UK Music Students and their instructors have been ushered into the digital age with some new equipment introduced this week. The University of Kentucky School of Music is the proud owner of some 18 new, state of the art Yamaha Disklavier pianos. The instruments contain on-board computers that record, playback, and store musical arrangements. They were dedicated and demonstrated at the Schmidt Vocal Arts Center on Monday. Vocal Major Rebecca Farley sang a selection from Phantom of the Opera accompanied by, in essence, a phantom piano player.
"We can rehearse our music without having a pianist there. It's almost like having a coach at any time that we want. So, it's very exciting; I was very glad to be able to sing with that."
UK Opera Theatre Director Everett McCorvey says the new technology will address a growing need throughout the department.
"A pianist can now come to a voice lesson, and play the piano for that lesson, but then maybe the next voice lesson the pianist doesn't have to be there. We can do our warmups, and technical work and then when it is time to sing, we can just put in the zip drive, press a button, and then the singer can just sing with the piano."
The pianos were paid for with a $300,000 Lucille Little Foundation grant via the Lexington Opera Society, and a matching anonymous donation.