Kurzweil Music Systems is an American company that produces electronic musical instruments. It was founded in 1982 by Stevie Wonder, Ray Kurzweil and Bruce Cichowlas.
Kurzweil was a developer of reading machines for the blind, and their company used many of the technologies originally designed for reading machines, and adapted them to musical purposes. They released their first instrument, the K250 in 1983, and have continued producing new instruments ever since.
The company launched the K250 synthesizer/sampler in 1984: while limited by today’s standards and quite expensive, it was considered to be the first really successful attempt to emulate the complex sound of a grand piano.
As opposed to using ‘sample-based’ or ‘subtractive’ synthesis, the K150 (a rack-mount unit) uses additive synthesis
The K1000 and K1200 (and their rack-mounted variants) were designed to deliver the sample libraries developed originally for the K250 to a wider audience in less expensive and physically more manageable forms.
The company’s flagship line of synthesizer workstations, the K2xxx series, began to make real headway with the K2000, which introduced the company’s acclaimed Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology (V.A.S.T.) engine.
In the mid 90s, Kurzweil introduced the PC88 keyboard, which was advertised more as a MIDI controller. It was good for this purpose because it had 88 fully weighted keys and the ability to set four zones for controlling different instruments. It was also a bit smaller so it was more portable than the K series instruments.
The initial Kurzweil SP Series are Stage Pianos based on the popular Kurzweil Micro Piano half-rack module of the mid-1990s
The Kurzweil Midiboard, a dedicated MIDI controller, was conceived of and specified by Jeff Tripp, then president of Key Concepts
In 2013 Kurzweil released a brand new stage piano called the “Artis”. Marketed as “the ultimate all-in-one gigmachine”, the Artis is an 88 key weighted action keyboard, in a newly designed, relatively light package of 21 kg. Featuring sounds from the PC3K series and the “Kore64” expansion library, and a user interface focused on easy selection, layering and splitting of sounds, the Artis is aimed at live performance.
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