Ivo Kahánek will turn 40 on 23 May this year and he has already received a beautiful present!
He has been officially introduced among the best world pianists – classic and jazz alike – after being, as the only representative of the Czech Republic, selected by Steinway for the special project incorporating the “Spirio” player piano. He was added to the exclusive Steinway Spirio Artists list. There we can find names such as Lang Lang, Yuja Wang or Pascal Rogé, and Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington or Vladimir Horowitz, to name a few from history.
The Steinway brand, which has been known for over 160 years for making possibly the most profoundly famous pianos in the world, has begun manufacturing instruments, which are, thanks to a special add-on, able to not only serve as standard pianos but also perfectly play back the performances of specific pianists. This feature allows anyone to experience at home, or at a party, wedding or any other kind of meeting, an authentic digitally recorded artistic performance, yet executed by the instrument itself. It is in fact a combination of a recording and a live acoustic performance.
Steinway Spirio comes together with a tablet including over 1700 pieces recorded by the best pianists in the world – from classical music across more modern genres all the way to jazz. It also becomes a database of extraordinary artistic performances for the future: in 100 years the listeners will still be able to “invite” any of the piano stars of the past into their living room and witness them “play their own piano.”
Ivo Kahánek chose several pieces to be included in the treasure trove of world piano heritage: the famous Humoresque no. 7 by Antonín Dvořák, Concert Etude in C major by Bedřich Smetana, the 1st book of “On an Overgrown Path” by Leoš Janáček and Jaroslav Ježek’s popular Bugatti Step.
You can watch a video with Bugatti Step here:
“When choosing the repertoire and given the nature of the whole project I tried to include pieces which are both artistically valuable and friendly to the listener”, the pianist says. I am happy that Czech music can yet again reach a new range of listeners and pianists, and I am sure that I will continue in its promotion using this channel as well as others”.
himself is often called the “Czech Chopin” for his sensitive, elegant and singing expression and many would not hesitate to call him the best Czech pianist of today. He won the Prague Spring competition in 2004 and has had many successful performances: with BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms, at Wigmore Hall in London with the Pavel Haas Quartet, or the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sir Simon Rattle. In September 2015 he was the main protagonist and curator of the chamber series of the Dvořák’s Prague music festival. In 2019 he will tour Germany, China, Portugal, Mexico, Switzerland, Poland and other countries of the world. In the Czech Republic he regularly appears e.g. at the Prague Spring, Smetanova Litomyšl, Dvořák’s Prague and other international music festivals, In 2018 he won the Classic Prague Award for the best solo performance of the year, and he presented himself in several concerts with the Czech Philharmonic under its new principal conductor, Semyon Bychkov, or with the renowned Mahler Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Andrés Orozca-Estrady. At the beginning of 2019 he was awarded, together with the singers Martina Janková and Tomáš Král, the Diapason d’Or for their recording of Bohuslav Martinů’s Songs.