Growing out of inventor/futurist Ray Kurzweil's development of reading machines for the blind and, according to Kurzweil, a conversation he had with Stevie Wonder about whether or not a synthesizer could replicate the complex sounds of a grand piano, Kurzweil Music Systems has been devoted to producing professional and home musical instruments since 1984.
The original Kurzweil keyboard, the K250, was the first digital instrument able to, in direct A/B testing with professional pianists, duplicate the sound of an acoustic grand piano. Over the years, the technology has continued to improve, with the V.A.S.T. technology developed for the K2000 sampling keyboard considered by many to be the ne plus ultra of sound development systems when it was released in 1990.
KMS was purchased in 1990 by Young Chang Ltd., the Korean maker of fine acoustic pianos, but Ray Kurzweil has remained associated with the company over the years, functioning as Chief Strategy Officer since 2007. In that position, Kurzweil has said, "I have always felt that the type of technology that Kurzweil Music represents is highly democratizing. Years ago, only the top studios and academic laboratories could afford technology that allowed flexible shaping of new sounds. Now these tools can be afforded by everyone from music students to weekend musicians. As technological advances continue to ramp up at an exponential pace, KMS will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible, further blurring the line between music and machine."