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Four Generations of Piano Legacy The Hoe Family

"First Generation"

In the 19th century, Hoe Fook Ling the only son of a Sundry Manager, was send to Japan to learn the art of piano making by his father at the age of 12. After mastering the skill of piano making he went back to China. In 1920, Hoe Fook Ling decided to leave his hometown Ningbo in Shanghai for Singapore. His wife, six daughters and only son remained in China. In Singapore he set up a piano business company "Union Piano Shop" with a relative from the same province and at the same time opened a branch in Malaysia (then known as Federation of Malaya). He became the first person to build a piano in Singapore under the brand name "Kinner". With admiration and respect, people in the piano industry nicknamed him "King of Piano". At the age of 48, he sold off his business and went back to China as his father was very ill. His father died and being the only son he decided to stay back to look after his family thus his early retirement from piano business.

"Second Generation"

While Hoe Fook Ling is still in Singapore, his only son, Hoe Ah Choy, at a very young age follows his father's footstep and took up apprenticeship in "Moutrie, Robinson & Company", the first British piano factory operating in Shanghai, China. Moutrie pianos enjoyed great recognition in China and a lot of the pianos were sold to Southeast Asian countries. In 1936 at the age of 25, the young factory trained piano technician was sent to Malaysia by the manager as a piano tuner and repairer for Moutrie, Robinson & Company.

Moutrie, Robinson & Company closed down in the early 1950's. In 1951, Hoe Ah Choy started a small enterprise named "Wagner Piano Company" along with his wife, Kong Kim Goh in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (then known as Batu Road). He imported new pianos from United Kingdom under the brand name Kemble, John Brinsmead, Bentley, J & J Hopkinson, Rogers, Leswein and Zender. He also started doing restoration and rebuilding work on imported used pianos with the help of his second son, Hoe Tuck Foo. His new company was doing well and soon he decided to assembly the pianos himself by importing semi-completed units from U.K., Germany and Japan with the help of his children. During this time "Wagner" brand was introduced to the market.

In 1960, the company moved to a larger premises at No. 26, Jalan Dang Wangi, (then known as Campbell Road) and at No. 88, Jalan Imbi, (then known as Imbi Road) Kuala Lumpur. There, the family business ventures into piano cabinet production locally in order to stay competitive.

"Third Generation"

In 1969, the eldest son, Hoe Tuck Wah embarked on piano making courses and visited many traditional piano making factories in United Kingdom, Europe, United States of America, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Back home they start stripping down well established German and English pianos to find the secrets of their craftsmanship and also to evaluate the viability of piano manufacturing.

In 1972, Hoe Tuck Wah started a piano factory "Musical Product Sdn. Bhd." in Lahat (just outside Ipoh, Perak) manufacturing pianos under licensed brand such as Challen, Witton & Witton, Barratt & Robinson from England and the famous C.Steinbert German scale designed piano by D.H. Dotzek, with the help of his brothers, Hoe Tuck Foo (Production Director), Patrick Hoe Tuck Pui (Management) and Hoe Tuck Liong (Wood Working Department). Musical Products Sdn. Bhd. became the first and only piano making facility in Malaysia.

On 16th April 1975, Wagner Piano Company was turned into a private limited company and renamed to Wagner Piano Sdn. Bhd. In 1980's, Wagner Piano Sdn. Bhd. took over Petrof Piano House in Singapore and renamed it to Wagner Petrof Piano Pte. Ltd. as agent for Petrof pianos for South-East Asia and Australasia.

Standing from L-R : Patrick, Tuck Foo, Mary, Tuck Wah, Sai Kuen
Sitting from L-R : Tuck Liong, Philip, Mr Hoe Ah Choy, Ivan,
Mrs Hoe (Kong Kim Goh) and Simon
  1. Ho Oi Kok

  2. Hoe Tuck Wah

  3. Hoe Tuck Foo

  4. Mary Ho May Li

  5. Ho Sai Kuen

  6. Patrick Hoe Tuck Pui

  7. Hoe Tuck Liong

  8. Philip Hoe Tuck Hao

  9. Simon Ho Tuck Wan

  10. Ivan Hoe Tuck Fong

Soon after the brothers and sisters started their own piano business under the following companies in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore :

  • Vienna Music Sdn. Bhd.

    • Hoe Tuck Wah and his only daughter Elizabeth

  • Musical Product Sdn. Bhd.

    • Hoe Tuck Wah and his brothers, sisters

  • Syarikat Alat-Alat Muzik Weng Lee

    • Hoe Tuck Foo and his children, David, Steven and Nancy

  • Wagner Piano Sdn. Bhd.

    • Patrick Hoe, Philip Hoe and his eldest son, James

  • Wagner Petrof Piano Pte. Ltd.

    • Mary Ho and her husband, Fred Boey

  • Wagner Music Shop

    • Simon Ho and his children, Peter and Susan

  • Wagner Piano Company

    • Ivan Hoe

These companies have grown into one of the most established and reputable piano exporters, importers, factories representatives and distributors in Malaysia and Singapore. These companies still continue to maintain strong relationships with leading manufacturers on the latest developments and innovations through factory visits, international music fairs, conferences and seminars to provide the necessary up-to-date after sales service to customers, partners and distributors.

"Fourth Generation"

On 20th March 1987, Syarikat Alat-Alat Muzik Weng Lee owned by Hoe Tuck Foo and helped by his children is officially registered for business and thus the continuation of the Hoe's family fourth generation of piano legacy in Malaysia.

Hoe Tuck Foo's taught his second son, Steven Hoe Yut Seng, the art of piano restoration, repairing, servicing and tuning while he was still a young teenager, Later Steven joined Musical Product Sdn. Bhd as a piano technician. His eldest son David Hoe Yut Jiang and only daughter Nancy Hoe Wai Fang, join the company after completing their studies.

Steven Hoe received his advanced technical training from the world renowned "Steinway & Sons" piano factory in Hamburg, Germany which specialized on the fitting and regulation of piano actions, positioning of the damper mechanism as well as voicing of hammers on Steinway & Sons grand pianos.