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Kawai SVP Chung Retires After 31 Years

Christian Wissmuller • PeopleUpfront • January 17, 2020

Long-time Kawai senior vice president Brian Chung announced his retirement at the Kawai Awards Reception held on Thursday, January 16 during the 2020 NAMM Show.  Chung spent 31 years in management roles for Kawai America Corporation and Kawai Canada Music and plans to remain active in the music making profession as a composer, arranger, consultant and speaker following his retirement.

Chung joined Kawai as “Contemporary Keyboards Manager” in May of 1988 with responsibility for digital pianos, organs and portable consumer keyboards.  His early focus on consumer keyboards led to a relationship with the QVC Shopping Network, where he spent over 40 hours of cumulative broadcast time as an “on-air guest” selling over a quarter million keyboards to viewing customers. After becoming senior VP, his focus shifted to the acoustic piano side of the business, where he helped to develop the highly-respected Kawai Keyboard Academy (that provided product training for dealers and salespersons) and oversaw the launch and development of several generations of grand and upright pianos including the luxury-class Shigeru Kawai Grand Pianos in 2000.

During his Kawai tenure, Chung was also an accomplished writer and speaker.  He co-authored two textbooks (Improvisation at the Piano with Dennis Thurmond and Recreation Music Making Handbook with Brenda Dillon) and created two collections of piano arrangements – all published by Alfred Music.  His inspirational talks on the power of music making and classical improvisation made him a frequent speaker and music making advocate at state, national and international music conferences.

“I am deeply grateful to the Kawai family, to my Kawai colleagues, and to Kawai dealers across North America for your support and friendship over the decades,” Chung said at the company reception.  “It has been a tremendous privilege to be part of the evolving Kawai story – and to be your partner not only in furthering the Kawai brand but also in advancing the noble cause of music making across this country and beyond.”

Following Chung’s departure, Kawai will be led by a newly-structured team of senior managers including Cory Callies (National Sales Manager), Frank West (Director of Operations) and Chad Schumacher (Director of Marketing).  Seijiro Imamura, who was appointed president of Kawai America and Kawai Canada in May of 2019 after serving many years as president of the Kawai-owned Lowrey Organ Company, commented, “We are very grateful for the many contributions Brian Chung has made to the Kawai organization over the past three decades and are confident in the ability of our new management team to build upon our solid foundation in the years ahead.”

For more information, contact Frank West at 310-761-6863 or fwest@kawaius.com.

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