Roland Corporation founder Ikutaro Kakehashi and Dave Smith, president of Sequential Circuits, recently received a Technical Grammy Award for their contributions to the development of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) technology.
The Recording Academy presented the award during the Special Merit Awards ceremony, one of many events hosted in celebration of the 55th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February. Ikutaro Kakehashi’s son Ikuo Kakehashi accepted the award on his father’s behalf.
Ikutaro Kakehashi states, “I am very happy that MIDI has been regarded as a global standard by many musicians all over the world, even 30 years after its development. Also, I am honored to receive this Technical Grammy Award. MIDI will be around for many years, and I am sure it will be developed further to continually incorporate the latest technologies for generations to come.
“One of the best examples of MIDI’s continuous advancement is MIDI Visual Control, which was defined in 2011. This new standard opened the door to all musicians to control visuals with electronic musical instruments. I think musicians will really enjoy this totally new way of expression more and more in the future. MIDI has built, and continues to build, a strong ‘bridge’ [‘Kakehashi’ means ‘Bridge’ in Japanese] that connects musical instruments, computers, content, visuals and lighting with each other. I believe in the future of MIDI, and I am looking forward to seeing it.”
Technical Grammy Award recipients are determined by vote of The Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees, as well as The Academy’s Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field.
Kakehashi and Smith unveiled MIDI in 1983. This year (2013) marks the 30th anniversary of the launch, a standard that motivated the cooperation of an entire industry and helped move music technology into a new era. In a nearly unprecedented collaboration between competing manufacturers, two competing electronic keyboards were connected and enabled to “talk” to one another using a new communication standard. The collaboration ultimately revolutionized the music world.
Today, MIDI is ubiquitous in the musical equipment industry, and it is the de facto standard feature on virtually every electronic music product made by every manufacturer.