Rhinegold Photo credit: Kirsten McTernan

Owen Mortimer

Steinway partnership begins new chapter for Cardiff’s RWCMD

2:23, 25th September 2020

The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) in Cardiff, UK, has taken delivery of 24 new Steinway pianos to become the first Steinway Exclusive Conservatoire in Europe.

Every acoustic piano at the College is now a Steinway, ensuring that all students, audiences and visiting artists can experience these world-class instruments. The College is also the first to embrace Steinway’s Spirio player piano technology, which will enable remote masterclasses, performances and auditions, as well as new outreach opportunities.

An event celebrating the arrival of the new instruments took place on 9 September with the world premiere of a piece titled 24 Pianos, written by composer and RWCMD postgraduate student Julia Plaut. Plaut’s sparkling minimalist score was performed by 24 pianists including Junior Conservatoire students, students, graduates and staff. Using fragments drawn from the joyous Welsh folk song ‘The Bells of Aberdovey’, Plaut’s music celebrated RWCMD’s partnership with Steinway while demonstrating the qualities of the pianos and their collaborative potential.

RWCMD director of music Tim Rhys-Evans says outreach work lies at the heart of the partnership: ‘We believe passionately that every child should have 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.’

The partnership will contribute to RWCMD’s existing outreach activities across Wales by supporting the College’s Steinway Artist Masterclass series. Reaching out to young talented pianists in the local community, the series will strengthen the College’s links with regional music educators, while introducing new students and schools to RWCMD and Steinway. There will also be a new Steinway scholarship for piano students, plus recital opportunities for Steinway scholars at Steinway Hall, international Steinway venues and a Welsh touring circuit.

Welcoming these initiatives, RWCMD Principal Helena Gaunt said: ‘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.’

The public launch of the partnership will be marked by a mini-festival dubbed Grand Weekend (23-25 October), showcasing a broad range of innovative activities that engage, support and inspire pianists and musicians at all levels.

Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Steinway & Sons

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