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arts jacobs school of music performances

Jacobs School of Music to showcase cutting-edge technology Oct. 18


The Jacobs School of Music will present a recital with a new, state-of-the-art technologically innovative piano from instrument manufacturers Steinway & Sons at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 in Ford-Crawford Hall. There will also be a guest performance by acclaimed alumnus Jeremy Denk.  

Denk will perform via livestream on the new Spiro R piano, which will allow him to play from Steinway Hall in New York City while the audience in Bloomington hears the perfect acoustics from another Spiro R piano in real time. 

The new Spirio R features an intricate sensor system which perfectly captures the sounds of the piano keys and pedals. The sound is unique in its quality and precision. What’s most innovative is the piano’s recording ability, which allows performances to be captured and shared with any connected Spirio Rs around the world. 

Chair of the piano department, Norman Krieger, applied for an equipment grant on behalf of the Jacobs School of Music to acquire the Spirio R. He said he sees the recital as just the beginning of discovering new ways to preserve music for generations to come. 

“The long-term vision is a concert in Ford Hall is recorded on the Spirio and 20 or 50 years from now, the general public can hear, on an acoustic piano, what that artist did,” Krieger said. 

Krieger emphasized how the Spirio R is different from other recording devices due to its accuracy. Even the slightest touch of a key or pressing of a pedal could be captured digitally on the piano. 

While the event showcases the continuous innovative spirit within the Jacobs School, Krieger also said he hoped it would remind people how important access to high-quality instruments is for the students of Jacobs. 

“The hope is our community will support our need for new instruments,” Krieger said. 

Newer instruments like the Spirio R show what can be done with musical instruments, especially with the preservation of sound. With a piano, once a note is played, it begins to fade away — the Spirio R preserves it, meaning even the faintest note will play forever, immortalizing the unique way a piano is played. 

“When we’re playing, we’ll imitate the human voice, we’ll imitate a flute, a violin, a horn,” Krieger said. “Our whole technique is based on creating the illusion of sustaining sound.” 

This innovative technology means performances can be shared across the globe. A recital in Bangkok could be attended in real time from Cincinnati via a Spirio R. Kreiger said this technology has the potential to bring incredible music to places not often exposed to such work. 

“Great music is the universal language that humanity can connect with,” Krieger said. 

In addition to Denk’s performance, there will also be student performances, recordings played from the music library and a Q&A with Director of Customer Experiences Michael Cabe of Steinway & Sons. The event is free and open to all. 

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