St. Paul's Episcopal Church First House of Worship in The United States to Purchase The Yamaha CFX

5/27/2011 [Pianos & Keyboards]

‘Perfect’ Flagship Concert Grand Piano Graces Services at Church in Oregon’s State Capital


The acclaimed Yamaha CFX grand piano graces the nave of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Salem, Oregon.

Photo Credit: Dave Hopfer

SALEM, Oregon — St. Paul's Episcopal Church has become the first church and the third institution in the United States to purchase the acclaimed Yamaha CFX Concert Grand Piano. The church recently took delivery of the 9-foot state-of-the-art instrument, which was blessed and presented to the congregation.

"It was a fantastic occasion, noted Dr. Paul Klemme, Director of Music Ministries, adding, "We had an overflow crowd at both services. Pianists from the parish, along with Portland State University Professor Susan Chan, played throughout the services. The instrument was extremely well-received."

The purchase culminated Klemme's quest to replace a smaller, aging grand piano in the church's nave. In February, parishioners Lester and Marylou Green offered to buy a fine piano in recognition of the church's rich musical heritage – which includes concerts by visiting artists from all over the world, including Chanticleer, Canadian Brass, Worcester Cathedral Men and Boys Choir and the St. Thomas Episcopal Church Men and Boys Choir.

"I had been shopping for a concert grand piano for St. Paul's Episcopal Church for over three years, recalled Klemme. "I had conducted significant research and in February 2011, the Green's generous gift enabled us to move forward with the purchase," he said.

"After settling on the nine foot CFIIIS and one other brand in my decision making process - I was told by Peggie Zachary at Classic Pianos that there is a new line of Yamaha grands and that she hoped I might be able to consider the CFX."

Within 48 hours, Klemme boarded a plane to Orange County, California to audition the CFX at Yamaha's U.S. headquarters in Buena Park. Yamaha Keyboard Division Marketing Director Mark Anderson and National Sales Director Bob Heller helped him compare and contrast the CFX with a CFIIIS.

"We brought in a Concert Reserve CFIIIS to compare the CFX so that Paul could hear the difference," said Anderson. "As beautiful as the CFIIIS sounds, CFX has a warmth of tone and projection that is in a class all itself. Paul chose the CFX."

Klemme concurs. "While both pianos were stunning, I was taken by the richness and full sound of the CFX. The all-encompassing sound fits the room at St. Paul's perfectly." Citing its "mellowness and richness" combined with a "superb touch," Klemme maintains that the CFX "is the most perfect piano possible in a 9-foot grand."

Reflecting on the purchase process, Klemme noted "I could not have had a better experience than I had with the staff at Classic Pianos – they were superb in every way. I am also grateful to the Yamaha staff in helping me make this momentous purchase."

In February of 2011, the College of Charleston became the first institution of higher learning in the United States to acquire Yamaha's CFX. Following the recent construction of a five-story addition to the College's School of the Arts, an anonymous donor generously decided to buy the piano for the recital hall. In April of 2011 pianist and piano instructor Dr. Jon Orlando procured the CFX, which was officially designated as the Juanita Orlando Memorial Concert Grand Piano, in memory of his mother.

Introduced in January 2010 in the United States, the nine-foot CFX concert grand is Yamaha's flagship concert grand model. Incorporating the sum total of Yamaha's piano manufacturing expertise and technology, the new model replaces the acclaimed CFIIIS concert grand piano. In addition to drawing on its 108-year heritage of manufacturing the world's finest pianos, the instrument represents 19 years of research and development conducted by Yamaha craftsmen, designers and engineers, to create this extraordinary handcrafted piano. The process culminated with a series of top-secret, in-depth evaluation sessions conducted in New York, Paris and Tokyo with top artists and Yamaha artist services over the last few years.

The CFX has already made its mark on concert stages around the world. Several distinguished pianists have won prestigious competitions playing the CFX, including the Choongang Competition (Korea), the Paderewski Competition (Poland), the Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition (Warsaw), the National Chopin Piano Competition (Miami) and the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition (Japan).

Looking to the significance of the piano in the future, Klemme believes that the Yamaha will allow the church to attract major recitalists. "We did not have an adequate concert piano to bring major artists to play recitals," Klemme said, "Now we do. We are also so excited to be able to offer significant piano literature through the concert series into the next generation." Renowned pianist Angela Hewitt will play a dedication concert on the CFX at St. Paul's in May of 2012.

According to Klemme, "we are looking forward to this 'jewel' of an instrument to serve the worship needs of the congregation for many years to come."

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