Photo Fest: Yamaha Marks First Synth's 40th Anniversary

Yamaha marked the 40th anniversary of the introduction of its first synthesizer, the analog SY-1, with a special event at its offices in Burbank, CA on Friday, August 1. The event, which featured performances by top musicians, brought together an eclectic crowd and a variety of drool-inducing vintage gear.
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Burbank, CA (August 5, 2014)—Yamaha marked the 40th anniversary of the introduction of its first synthesizer, the analog SY-1, with a special event at its offices in Burbank, CA on Friday, August 1.


Nate Tschetter, music production marketing manager, Pro Audio & Combo Division, Yamaha Corporation of America, introduced the evening’s entertainment, provided by keyboardist David Garfield and his band, plus various guests.

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Garfield’s all-star band included Jimmy Branly on drums, bass player Neil Stubenhaus and guitarist Michael O’Neill.

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Composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Patrice Rushen sat in with David Garfield’s band on the Yamaha Motif XF8.

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On display at the 40th anniversary event was Yamaha’s first compact, portable analog synthesizer, the 37-note SY-1. The single-VCO synth has 28 presets, ranging from brass, woodwind, piano and stringed instruments to synthesized sounds labeled Funny, Drake and Growl.

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Also on show was the VP1, a very rare polyphonic virtual acoustic synthesizer that was introduced in 1994 but which never came to market. Approximately two-dozen were made and, reportedly, only three were ever sold. This VP1, on loan to Yamaha for the event, belongs to Reinhold Heil, the German-born, L.A.-based film and TV composer (Cloud Atlas, Perfume, Run Lola Run).

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