UK, London. Yesterday evening saw the official UK presentation of Steinway & Sons’ most significant product innovation in over 70 years called the Steinway Spirio.
Positioned on a raised platform within the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London, guests were provided with a demonstration of Spirio’s ability to reproduce live performances with impressive sensitivity in its delivery. The latest model allows Steinway to recapture performances from some of the all time great pianists.
“Steinway Spirio is a very high-resolution player piano system, which replicates the touch of a master pianist exactly,” explained CEO of Steinway & Sons, Michael Sweeney. “For the first time, a customer can enjoy the beautiful playing of Olga Kern, Lang Lang, Stephen Hough and so many other Steinway artists from around the world, including Jazz and Rock masters, in their homes.”
Many of these artists have recorded music specifically for the Spirio to produce a new catalog of music for the system, featuring the roster of over 1,700 Steinway artists performing a wide range of genres, from classical to jazz, standard to contemporary. All pieces in the catalog are recorded, edited and released in high-resolution, using a proprietary data format that captures the very details that are so individual and make an artist’s performance special and unique.
“The technology in this instrument is innovative in itself,” said Sweeney. “It is proprietary software and hardware but all this technology is in service to the instrument. What is truly special about this technology is that it makes the beauty of the Steinway, as played by the finest artists, available to a music lover who does not know how to play the piano, and that is why we pursued this.”
Delicate pedaling, subtle phrasing, soft trills, and thundering fortissimos are all mimicked with great attention in a way that captures the magic of a master pianists’ performance. Damper and keyshift pedaling are replicated with high accuracy, following the pianist’s depressions and releases smoothly and precisely over the entire range of motion.
The Steinway Spirio, which is operated via an app, is a product of Steinway & Sons’ partnership with Wayne Stahnke, building on his decades of work as the world’s foremost innovator in the field of modern player pianos. The system’s superior playback results from the combination of numerous patented developments.
In addition to hearing a performance by Simon Mulligan — one of the many artists to be invited to record pieces for the Spirio — the audience was stunned by a performance by American composer and pianist George Gershwin, which was played on the Spirio while the original performance was shown in perfect sync on screen.
The Steinway Spirio player system is integrated with the piano at Steinway’s New York and Hamburg factories. Completely hidden from view, its components do not affect the touch, sound or outward appearance of the piano in any way. Steinway Spirio’s modular design isolates the core player system from rapidly changing user interface technologies, and with routine maintenance and occasional updates, the Steinway Spirio player piano system is expected to last the full lifetime of the instrument.
The Steinway Spirio system will be available in three existing piano models: Model B (Music Room Grand, available worldwide), Model M (Medium Grand, available in select US and Canadian markets), and Model O (Living Room Grand, available in select European and Asian markets).