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Chappell of Bond Street commenced trading in 1811, specializing in the sales of sheet music, pianos and harps. Early customers included the likes of Charles Dickens, Beethoven and Richard Strauss.
The early premises extended into large showrooms on several floors and Chappell became a familiar landmark on Bond Street.
In 1964 a major fire occurred, virtually destroying the building which was subsequently rebuilt.
By the late seventies, Chappell had expanded into a major music publishing corporation with world-wide interests. They are most famous for publishing the works of Rogers and Hammerstein and the great musicals.
In 1980 the wished to divest themselves of their retail activities and concentrate solely upon music publishing. Chappell International now occupy premises at 129 Park Street, London W1.
Kemble & Company took over Chappell of Bond Street in 1980 and the store was completely refurbished in 1986 to mark the 175th year of trading.
Kemble & Company, a family business, commenced building pianos in the early 1900’s and developed into Britain’s largest piano manufacturers, moving to a modern factory in Bletchley, Milton Keynes.
In 1966 Kemble & Company became distributors for Yamaha electronic organs. As Yamaha became dominant in other product areas a joint venture company, Yamaha-Kemble, was set up to further develop sales in the U.K. market of Yamaha pianos, electronic keyboards, guitars and hi-tech equipment.
Yamaha, Japan, founded in 1887, are without doubt the largest manufacturers of piano and musical products in the world today.
Whilst the larger upright and all grand pianos are imported complete from Japan, Kemble piano group manufacture the smaller Yamaha upright models at Milton Keynes. They also manufacture pianos under the Kemble and Chappell brand names.
A major expansion scheme is currently underway at the factory whereby the Company will produce Yamaha upright models for distribution throughout Europe. This has resulted in a restructuring of the company, Yamaha-Kemble Music (UK) Ltd, wherein Yamaha are the dominant shareholders.
Chappell of Bond Street is most famous for it’s (sic) Sheet Music Department which stocks over 55,000 titles from 80 different publishers worldwide. In addition to retail sales, a mail and telephone order department sends music to all parts of the world.
An additional branch of Chappell of Bond Street was opened at 21 Silbury Arcade, Central Milton Keynes, in Britains (sic) largest shopping centre, selling the full line of pianos, sheet music, electronic keyboards and M.I…
Taken from MDS Partner-Portrait, 2005:
Chappell of Bond Street, London
In Europe’s largest cities there are some historic music shops with a history entwined with music publishing, that still today define the printed music industry. These include Broekmans (Amsterdam), Doblinger (Vienna), Hug (Zurich), Ricordi (Milan) and Tonger (Cologne). Chappell Music in London’s fashionable Bond Street is up there with the best of them. With its roots in a famous publishing house and a customer base built around the cream of the world’s performing musicians, Chappell of Bond Street is living evidence of a thriving printed music industry.
Chappell Music was founded in 1811 by Samuel Chappell. His two partners, Francis Tatton Latour and John Baptist Cramer, were professors of music, and Cramer was the most fashionable composer, teacher and pianist in the London of his day. Chappell’s public relations must have been excellent because Ludvig van Beethoven, Charles Dickens, Robert Browning and Charles Gounod all referred to this young music company in correspondence.
Samuel Chappell died in 1834 and his son Thomas Patey Chappell (born 1819), became the most illustrious Chappell. He centred his publishing company around the musical theatre, a specialism that is still central to the success of Chappell in modern times. … Tom Chappell died in 1902 at the age of 83. William Boosey, the adopted son of John Boosey of the eponymous rival publishing company, then took over as Managing Director and he was succeeded by Louis Dreyfus in 1929. …
The publishing company was purchased by Warner in 1987 so today Chappell is a specialist music retailer based in chic Wardour Street. The shop was acquired in 1980 by Yamaha Kemble, and printed music still dominates the business.