The old-world charm of Musee Musicals’ long-time home on Anna Salai is suddenly counterbalanced by the swanky new piano salon for Yamaha Music, just opposite the old building. Recently launched by music director Harris Jayaraj, the minimalist white setting has grand, upright and digital Yamaha pianos that create an ambience for a performance.
“The idea is not just to sell pianos but to educate people about them,” says Kishore Das, CEO, Musee Musical, “Yamaha is one of the largest manufacturers of pianos in the world and when they approached us for a showroom, it was because we’ve been dealing with pianos since Musee Musical began in 1842.”
And it took about four years for this 1,200 squarefoot design studio to open. “This is the second salon of its kind in India. The first Yamaha piano saloon is in Bombay,” he explains, “the main idea is to create an experience where the customers enjoy the instruments. So, the acoustics are such that there is no echo and when you try playing the piano, you can hear every note.”
Often called the queen of musical instruments, Kishore feels the piano needs an uplifting ambience to match its sound. “We have abundant natural light and glass panes that look out at greenery,” he says, “Chennai is a lover of good music and we want to offer the best.”
The pianos in the salon range between Rs.35,000 and Rs. 1.2 crores. “The biggest we have here right now is Rs.22.8 lakhs and the rest will be made on order. There are coloured pianos too since these instruments have also become a lifestyle statement. We have digital pianos that have just been launched in the international market at the same price, so that people don’t have to think about going abroad to buy them,” he adds.
Apart from pianos, there are wind and string instruments that adorn its walls, apart from music books, sheet music and other accessories. “We give our customers a 10-year warranty for acoustic pianos and 5 years for digital. We service old pianos as well. Eventually, this salon hopes to become a full-fledged piano shop, where one can play, buy, learn and perform,” says Kishore.
Musee Musicals has been teaching and conducting exams in western classical music in association with Trinity College, London for the last 102 years. “The music school is downstairs and we have about 800 students studying piano, guitar, violin and other instruments,” he says. “The Trinity Information National Office is also inside our campus. We want to tell our customers that music can go beyond being a hobby and can be a rewarding career too.”
The salon hopes to attract musicians, music students and piano lovers from across the country. “It’s an instrument that people should be able to buy and enjoy. That’s not the case too often since it’s expensive and becomes a thing of luxury. But I hope one day when pianos will be accessible to everyone,” he smiles.