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Kawai in South Africa

Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos has been

handling the new generation of Kawai

pianos in South Africa for 19 years. In that

time, Kawai have become the instruments

with the highest sales in the country, ahead

of all other brands, including Yamaha.

We have placed over 800 Kawai acoustic and digital pianos across the country, including 150 grands and Shigeru Kawai handcrafted grands.

In making the decision of which manufacturer to choose as our primary brand Kawai and Yamaha were the primary contenders. Our selection of Kawai was based on a number of factors:

  1. Value for money: Quality Japanese manufacturing changed the industry by giving customers the opportunity to own an excellent instrument at a considerably lower price that the equivalent European brands. The difference between Kawai and Yamaha in this regard is that Kawai produce on a far smaller scale than Yamaha, making around 25 000 instruments annually compared to Yamaha at about 250 000. The difference shows itself in attention to detail and a high level of hand finishing.

  2. Organisational culture: As a family owned company Kawai have a very direct line of contact from senior management and production staff to their carefully selected dealers and from there to the customer. We get outstanding support directly from Japan. Yamaha, as a huge corporation, building everything from pianos to motorbikes is unable to provide this level of personal service.

  3. Tone and touch design: Kawai are known for a round, rich tone and high controllability of touch. This is derived from the classic European piano tradition. Yamaha fit on the brighter end of the tone spectrum, and this can translate into a somewhat brash, relentless sound.

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Kawai Brand Profile

It is for good reason Kawai pianos are considered among the best affordable quality instruments available. Kawai used to build a range of instruments, but they now solely focus on building pianos. This single mindedness of purpose translates into truly wonderful instruments. Although embracing modern production processes, there remains a large amount of handwork involved in the production of each Kawai piano. They have pioneered the use of composite materials in the production of their pianos, most notably the carbon fibre used in certain parts of the piano mechanisms.​

These are some of the customers who have chosen Kawai:

  • Jill Richards, Steinway Artist and Concert Pianist

  • Christopher Duigan, Steinway Artist and Concert Pianist

  • Professor Francois Du Toit, Concert Pianist

  • Dr Franklin Larey, Concert Pianist

  • Jason Reolon, Jazz Pianist, Composer

  • Catherine Foxcroft. Concert Pianist

  • South African College of Music at UCT, Cape Town

  • UCT School of Dance

  • Rhodes University, Grahamstown

  • University of Pretoria

  • St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown

  • Bishops College and Preparatory School, Cape Town

  • Herschel Girls Senior School, Cape Town

  • St Cyprian’s School, Cape Town

  • Westerford High School, Cape Town

  • Grey College, Bloemfontein

  • St. John’s College, Johannesburg

The fact that such discerning customers have made Kawai their brand of choice testifies to the quality of these instruments, and our confidence in recommending Kawai instruments as the best in all their price classes.

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