For Steinway Piano
continuing its longstanding heritage of supporting visual artists, steinway & sons has launched ‘the steinway commission’ — a new initiative that sees three creatives over a period of three years use a steinway spirio piano as medium. in collaboration with the museum of contemporary art, los angeles, the studio museum in harlem and the walker art center in minneapolis, the program also pairs the artistically reinterpreted piano with a steinway musician, who composes a score specifically for that piece.
the first realized work in the series is by LA-based artist mark bradford. inspired by an ever-changing social landscape, bradford has used paper and bleach to create ‘apollo’. ‘my use of paper and bleach in the work originates from my time working as a hairdresser at my mother’s salon in leimert park, los angeles, where I would take end papers and soak them in bleach to dye clients’ hair,’ bradford says. ‘I liked the end papers. I liked the social fabric they represented. here, I am interested in the pattern of flux created by this bleaching effect.’
paired with bradford’s work is houston native robert glasper, who has realized the score ‘still shining’. composed in four movements, the work’s musical narrative reflects that of the piano’s treatment: movement 1: tranquility; movement 2: unrest-violence-rescue; movement 3: rebirth; movement 4: theme 1 + coda. the composition is brought to life through the steinway spirio—high-resolution player piano technology that provides the most accurate reproduction of a live performance.
‘I’ve been exploring the subject matter of race and unrest in my own work, so this was an unbelievable opportunity to express these themes in a three dimensional way,’ glasper says. ‘collaborations are always complex and personal interpretations of ideas can diverge over time. but mark and I were always on the same page with this project — we share the same fear, the same anger, and the same hopes for a better future.’