Korg announces Lifetime Achievement Award 2009: Herbie Hancock and Keith Emerson [NAMM09]


Last month, Korg announced its annual lifetime achievement award, giving the accolade to two quite different keyboard musicians.

Herbie Hancock: Jazz legend and innovator has been a musical innovator for his entire career. Not content to be pigeonholed as a traditionalist, Hancock has gained new exposure through his recent collaborations on albums such as 2005’s Possibilities, which featured vocalists John Mayer, Paul Simon, Sting, Christina Aguilera and more. And on his latest Grammy-album-of-the-year-winning release,River: The Joni Letters, he brings in guest artists like Norah Jones, Tina Tuner and, of course, Joni Mitchell.

Throughout his career Hancock has often found the right instrument for harnessing his innovative composition and performance style in Korg keyboards. But for him, it goes beyond hardware into the personality of the brand. “[The people at Korg] exhibit their care for not only their product, but also their care for the people that play their product. And their care for a bigger picture – what it can mean for music lovers. That they care about the future development of the music,� he commented.

Presenting the award, Korg Senior Product Manager Jerry Kovarsky commented, “The aspect of Herbie’s persona and career that most appeals to Korg is his constant innovation both personally and musically. He keeps searching out new inspiration, new ways of reaching out to the public, and adapts to new technology in his never-ending quest for artistic growth and personal communication. These are goals that everyone would do well to strive for.�

Herbie Hancock Keith Emerson lifetime achievement 2009 korg

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Keith Emerson: Prog-rock pioneer is an icon of prog-rock and a keyboard legend known for his musical sophistication and larger-than-life theatrics. He relies on Korg as his first choice. Emerson shot to fame in the late ‘60s as a member of The Nice, and subsequently went on to make his name in the progressive rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP). Today he’s gearing up to tour in support of his newest release, Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla. And of course, he’ll be bringing a stable of Korg keyboards along for the ride.

“My Korg instruments are reliable and Korg has a great team that helps me out. Quite honestly, all the Korg keyboards have gone through tornadoes, they’ve gone through playing out in the open air, they’ve gone through extreme humidity and probably are thrown in the back of the truck at the end of the gig. But the next day you just plug them in and they work great. Come to think of it, I can’t remember a time when a Korg didn’t work for me!� Emerson remarked.

In presenting the award to Keith, Kovarsky stated, “Keith is the artist who made playing keyboards a cool thing to do, and became a hero to throngs of budding players throughout the years. But while doing this he also exposed his fans to classical composers and compositions, and a harmonic and musical sophistication that was unheard of in rock and popular music. We didn’t realize that we were growing artistically while we were rocking out to his thrilling performances – that’s a winning combination!�

Korg