers have tried out several of the new grand models and have been very impressed (see reviews in the Fall 2009, Fall 2010, and Fall 2011 issues).
A new lower-cost line of Ritmüller pianos, introduced in 2011, consists of vertical models 43½" UP-110RB in several furniture styles, 47" UP-120RE (educator studio), and 47½" UP-121RB, and new grand models R-8 (4' 11") and R-9 (5' 3"). These models, also designed by Lothar Thomma, feature an all-spruce veneered and tapered soundboard, and Röslau strings; the grands use Abel hammers.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
Piano Empire, Inc.
3035 E. La Mesa Street
Anaheim, California 92806
Pianos made by: Yantai-Perzina Piano Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Yantai, Shandong Province, China
The Gebr. Perzina (Perzina Brothers) piano company was established in the German town of Schwerin in 1871, and was a prominent piano maker until World War I, after which its fortunes declined. In more recent times, the factory was moved to the nearby city of Lenzen and the company became known as Pianofabrik Lenzen GmbH. In the early 1990s the company was purchased by Music Brokers International B.V. in the Netherlands. Eventually it was decided that making pianos in Germany was not economically viable, so manufacturing was moved to Yantai, China, where both verticals and grands were made for a number of years by the Yantai Longfeng Piano Co. under the Perzina name. In 2003 Music Brokers International established its own factory in Yantai, called Yantai-Perzina, where it now builds Perzina pianos. The Carl Ebel and Gerh. Steinberg brands made at this factory are no longer distributed in the U.S.