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The world's best piano can now play itself /

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Steinway, the gold standard for pianos, is now offering its year-old Spirio player piano in Chicago-for anyone in the market for a self-playing piano with virtuoso-level quality, minus the virtuoso. Digital-age player pianos already existed, notably the Yamaha Disklavier. Spirio, however, has access to Steinway's contractually bound artists, such as the flashy, high-selling piano duo Anderson and Roe, who played a launch event this week at Venue SIX10 in the Loop, a space looking as remarkably white as the room from the Spirio promotional shot. Player pianos have been around since the 19th century. They peaked in the early 1920s, just before record players and the radio elbowed them out of the living room.