Music filled Manhattan’s West Village when 175 musicians performed on 175 Yamaha portable keyboards to achieve the Guinness World Records title for “Largest Electronic Keyboard Ensemble” as part of the annual Make Music New York celebration. Now in its seventh year, Make Music New York is a unique, citywide festival of more than 1,000 free concerts held in public spaces throughout the five boroughs, and all on June 21, the first day of summer.
The record-breaking event—the previous mark was 160 keyboard players in Sri Lanka last December—featured a performance of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” by musicians recruited throughout the city, and led by composer Jed Distler on a Yamaha grand piano provided by Faust Harrison Pianos of Manhattan. It was then followed by the world premiere of Distler’s composition “Broken Record.”
“When Aaron Friedman of Make Music New York first reached out to Yamaha about making a ‘Largest Keyboard Ensemble’ Guinness World Records attempt, we were certainly up for the challenge,”
Mark Anderson, Director of Marketing, Keyboard Division, Yamaha Corp. of America.
At the conclusion of the event, Viacom, through Viacommunity, the company’s umbrella for social responsibility, VH1 Save the Music Foundation and Yamaha Corp. of America donated the keyboards to the New York City Department of Education, which will place them in deserving schools throughout the city. The keyboard donations were facilitated by Materials for the Arts, a reuse program of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
“When Aaron Friedman of Make Music New York first reached out to Yamaha about making a ‘Largest Keyboard Ensemble’ Guinness World Records attempt, we were certainly up for the challenge,” said Mark Anderson, Director of Marketing, Keyboard Division, Yamaha Corp. of America. “We then had the great fortune of working in partnership with Viacom and the VH1 Save the Music Foundation to donate the 175 Yamaha keyboards to the New York City Department of Education. Enriching children’s lives through music is one of the most important things we can do to advance our culture in this country. And this is what gives these keyboards their meaning today.”
Added MMNY’s Friedman: “The city of New York is teeming with musicians, young and old, amateur and professional. What better place to break a Guinness World Record? This event is a perfect example of what Make Music New York is all about: the joy of playing and listening together. We hope New Yorkers of all musical backgrounds and interests will join us next year on June 21, the first day of summer.”