Thursday, April 22, 2010

Disklaviers In the News - New iPhone App, Pat Metheny & More

It has been a busy spring for the Disklavier, with a new firmware release as well as appearances at performances from a number of high profile musicians.

First off, Yamaha has released a new firmware version for the Disklavier Mark IV. Mark IV version 4.0 makes a number of improvements to the Disklavier and also adds support for Yamaha's Disklavier iPhone application. With the free application for the iPhone or iTouch, you can control all of the playback functions on the Disklavier, change the balance and volume of different parts, and much more, right from your phone. You can learn more about the iPhone application here, or get a full users perspective here - the firmware update can be downloaded directly from the Disklavier's PRC remote.

The Disklavier has also been making news for connecting performers, audiences, educators and students around the US in the past few months. Last week, a concert was held at the Strathmore Center in Bethesda, Maryland, featuring remote performances and duets from pianist Jarrod Radnich. Radnich performed on a Disklavier in Joshua Tree, California which streamed his performance instantly to the concert hall in Maryland where another Disklavier perfectly reproduced his performance. The concert featured duets with pianist Craig Knudsen and noted Broadway singer Patti Cohenour, who appeared live in Bethesda.

A similar performance also took place as part of the 9th annual Intel Education Visionary Conference in Washington D.C., highlighting the educational possibilities of the Disklavier's remote performance technology. Demonstrations of the Disklavier's teaching potential have been going on throughout the country, including a conference at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas.

And finally, on a jazzier note, famed guitarist Pat Metheny has made prodigious use of the Disklavier on his latest record and tour. Both the recording, "Orchestrion", and subsequent tour are based on Metheny's compositions for and interactions with robotic instruments. The Disklavier seems like a natural fit for a project like this, as Metheny himself has called it "certainly the most sophisticated solenoid-based instrument to date". The record is available now and his tour has dates scheduled through the spring and summer.

Update: Yamaha has just published their own full article about Pat Metheny's use of Disklaviers on his new record and tour.  Take a look!

- Doug