This piano replays Ryan Cayabyab’s high-definition performances in your home

Ryan Cayabyab records eight of his songs in Steinway New York as the first Filipino to be featured in Spirio's roster of musicians

  • September 3, 2018

  • Images courtesy of Steinway Boutique Manila

Steinway & Sons was founded in 1853 by Henry Engelhard Steinway, and over the years, it has since been the preference of pianists around the world, and is in fact chosen by 98% of piano soloists. Steinway & Sons has cultivated special relationships with pianists from every genre, from Lang Lang to Diana Krall to Billy Joel to such Steinway Immortals as Cole Porter, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Arthur Rubinstein.

While Steinway pianos have been pianist-centric for the past decades they have designed a new piano for everyone—a high-resolution re-performance instrument, Steinway Spirio. And among the instruments’ selection of world-class performances by pianists from the earlier centuries to the present is one Filipino maestro who we know as Ryan Cayabyab.

Homegrown Filipino talent and multi-faceted musician Ryan Cayabyab, the only Asian winner in the 2001 Onassis International Cultural Competitions, is the first Filipino artist to be featured in the Spirio library. In time for the grand opening of the new Steinway Boutique Manila showroom in Shangri-La Plaza on 21 November 2017, Cayabyab recorded eight of his songs in Steinway New York on 2 November.

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A couple of years back Steinway launched the Steinway Spirio, which now allows everyone, pianists and non-pianists alike, to enjoy the Steinway sound. Steinway Spirio is an abstract reference, related loosely to the Latin word for “breathe.” The name suggests a number of sentiments closely tied to how people connect to and through music.

The instrument provides unrivalled musical experience like that of a live performance. It brings the piano to life with the world’s greatest music, independent of the listener’s playing ability. The Spirio’s technology utilizes a proprietary high-resolution software system along with solenoids (a current-carrying coil of wire) that actuate each note on the piano, and two pedal solenoids.

The technology, installed directly into the piano itself at the time of manufacture, was developed in a partnership between Steinway & Sons and Wayne Stahnke, a pioneer of the modern player piano system.

While many earlier player piano systems rely on midi data files (compressed, low-resolution data files) and others rely on even lower resolution files for playback, Steinway & Sons is recording at the highest resolution possible, and has created a proprietary data file format that captures the nuances and full range of emotion from each artist’s performance.

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“The most awesome part of this experience was when they played the recorded tracks for the very first time and the piano played by itself complete with all the nuances in my performance,” said Ryan Cayabyab.

“I remembered the first time I ever recorded my voice in my father’s tape recorder when I was eight years old. The first thing that came to my mind was ‘is that me?’ after hearing the playback. Human feelings and technology now come together in this Steinway recording for Spirio, and it is a great way to share my music to the world,” he added.

The superior level of playback is made possible through a combination of proprietary high-resolution recording technology, and the Steinway Spirio’s ability to replicate smaller increments of velocity on both the hammers and proportional pedaling.

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With the new technology, anyone will have access to the entire library of over 1,700 Steinway Artists, exclusively for the Steinway Spirio. At the time of the launch of the Spirio, there was approximately 50 hours of content with over 700 music files available in the core music catalogue.

Owners can access the music through the Steinway & Sons app on their iOS device (an iPad comes with Steinway Spirio at the time of purchase), which will be continually updated with the most current collection of available Steinway Spirio music. No extra fees to be paid and nothing else needed to be downloaded.

More of the Steinway Spirio on the latest episode of BluPrint Conversations with Andrew Goh, the Sales Manager of Steinway & Sons Singapore:

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