24 brand new All Steinway pianos came together in the Carne foyer of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama this morning to perform a new work simply called 24 Pianos.
The event celebrates the College’s new status as the first Steinway Exclusive Conservatoire in Europe, with the creation of a world-leading fleet of All Steinway pianos.
The piece, specially written by composer and RWCMD postgraduate student Julia Plaut, was performed by 24 pianists including students from the College, its Junior Conservatoire, graduates and staff (under socially distanced conditions). Through a refraction of fragments drawn from the joyous Welsh folk song The Bells of Aberdovey, the performance celebrated the partnership with Steinway, the magnificence of the piano and its collaborative potential.
The new consignment, which includes seven Steinway grands – a Steinway model D concert grand, four Steinway AS grands, and two Spirio grand pianos – takes the Steinway/RWCMD partnership to the highest level. With every acoustic piano at the College now a Steinway, every student benefits from these world-class instruments, giving the public access to some of the world’s best visiting artists through its ongoing creative performance programme.
The College is also the first to embrace Steinway’s groundbreaking new Spirio technology, an innovation which will enable remote masterclasses, performances and auditions, and enhance outreach opportunities and networks across Wales and the world.
This new stage of the ongoing Steinway/RWCMD partnership enables new creative thinking in all areas of the College’s music offer, confirming the College’s ever-increasing commitment to opportunity, accessibility and excellence in music education, endorsed and supported by Steinway and the Mosawi Foundation.
‘As the National Conservatoire of Wales, the College’s ongoing strategy strives for access to creative excellence, innovative practice and immersive educational experiences for our students, partners and the wider community,’ said Principal Helena Gaunt. ‘Becoming a Steinway Exclusive Conservatoire helps us to create a sustainable life cycle for music with opportunities for furthering partnerships, inclusion and diversity while enhancing our standing in the classical world.’
Commenting on the potential for outreach projects created by this new stage of the partnership, RWCMD Director of Music Tim Rhys-Evans said, ‘We believe passionately that every child should have the right to access to study at our Conservatoire if they have the aptitude, talent and desire to do so. When a child comes to study at our Junior Conservatoire, or when a student arrives for their years of training at senior College, they will know that no background is a barrier to excellence; they deserve to be able to access the very best and that is exactly what Steinway represents.’
Managing Director of Steinway & Sons UK, Craig Terry commented, ‘For decades, we have taken great pride in our close association with the Royal Welsh College and its exemplary commitment to its students.
The College’s decision to become a world leader in their piano provision as a Steinway Exclusive Conservatoire marks the start of a new level of expectation for future generations of music students, and the College’s ambition to deliver creative excellence on an international level.’
The Steinway partnership will also contribute to the College’s extensive outreach programme across Wales with their support of the College’sSteinway Artist Masterclass series. Reaching out to young local talented pianists in the local community, this will strengthen the College’s links with regional music educators, while introducing new students and schools to College and Steinway.
Alongside this there will be a new Steinway scholarship for piano students, and recital opportunities for Steinway scholars at Steinway Hall, international Steinway venues and a Welsh touring circuit.
Outreach and community events will be inspired and informed by the RWCMD Creative Programme, starting with Llyr Williams’ October recitalPictures at an Exhibition to mark the College’s journey from Steinway selection to the first public performance.
The new Steinway partnership will be publicly launched at the College’s Grand Weekend, 23rd-25th October, which will embrace a broad range of innovative activities to engage, support and inspire pianists and musicians at all levels. This weekend will also focus on building the College’s links with the local and wider community.