Legendary Pianist Byron Janis Conducts First-Ever Master Class Linking the U.S. and Russia Via Yamaha Disklavier Remote Lesson

NEW YORK (September 28, 2016) — In an historic musical and pedagogical event attended by fascinated audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, the legendary American pianist and Yamaha Artist, Maestro Byron Janis conducted the first remote piano master class ever to link an instructor in the U.S. with students in Russia. Thanks to groundbreaking Yamaha Disklavier Remote Lesson technology, Mr. Janis instructed students at the Moscow Conservatory, live and in real-time, while located at Yamaha Artist Services – more than 4,600 miles away in New York City. The event took place on September 28, 2016.
The Yamaha Disklavier, a unique, technologically advanced reproducing piano, is capable of transmitting highly-nuanced performance data – i.e., the actual key strokes and subtle gradations of pedal movement – between similarly equipped instruments over the Internet.
This remarkable technology allowed Maestro Janis to evaluate actual "live" performances by two Moscow Conservatory students: Dmitry Maiboroda, performing Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 no.3, 2nd movement, and German Kitkin, performing Chopin Etude, Op.10 : No. 3 In E "Tristesse." As each student performed, Maestro Janis sat at a Disklavier located at Yamaha Artist Services in New York, intently watching the keys and pedals of the instrument recreate the students' pieces in real time.
After each performance, Maestro Janis generously offered his words of wisdom to each of the students in Moscow while playing a Disklavier in their location remotely to visually illustrate his points. With perfectly synchronized video streaming between the two locations, technology seemed to disappear. Both teacher and students conversed freely about the master class, performing back and forth to one another, as if they were sitting on the same piano bench in the same room.
Internationally renowned as one of the world's greatest pianists, Mr. Janis also helped to establish lasting cultural ties between the United States and Russia, and has been hailed by The New York Times as "an ambassador in breaking down 'cold war' barriers." He has made three separate appearances in the former Soviet Union, beginning in 1960, marking the historical re-opening of the U.S.A./U.S.S.R. cultural exchange during the Cold War, followed by return invitations in 1962 for an extensive tour and again in 1988. This Remote Lesson master class represents the ultimate expression of Maestro Janis' cultural exchange between the two countries, using cutting-edge technology to enhance long-distance learning and the advancement of the highest musical standards globally.
Beyond his cultural exchange with Russia, Mr. Janis was also the first American concert pianist to be invited to return to Cuba, 40 years after his last performance there, during which time no American was allowed to perform on Cuban soil.
"Through the stunning technology of Yamaha's Disklavier reproducing piano, the 75-year career and the artistry of Byron Janis continue to transcend international borders," said Yamaha Artist Services Director Bonnie Barrett, who provided the opening remarks along with Oksana Levko, Director of Yamaha Artist Services Moscow. "He reaffirms his legacy as a groundbreaking cultural ambassador and role model, inspiring a new generation of pianists with his unique insights and innate wisdom. Yamaha Artist Services New York, together with our colleagues in Moscow, were delighted to be part of this historic event."
Legendary virtuosic pianist Maestro Janis made his orchestral debut at age 15 with Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra, and the following year was chosen by Vladimir Horowitz as his first student. At 18, he became the youngest artist ever signed to a contract by RCA Victor Records. Two years later, in 1948, he made his triumphant Carnegie Hall debut. He has played with every major symphony orchestra in both the U.S and abroad. His many recordings appear on RCA, Mercury Phillips and EMI, now consolidated under Warner Classics, Sony and Universal.
Maestro Janis, who has suffered from severe arthritis in his hands for more than four decades, has also served as the International Ambassador to the Arts for the Arthritis Foundation since 1986. He maintains a busy schedule presenting workshops for millions who contend with the disease, encouraging participants to achieve their goals despite the obstacles they face. Explore the artistry, as well as the cultural and social impact of Byron Janis, at www.byronjanis.com
"I am so thrilled with the Yamaha Disklavier Remote Lesson technological breakthroughs," said Maestro Janis. "It is now making possible this unique musical outreach with Moscow. What incredible opportunities this is providing for the teaching profession at a global level! Congratulations, Yamaha."
Remote Lesson technology, developed by Yamaha, makes it possible to connect two, three, or even four Disklavier reproducing pianos via the Internet. When a teacher, performer, or student plays a Disklavier using this technology, each remotely connected Disklavier produces precisely the same key and pedal movements in real time.
The Yamaha Disklavier is a special acoustic piano built from the ground up with a sophisticated system of sensors that record every aspect of a performance, including pitch, dynamics, phrasing and pedaling. The performance information can be stored and recalled for later playback.
The latest models of Disklavier can also be connected to one another via the Internet. Once connected, the performance information can be transmitted from one instrument to the others – and be immediately reproduced with perfect precision, even on the other side of the globe.
To learn more about Yamaha Disklavier Remote Lesson technology, visit http://4wrd.it/YAMAHAREMOTELESSON.