They are calling it the biggest piano innovation in 70 years. From here, it looks like a souped-up player piano for people with more loft space than sekhel*. Starting price: $110,000.

Read the press release for yourselves.




Steinway Spirio to Feature All-New Music Catalog of High-Resolution Performances by Steinway Artists

Steinway & Sons, manufacturer of the world’s finest pianos, today announced the company’s most significant product innovation in over 70 years: Steinway Spirio, the world’s finest player piano system, available exclusively on select Steinway grand pianos. A masterpiece of engineering, Steinway Spirio provides the unrivaled musical experience that Steinway’s customers expect, producing the most accurate reproduction of live performances ever achieved on a Steinway & Sons piano. Delicate pedaling, subtle phrasing, soft trills, and thundering fortissimos present no difficulty for Steinway Spirio. Damper and keyshift pedaling are replicated with unparalleled accuracy, following the pianist’s depressions and releases smoothly and precisely over the entire range of motion.

Steinway Spirio is the product of Steinway & Sons’ partnership with Wayne Stahnke, building upon 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, including closed-loop proportional pedaling, immunity to varying line voltage, sophisticated thermal compensation, and proprietary high-resolution drive techniques.

To take full advantage of Steinway Spirio’s unique capabilities, Steinway & Sons is recording an entirely 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, standards to contemporary. All pieces in the catalog are recorded, edited and released in high-resolution, using a proprietary data format that captures the finest details from each artist’s performance. Steinway’s entire catalog of performances will be provided to Steinway Spirio owners at no additional charge – a first for the player piano industry.

According to Michael Sweeney, CEO of Steinway & Sons, “Since the founding of Steinway & Sons over 160 years ago, innovation and craftsmanship have served as the core tenets of the company. In today’s marketplace, brands like ours must continue to innovate in order to remain relevant to the world around us, but that doesn’t mean that quality and craftsmanship can suffer.” Sweeney added, “After years of exploration, Steinway & Sons has created in the Steinway Spirio, a high-resolution player piano that is rich with emotion and depth. Even the Steinway Artists that have recorded on the instrument agree that the Steinway Spirio captures the true essence, nuance, and soulfulness of a live performance, allowing us to bring artists and their audiences closer than ever before.”

The Steinway Spirio player system is integrated with the piano at Steinway’s New York and Hamburg factories during manufacturing. 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, ensuring many decades of enjoyment. With routine maintenance and occasional updates, the Steinway Spirio player piano system is expected to last the full lifetime of the piano.

To control the system today, Steinway & Sons will provide a complimentary iPad to wirelessly connect with each Steinway Spirio. The attractive and easy-to-use Steinway Spirio app puts the company’s growing library of world-class performances at the owner’s fingertips, all recorded live on Steinway & Sons’ master recording pianos.

As new music files become available, they are automatically added to the in-app listings, ready to enjoy. Playlists, themes and genres curated by Steinway & Sons draw upon the company’s renowned musical expertise to create the perfect mood for any occasion. An integrated volume control permits fine adjustment of the piano’s playback intensity from brilliant, concert-level dynamics to subdued, background-level playing, taking advantage of Steinway Spirio’s whisper-soft playback capabilities.

“Steinway Spirio connects the listener and the artist as only the world’s finest piano can,” said Darren Marshall, Chief Marketing Officer for Steinway & Sons. “Steinway Spirio technology has been engineered to meet our highest standards while creating a truly unique listening experience for all music enthusiasts, regardless of their own piano playing skills.”

Steinway & Sons will offer the Steinway Spirio system in three existing piano models: Model B (Music Room Grand, available worldwide), Model M (Medium Grand, available in select U.S. and Canadian markets), and Model O (Living Room Grand, available in select European and Asian markets). Pricing is available upon request through local Steinway & Sons dealers and Steinway & Sons retail locations.

Further details and video demonstrations will be available at www.steinwayspirio.comstarting April 1, 2015. Steinway Spirio will be introduced in select markets globally beginning in March of 2015 and widely available in 2016.


* sekhel = Yiddish for commonsense

Strong-willed supporter and long-suffering first wife of a great musician, she died today of cancer in Mallorca, Spain, at the age of 75. Her son, Julian Lennon, was at her bedside.

cynthia lennon

A memorial video has been posted by her son.

BBC interview about her ‘normal’ life here:

And this:

Vladimir Kekhman, the new head of the Novosibirsk Opera – appointed yesterday after the Kremlin fired his predecessor over the Tannhäuser furore – today offered the post of principal conductor to Vladimir Jurowski.

Jurowski refused. Kekhman then offered it to the Perm-based Greek conductor Teodor Currentzis, who is said to be thinking about it. Currentzis was principal conductor in Novosibirsk from 2004 to 2010.

Last month, Jurowski issued the following statement about Tannhäuser, translated here from the Russian:



I have not seen the Novosibirsk opera and ballet theatre «Tannhauser» production to the Wagner opera, that is why I cannot speak of the production itself, although according to its numerous descriptions in mass media and blogs, the production is interesting and controversial, and that means the production is worth noticing.

This is not about the production or its creators – this about the principle. The principle is that the theatre is not a temple and the laws applicable to worship service do not apply to it. People attending a theatre production, deliberately come to see the art, and the art is primarily a search and dialogue, including a critical one. In case of classical opera staging, this is also a dialogue of us of today with a cultural historical layer of the past, and it is impossible without conscious reflection and re-evaluation of the original artists’ concept. Theatre, as any other living being, cannot live within a dogma, especially a religious one.

Any theatre production, and therefore its authors, can be a subject of criticism, including public one. Any spectator, outraged by a production, has every right to stand up and leave the theatre, without waiting for the performance end. The spectator also has the right to express publicly their indignation through the press or any other media available to them. This is a civilized form of expressing their disagreement with a particular fact of cultural life.

But making a denunciation to the prosecutor against the production, which outraged the spectator? Bringing the director to justice for the theatre production and demanding his imprisonment, «in order to teach others not to do so»??!!.. Setting censorship standards for cultural institutions and a system of supervision over them?.. Well, let us forbid «The tale of the Priest and of his workman Balda» by Pushkin, «Viy» by Gogol and «Resurrection» by Tolstoy as cleric libels, and «The Master and Margarita» by Bulgakov will be prohibited as a Holy Scripture libel! Let us forbid «The Merchant of Venice» by Shakespeare, «The miserly knight» by Pushkin and also a good half of Dostoevsky’s works for anti-Semitism, and «Salome» by Strauss and «Tristan und Isolde» by Wagner – as pornography. We will have to entirely interdict Wagner’s works for the promotion of misanthropic ideas etc…

Let us just not forget that this kind of measures are close to «the medieval court of Holy Inquistion», public book burning on squares or miserable memory of «party and government decrees on anti-cosmopolitism and non-formalism in the field of art» or even, God forbid, «Islamic state» militants’ atrocities!!

The Russian Federation is a secular state and no religion may be established as main or obligatory». This is a quote from the Constitution of the RF, Article 14,1. It is said in the same article of the same source: «Religious associations are separated from the state and are equal before the law». Another article contains the following statement: «Everyone is guaranteed freedom of thought and speech». Every religion must unconditionally be respected. Any sacred cult is an integral part of any country’s cultural traditions. But the system of thought and behavior, which is inherent to a particular religion, cannot be imposed on people, living in a secular state.

Unfortunately, in recent years the atmosphere in the country is becoming more aggressive and intolerant towards any display of «otherness» and «dissent», and the baiting unleashed over the «Tannhauser» production and its creators is one of the saddest displays of this trend.  I urge the investigating authorities of Novosibirsk Oblast to drop the case, brought against stage director T. Kulyabin and the Novosibirsk opera and ballet theatre, and the people, who outrage on squares of the country and on the Internet over the production, which they haven’t seen, to return to a civilized dialogue and thereby help us all to restore the atmosphere of humanity, trust and rapport in our country.

Vladimir Jurowski,
March 7, 2015

Denis Kozhukhin replaces her tomorrow at the Philharmonie Berlin in duets with Gidon Kremer.

The Berlin Philharmonic, which is in Baden-Baden, is rushing in young Igor Levit for Sunday’s Schumann concerto… his debut with the orchestra and the major-league festival circuit. Riccardo Chailly conducts.


igor levitt

UPDATE: Not far for Igor to go:  he’s currently teaching at Heidelberg Spring Festival’s Chamber Music Academy.

It’s a  $50 app from the Windows Store and this intro video makes it look irresistible.

I want two of these.
Read more about it on the Sibelius blog.

The distinguished Slovenian composer Bozidar Kos, who taught at the Sydney Conservatorium from 1984 to his retirement in 2002, has died at the age of 80.

bozidar kos

The Italian and Austrian press are reporting that Sir Antonio Pappano has renewed his contract with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia until 2019. That effectively takes him out of the running for the New York Philharmonic, where he was a frontline contender, and more immediately also for Berlin.

Pappano, 55, has been with the Santa Ceilia since 2005. He is also music director at Covent Garden, a job he spoke of leaving after the Verdi-Wagner-Britten year of 2013, but which he has happily and consistently renewed.



There is presently a rush of conductors who are signalling their availability for major vacancies.

The popular head of a German theatre has been dismissed after likening local government funding cuts to the acts of destruction committed by Islamic militants.

Sewan Latchinian was Intendant of the Rostock Volkstheater. His impending dismissal provoked widespread protests.


Nadja Michael has pulled out of Verdi’s opera, opening on Friday, with a Dutch bug.

It’s her first cancellation in three years and she has posted a picture of herself with medications, hoping to take over by the third night, next week.

Nadja was herself a late replacement in the cast for Tatjana Serjan.

nadja michael flu

Meantime, Amarilli Nizza sang the dress rehearsal and will presumably cover opening night.

Scott Hendricks sings Macbeth, Andrea Breth directs.


A revealing interview with the Minnesota music director on his struggles with Sibelius, how a label owner sacked his orchestra for poor playing, and how he won them back.

On the resmusica site. Click here.


1 Home-download vinyl, right here.

2 EU standardisation for musical pitch here.

3 Sweden clones new line of Birgit Nilssons here.

4 Classics to make light work here.

5 Vienna Philharmonic takes up residency in Florida.

orchestra beach

Hang on, that last one’s apparently true.