Head of piano maker, Enkei leader, to attend Philharmonic’s season opener

Hirotaka Kawai, president and chief executive officer of Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co., makers of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s new, world-class Shigeru Kawai Concert Grand Piano, will attend the local professional orchestra’s season-opening concert Sept. 17.

He will attend at Judson Erne Auditorium with longtime friend Junichi Suzuki, chief executive officer of Enkei Group, which donated the instrument to the orchestra in February.

The performance will feature pianist Sean Chen performing Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 3.”

In late September, Japan’s Suzuki visited the Columbus Enkei plant. He later heard a small Philharmonic jazz and classical ensemble play at an Enkei outdoor gathering on the city’s north side.

Suzuki, a jazz fan, loved the group. So Philharmonic board president Peter King casually mentioned that the Philharmonic was aiming to garner support for a piano of its own.

Upon returning to Japan, Suzuki later met with Kawai and they talked in part about the Philharmonic and its campaign for a piano.

The two met again a few weeks later and worked out a deal in full for the instrument.

Philharmonic music director David Bowden pointed out at the orchestra’s annual meeting Monday that he reworked the schedule for the upcoming season after the piano gift so the ensemble could make full use of the keyboard.

“They are coming to celebrate with us,” Bowden said. “And we will acknowledge them appropriately.”