Katsuhiko (Karl) Hirano (1942-2019)

Yamaha's Hirano Passes Away

Katsuhiko (Karl) Hirano, a former electronic engineer for Yamaha, died Sept. 28 after a battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 77 years old.

According to NAMM's Oral History program, Hirano was an electronic engineer for Yamaha in Japan during the MIDI boom of the early 1980s. Hirano was a member of the team that gathered at The 1983 NAMM Show to discuss the MIDI spec and agree on the protocol and how MIDI would be engineered into the vast number of new electronic keyboards and synthesizers that were in high demand at the time. Hirano later played an important role in several MIDI organizations, presentations and focus groups, marking an important part of the music product industry's history.

"I was very proud to have met Karl in the very early years of the NAMM Oral History program, as he provided me with priceless background information that led to several key interviews for our collection," said Dan Del Fiorentino, music historian for NAMM. "His spirit was one of inspiration, and I am proud to have been his friend. My heart goes out to his family at this difficult time."