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Steinway Piano Gallery DC Partners with Kirov Academy for Virtual Competition Featuring Spirio | r

While the global pandemic has wreaked havoc on many aspects of live performance and musical competition, one performing arts school has found an innovative way to leverage the power of Spirio | r to help produce an innovative international piano competition. Over the next two months, Kirov Academy will work with Steinway Piano Gallery of Washington, DC to implement the world’s first virtual piano competition featuring Spirio | r. The 2020 Kirov International Junior E-Piano Competition will take place from August 24 through October 24. Finalists selected from the Junior Division (up to age 13) and the Young Artist Division (ages 14–17) will compete remotely — via Spirio — from cities around the world straight to the jury panel in Washington, DC. 

Jury Chairman John Perry in Masterclass at Kirov Academy, January 2020.


The seeds for this unique competition were sown months ago, when Kirov purchased a Steinway Model D and several new Bostons from Steinway Piano Gallery DC. Plans for an international competition were in the works when COVID-19 hit. “Instead of cancelling their competition, Kirov made the decision to pivot to a virtual model,” said Matt Bachman of Steinway Piano Gallery DC. “Their next step was to trade up to a Model D Spirio | r and to make the Spirio’s recording capabilities a cornerstone of the new virtual competition. This is the first time Spirio has been used in this manner, and it’s very exciting to see an institution that is using Spirio’s amazing technology to make performance and competition opportunities available to young artists who are otherwise limited by the pandemic crisis.”

“It’s very exciting to see an institution that is using Spirio’s amazing technology to make performance and competition opportunities available to young artists who are otherwise limited by the pandemic crisis.”

During the Kirov International Junior E-Piano Competition, finalists will perform and record on Spirio at Steinway galleries in selected cities. The pre-recorded playback performances will be evaluated before a panel of live international judges, chaired by John Perry. The final round will take place on the Model D Spirio | r at Kirov Academy in Washington, DC on Saturday, October 24. Competitors will vie for Steinway of Washington DC Young Artist Grants of $2,000, a concert tour with the Embassy Concert Series, and a chance to perform at the world-renowned Kennedy Center of Washington, DC next summer. 

“Kirov made an important decision to purchase the Steinway Spirio concert grand to host the 2020 International Competition, the world’s first virtual Junior E-Piano International Competition,” said Dr. Yangsook Lee, Kirov 2020 International Junior E-Piano Competition Chair. “Kirov made the decision to embrace the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic as an historic opportunity to demonstrate the continuing importance of music to our youth and to every human being on earth now and in our shared future. We also believe that this year’s historic Virtual E-Piano Competition will exhibit our ability to grow, to be creative, to be strong and to move forward.”

“Our new initiative challenges and connects tomorrow’s talent with a global family of outstanding musicians who are engaged in creating a world of beauty and effecting positive change through the arts,” said Tatiana Moon, Kirov President. “The participants in our competition have a unique opportunity to perform with other talented musicians and to be empowered by great masters. The importance of the arts in the education of our youth is critical, especially during these trying times.”

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