Back to RWCMD main site

RWCMD Becomes the First Steinway Exclusive Conservatoire in the World

9 September 2020

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 the world, with the creation of a first-class fleet of All Steinway pianos.

The piece, specially written by composer and RWCMD postgraduate student Julia Plaut, was performed by 24 pianists including Junior Conservatoire students, students, 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.

Director of Music Tim Rhys-Evans joined students and colleagues to perform ’24 Pianos’

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’s Steinway 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 recital Pictures 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.

The delivery and performance on Wed 9th Sept were all performed under carefully regulated Covid conditions.

Editors notes:

The College became the first All Steinway Conservatoire in the UK in 2009. A ‘Steinway Exclusive’ piano inventory represents the upper limit of what can be achieved within the All Steinway School. ‘Steinway Exclusive’ means every acoustic piano at the college or school is a Steinway to help every student reach their fullest potential as musicians.

The new consignment delivers the College 24 new Steinway pianos;
• Another new Model D Concert grand to offer two concert grands in the performance venue
• One ‘Spirio r’ Steinway B grand to enable distance learning, remote auditions and international masterclasses
• One ‘Spirio’ Steinway O grand to enable automated accompaniment playback
• Four Steinway AS grands to expand grand piano access
• 17 Steinway uprights to ensure all practice and accompaniment is on a Steinway

The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, the National Conservatoire of Wales, and part of the University of South Wales Group, operates within its international peer group of conservatoires and specialist arts colleges. It trains young artists drawn from around 30 countries to provide a constant flow of emerging talent into the music and theatre industries and related professions. In 2020 the College became the first Steinway Exclusive Conservatoire in Europe, taking delivery of a further 24 Steinways to create a world-leading All Steinway fleet of pianos.

Steinway & Sons

• More than 98% of the world’s active concert pianists – over 1,500 artists – bear the title ‘Steinway Artist’. Each owns their own Steinway and chooses to play on a Steinway exclusively
• Many of these artists received their musical training on Steinway pianos. It is the instrument of choice at the world’s most prestigious music schools including Juilliard, Oberlin College and Yale University
• As well as being a superb musical instrument, the Steinway is durable enough to sustain years of intensive use ‘with grace’
• Steinway have been setting the world standard for piano quality for 165 years and today, Steinway & Sons crafts approximately 3,000 pianos a year worldwide