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UCLA Purchases Yamaha DCFX Disklavier Concert Grand Piano to Enhance Capabilities of Herb Alpert School of Music

Posted by on in Disklavier Center Stage
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L to R: Walter Ponce, UCLA; Jun Fujimoto, Yamaha; Inna Faliks, UCLA; Judith L. Smith, UCLA; and Neal Stulberg, UCLA.

The DEN is so excited for our colleagues at UCLA to have added ANOTHER Disklavier to their stable! Read on....

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has purchased a new Yamaha Disklavier CFX concert grand piano (DCFX) for its Herb Alpert School of Music, designated this past January as the university's twelfth professional school and the first school of music in the University of California system. The instrument was specially selected by Yamaha Artist Inna Faliks, who also serves as professor of piano and head of piano at UCLA.

The Yamaha DCFX is one of the finest concert grand pianos available today, and the flagship instrument in the company's expansive line of award-winning reproducing pianos. It is capable of recording an actual performance, and then playing it back note-for-note, with exacting precision and with all the sensitivity and nuance intended by the artist. The professional level reproducing capabilities of the Disklavier, coupled with its unsurpassed ability to stream live performances and Remote Lesson technology delivered via DisklavierTV™, distinguish the DCFX as an unsurpassed concert grand piano for institutional and educational settings.
UCLA's new DCFX has been incorporated into the school's new state-of-the-art recording studio, one of the premier recording facilities in Los Angeles, where it is also used as a teaching resource for students who wish to learn the philosophy and skills of recording. The instrument's rich palette of tonal colors and exquisite resonance will equally be enjoyed by the campus community at faculty recitals and at piano marathons, as well as public performances held at the college's Schoenberg Hall.
"Yamaha Corporation of America has a long history of involvement in music education, so it was natural for UCLA to choose Yamaha as one of our institutional partners," says Neal Stulberg, co-director of the Herb Alpert School of Music, chair of the department of music and professor/director of orchestral studies. "We are using the DCFX in the classroom and in our recording studio for projects representing many different musical genres. This is an enormous development for us and for music at UCLA. It's a beautiful instrument."
According to Stulberg, the DCFX dramatically extends student learning – in both classroom and private instruction settings – enabling students to see and hear exactly what they previously played from a listener's perspective. Study is further enhanced by DisklavierTV and an extensive PianoSoft library that features myriad concerts, recitals and lectures recorded by acclaimed pianists from all over the world, which students can observe right on the instrument, all at the touch of a button.
The school will be able to take full advantage of the DCFX's powerful "Remote Lesson" technology that makes it possible for a pianist to perform live at UCLA, while their exact keystrokes and pedal movements are transmitted in real time to other Yamaha Disklaviers located at other top-level music schools in the world, along with synchronized video.
UCLA is also planning its inaugural participation in the 2016 International Piano-e-Competition, an innovative biennial event attracting the brightest young pianists from around the world. The International Piano-e-Competition makes extensive use of the Disklavier and, as part of the school's involvement, contestants can audition on site at UCLA. Contestants note-for-note performances will be captured, perfectly synced with a high-definition video recording. These performances are then played together with other auditions captured in a similar fashion at other locations all over the world, on a Disklavier piano with accompanying video, before the competition's distinguished jury assembled together in one location to experience each audition as if it was performed live.
Faliks has long been a proponent of Disklavier Remote Lesson technology for distance learning, having recorded lectures and recitals for both DisklavierTV and the Yamaha PianoSoft library. During the instrument selection process, she gravitated toward the DCFX immediately and her colleagues supported that choice. An initial training and information session was held in May for UCLA instructors and students, and ongoing sessions will be conducted to deepen their knowledge of the immense capabilities of the DCFX.
"UCLA is really on the forefront of experimentation and open-mindedness, and our selection of this piano for our music program is an example of that," said Faliks. "This is a beautiful, responsive, sensitive, gorgeous instrument – even without its Disklavier capabilities – and we're thrilled that we have it. It's world class."
Additional information about the Yamaha DCFX is available at

Shana Kirk has been passionate about the combination of music, teaching, and technology since the early 1990s. As an undergrad at Lipscomb University, armed with a Yamaha PSR and a Mac Classic computer, she may have been the first freshman music theory student in history to turn in homework on floppy disk! As a graduate student at the University of Denver's Lamont School of Music, she learned how to avoid extra accompanying rehearsals with the magic of the Yamaha Disklavier. She has been teaching, performing, and helping others with music technology ever since.

In addition to an active teaching and performing career, Shana participates in extensive music outreach. During 2000, she helped develop and operate the "What Makes Music?" discovery center for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She also helped develop Yamaha's Say Yes to Music outreach initiative, performing exclusively on Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos in elementary schools across the US.

Currently, as a music education technology consultant, Shana works with industry leaders including Yamaha, TimeWarp Technologies, Keys to Imagination, and Piano Adventures, to guide music educators in 21st century teaching practices through workshops, webinars, and technical support.

Recognized as an expert in the technologies associated with independent music instruction, she has presented workshops and performances at events including MTNA National Conference, National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, College Music Society, Association for Technology in Music Instruction, World Piano Pedagogy Conference, The Royal Conservatory's Summer Summit, The Canadian Music Teachers' Association, and numerous regional and state events. As a writer, she frequently contributes music and music-technology based articles to such publications as Clavier Companion and American Music Teacher.

Here at DEN, Shana loves to discover all the new things that teachers and schools are doing with Disklavier, and is constantly experimenting at her home studio in Denver, CO.

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