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Donor Generosity Brings an Elite Steinway Tech-Precise Spirio | r Piano to BW

It's like having 88 keys of pure magic tech at your fingertips that meld the artistry and craftsmanship of a Steinway piano with state-of-the-art innovation.

photo of Steinway Spirio r pianoBaldwin Wallace's latest Steinway addition, the Spirio | r, is helping transform learning and performance experiences for students and faculty alike in the Conservatory of Music. Its live performance capture enables pianists to record, edit, playback, search, save and share their performances in a high-resolution format.

Also remarkable is its Apple iPad technology that allows remote interface. Performers with a Spirio can perform on another Spirio - even halfway across the world - and achieve precision and matching sonorities. This real-time capability with exact replication enables BW students and faculty to listen and watch performances by international concert artists on BW's own Spirio | r - an exceptional teaching and learning experience that enables distinguished keyboard masters to be performing here at BW.

A showcase concert celebrating the addition of this magnificent instrument and honoring donors Dr. Robert and Janet Gans '66 Brown is being held Saturday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m., in the Fynette Kulas Music Hall, Boesel Musical Arts Center (live stream available). The Soirée features BW keyboard faculty Mary Dobrea-Grindahl, Dr. Robert Mayerovitch and Anthony Fuoco; professor of saxophone Gabriel Piqué; six students; and Spirio specialist Michael Cabe, who will be playing and speaking live from Steinway & Sons, New York City.

'Piano on Steroids'

"Having a masterpiece like the Spirio | r provides outstanding and immeasurable opportunities," said Susan Van Vorst, dean of the Conservatory of Music. "As an All-Steinway School, our emphases on quality and excellence are foremost. The gift of this marvelous Steinway Spirio | r from loyal Conservatory supporters Janet and Robert brims with meaningful generosity."

Mayerovitch agrees. His 45-year career span with Baldwin Wallace has placed him at the helm of transformative experiences in Conservatory history. He believes the addition of the Spirio | r provides extraordinary opportunity.

graphic showing benefits of a Spirio R piano"The Spirio is like a player piano on steroids," he said with emphasis. "It captures in minute increments the key and pedal movements of a live performance, making the playback not just an audio experience but also a physical recreation of the key and pedal descents. This is an enormous benefit in showing our students how they actually sound, whether they are playing evenly, whether keys are depressing at the same time, and, of course, how they sound on the piano they just played.

"To add to the magic, there is an expanding library of world-class pianists playing on a Spirio. Those performances can be played on OUR Spirio with video such that we can watch their actual playing, but also have their playing initiate a response on our instrument where the keys are precisely moving and the sound is as rich as a live concert performance," he added.

Mayerovitch went on to say that a pianist at one Spirio can connect with another Spirio, enabling a guest teacher or performer to play the BW piano in real time from a remote location and BW faculty and students to do likewise.

"There will be many applications that we have not even conceived of as we start to discover the full capabilities of our Spirio," he noted. "I strongly believe the students will be both intrigued and entranced by the journey."

Showcase Opportunity for Creativity, Peer Support

Among students participating in the Soirée is Harrison Roth '23, a 20-year-old music theatre direction major from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Roth will be programing and playing the Spirio live alongside BW students - vocalist Ricky Moyer '23, violinists Hannah Reinschmidt '22 and Alivia Gaskins '22, violist Sarah Nichols '23 and cellist Danielle Hall '24.

The experience is a pinnacle one for the BW junior, who participated in a Steinway workshop to learn about the instrument and its capabilities. This led to an invitation from the Conservatory to participate in the donor event.

"Because of my close involvement with the Spirio, I was tasked to come up with a performance that could showcase its abilities beyond recording and playback," explained Roth. "I prepared a piece for the Soirée that utilizes electronic looping as well as live musicians to combine the electronic and acoustic aspects. This will be the first time the song has been performed on all-acoustic instruments.

"My biggest moments of personal growth come from when I am given the opportunity, space and resources to invest in larger-scale personal projects. I find that when tasked with being creative and taking initiative, I can grow the most as a student, a musician and as a person," he emphasized.

Generous Couple Dedicated to Student Success

photo of Dr. Susan Van Vorst with Spirio donors Dr. Robert and Janet Gans BrownJanet Gans began her study as a music education major and voice primary at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory. She taught music in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, for 30 years and was active in theatre, opera and church music throughout Greater Cleveland.

At an Arthur Murray ballroom dance class in 1976, she met her future husband, Dr. Robert Brown, professor of physics at Case Western Reserve University.

Embracing their love of both the sciences and the arts, the couple supports the artistic and academic pursuits of students and arts institutions throughout Cleveland.

The Browns are loyal supporters of the BW Conservatory of Music. Their most recent gift of the Steinway Spirio | r is a perfect melding of technology and music. Their generosity will enable generations of BW students to excel in their studies and share their talents with the world.

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