Steinway Gallery Singapore presents Pioneering Pianists of Southeast Asia this June, featuring two regional pianists who have established a presence for the region in the international music scene and advocated cultural heritage through the piano. The two pianists featured are Steinway Artists Dr Raul Sunico from the Philippines and Nat Yontararak from Thailand, who will celebrate their legacies using the latest Steinway’s proprietary technology to perform, record and perfect their artistry.
Both Dr Sunico and Yontararak first established their careers with their inimitable performances of the Western classical repertoire, with Sunico lauded for being the only pianist to perform all four Rachmaninoff piano concertos in a single evening and Yontararak as the organiser behind the Siam International Piano Competition. Yet recently, both pianists have turned their musical ear inward as they look back to their own countries for inspiration, taking on new arrangements of popular and folk music from their respective cultures.
Says Celine Goh, general manager of Steinway Gallery Singapore: “Pioneering Pianists of Southeast Asia showcases the rich cultural music heritage from the Philippines and Thailand. Through this cultural exchange experience, we hope to cultivate a greater sense of local cultural identity in our younger generations and to develop cultural intelligence through music. The artists have provided vital leadership in cultural philanthropy by demonstrating different ways of passing down cultural music heritage using Steinway’s latest SPIRIO|r. Their experiences, to us, embody the most ideal relationship between generations.”
The SPIRIO|r represents the latest addition to Steinway’s SPIRIO technology, enabling any pianist to record, edit, playback, and save their performances in a high-resolution format. The SPIRIO|r records and delivers the most accurate reproduction of a live performance ever achieved on a Steinway, opening up a world of possibilities not just in terms of performance but also in teaching and innovating, and allowing musicians to directly pass on their legacies to future generations.
Says Steinway & Sons’ President and CEO, Ron Losby: “Steinway’s culture of innovation has truly reached its pinnacle through SPIRIO|r, which provides artists with the capabilities to perform, record, and perfect their performance in a groundbreaking new way. Never before have artists been able to capture the nuance and soul of their playing so precisely on a Steinway. As the maker of the world’s finest piano, we are proud to introduce this new evolution of our beloved instrument, and look forward to opportunities this technology will bring to professional and amateur pianists alike.”
At their concerts, the two Steinway Artists will demonstrate the high-resolution performance, recording and editing capabilities of the SPIRIO|r. For Dr Sunico’s concert, titled Love Letters From Home, the pianist will play both Western classics such as Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-sharp minor, op. 3 no. 2 and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and his own renditions of Filipino folk music, including Buhat and Bato sa Buhangin. In Yontarak’s The Light of My Homeland, the Thai pianist plays his arrangements of the late King Bhumibol’s “Love in Spring” and “Somewhere, Somehow” as well as his own compositions inspired by Thai folk music, and will even have Thai traditional dancers accompanying his performance.
In the lead-up to their concerts, Steinway Gallery Singapore will also launch six short video trailers on the two pianists, as they offer insights into their life’s work, and how they are passing on their legacies with the SPIRIO|r. The video trailers for Yontararak will introduce how Thai royal patronage helped develop his career, how he established himself as a classical musician in a country not known for Western classical music, and his contributions to the teaching of music in Thailand, while Dr Sunico’s will showcase the milestones of his career and how he has merged Filipino folk music into a Western classical framework.
Says Yontarak: “With the availability of such technology in the SPIRIO|r, more people would now be able to hear the sound and tone of Thai characteristics on the SPIRIO. It allows me to share and exchange new ideas for my original compositions with a wider audience. I believe this will be my legacy — not only for Thai people, but for people abroad as well.”
Adds Dr Sunico: “The new SPIRIO|r from Steinway is an amazing instrument and musical tool for musicians at every level. Whether they’re professional pianists or still developing musically. Being able to hear the nuances of my own performance immediately, through the high-resolution playback that can change many things, it allows me to hear what the audience hears so I can refine my performance. Such in-depth review was never possible before.”
Pioneering Pianists Of Southeast Asia will take place at the Victoria Concert Hall on 3rd and 4th June 2019. Raul Sunico will play on 3rd June, while Nat Yontararak will play on 4th June. For more information on Steinway, visit their website here