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wind controller pioneer Nyle Steiner to keep you up to date on
the activities of the inventor of the EVI and EWI wind controllers.
The Nyle Steiner Homepage is the place to go for the latest information
on Nyle Steiner's projects as well as personal notes from Nyle
For those unfamiliar with
Nyle Steiner here is a short bio. Nyle originally conceived of
the concept of a brass-style electronic synthesizer in the 1960s.
He began prototyping the concept in the early 1970s and in 1975
Nyle completed his first playable electric valve instrument-
the 'Steiner Horn'. A woodwind version (EWI) was developed soon after.
"I developed my own transducer using whatever- I tried a
lot of things out. A lot of the main parts I had to build myself.
The first one was just a switch. You blew and it turned on and
off - just like pressing a key. Later I built a proportional
His early instruments were individually hand
made by Nyle Steiner himself. In the mid 1970s, Nyle set up a small
Salt Lake City Utah based synthesizer company named Steiner-Parker with Dick Parker and a third partner.
The company produced various analog synths as well as the original
Steiner EVI from approximately 1975 to 1980. In 1980, Nyle won
the Linz prize for his EVI. In designing the original EVI, Nyle
comments "I found it was best to design my own synthesizer.
With MIDI and some of the more advanced designs, there are some
synthesizers that work pretty well with it without having to
modify them, but it used to be that I had to modify the synthesizers
so much that I just gave up and designed my own."
In 1979 Steiner-Parker dissolved but Steiner continued on making electronic music products and continuing to develop the EVI and EWI. The "solo" Steiner company hooked up with Crumar
at the end of the 1970s and Crumar marketed the EVI for a while.
Around this time, Nyle's career was beginning to take some new
turns. In 1979 he worked on the movie Apocalypse Now while commuting
from Salt Lake City. He demonstrate the EVI for the producers
and they really liked the sound. Nyle soon after moved to California
and began to make a career for himself playing in the studios.
"Most of the film composers use EVI in one way or another
- it's really good as an expressive melody instrument; the vibrato
flexibility, the bending - it's really easy to play that way."
Steiner's EVI and EWI instruments have been used by world-class
musicians including Michael Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Jeff Kashiwa,
Judd Miller, Joel Peskin, and many others.
Nyle Steiner is also an experienced
'legit' trumpet player having worked with the Utah Symphony in
the 1960s. He doesn't play acoustic trumpet these days. Instead,
he devotes much of his time to developing the current model MIDI EVI and experimenting in the field of science. Over the years,
Steiner has performed on recordings and soundtrack sessions with
the top names in the business including Barbra Streisand
and Neil Diamond and has played on TV themes such as Knott's
Landing and St. Elsewhere. Perhaps most notably, Steiner has
played EVI on numerous large budget movie soundtracks. See the
RECORDINGS section below for a brief list of Steiner's
amazing body of recorded work.
December 8, 2010 - Nyle Steiner releases new CD with keyboardist Richard Souther!
Nyle Steiner has teamed up with the extremely talented keyboardist Richard Souther and they have released a brand new Christmas CD titled "Season Of Joy".
This new CD release features with none other than EWI / EVI inventor Nyle Steiner on EVI. Be sure to check it out and support his efforts. The tracks sound great! Richard Souther plays keyboards and Nyle Steiner is on MIDI EVI.
Richard Souther writes:
"Early in the 1970's, I began exploring the world of electronic music. 'The Steiner Synthacon' was the first synthesizer I ever played and it traveled the globe with me. Fast forward to 2005, my wife & I moved to the Heber Valley in Utah, where we met its inventor, Nyle Steiner. We became friends and started performing together. We never play a song the same way twice. For a couple years we had talked about doing a Christmas project... 2010 we finally put it together."
May 12, 2010 - Nyle Steiner is interviewed and performs on PCTV in Utah!
Nyle Steiner played with keyboardist Richard Souther on Park City TV "Mountain Morning Show" with host Jen Hardman on May 12, 2010.
Nyle and Richard played several selections and Nyle was interviewed and he explained the MIDI EVI.
Nyle also played a dazzling solo piece- JS Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor"- using the additional sequencing memory functions built into his "MEGA MIDI EVI". These features are only in his own personal system and not available to the public- at this time anyway!
After watching the video at the right, be sure to watch the related videos that will show at the bottom of the window. Those are videos of some of the other songs Nyle performed on the show with keyboardist Richard Souther.
March 2008 - Nyle Steiner releases CD with vocalist Beth Lawrence!
EVI / EWI inventor Nyle Steiner has teamed up with vocalist Beth Lawrence to release a brand new CD titled "Flash - A Musical Potpourri" available only at CDbaby.com. It features Nyle Steiner playing EVI with his custom rig (chord pedals
and all), an amazing vocalist named Beth Lawrence, keyboardist
Norman Thalheimer, and Scott Stalnaker. It's an incredible piece of work. Nyle's playing
is simply stunning as always on the EVI wind controller- the instrument he invented- and it is sure to be an inspiration to all
wind controller players. This is a must-have wind controller
CD. You can listen to mp3 preview clips of all the tracks and
order it from the link below. Go there, buy it, and support Nyle's efforts so that we
might have more from him in the future.
Nyle Steiner and Beth Lawrence- "Flash - A Musical Potpourri":
"A Potpourri of music styles, ranging from the classical Bach Toccata to vocal music from the Broadway stage and beyond."
6/30/04 - EVI Is the subject of "Vintage
Gear" column in Keyboard Magazine!
Be sure to check out the July 2004 issue
of Keyboard Magazine. Mark Vail's wonderful "Vintage Gear"
column on page 100 is all about Nyle Steiner's EVI!
5/24/02 - Nyle Improves EWI3000m
The stock model Akai EWI3000 did not have the slight delay programmed to "de-glitch"
the fingering algorithm as found in the other EWI modules. The
lack of this "deglitching delay" allows slightly faster
fingering response but can also mean a LOT more unwanted notes
(glitches) as the fingers change notes- especially when changing
several fingers at once. If you are noticing a lot of glitches
using your EWI3000m, contact Matt
at Patchman Music for a mod to fix
11/7/01 - Nyle Designs a Replacement
Breath Block for the Akai EVI1000
Since factory replacement breath sensors
are no longer available from Akai for the Akai EVI1000, Nyle
Steiner has developed a replacement. Nyle states, "I am
finally figuring out what to do about replacement breath blocks
for the EVI1000. It is now possible to totally replace the mouthpiece,
breath sensor and bite sensor with ones that I can make. I have
had trouble with it because the adjustment pot parameters with
breath and portamento on the EWV2000 module are too narrow to
work with my normal breath sensor and bite sensor. I have finally
figured out how to make a bite sensor that works in the EVI1000
with EWV2000 module. Instead of replacing the breath block, an
aluminum strip can be screwed on the body to hold the new mouthpieces
that I make, and it leaves the back end open so the breath sensor
can fit in. It works really well but I still need to figure how
to cover it. I am thinking of some sort of foam rubber covering
or similar. This mod will require drilling a couple of holes
and some soldering. Doing the above will lengthen the EVI by
about an inch. I tried to keep it the original length for carrying
case considerations but getting things to work electrically was
enough of a challenge that length of the instrument concerns
had to be abandoned. I am going to Barcelona, Spain and Montpellier,
France from Nov 6 thru Nov 27 to perform Maurice Jarre's EVI
In association with Nyle Steiner, Matt Traum at Patchman Music is now able to perform the
mod and can do it without changing the external appearance of
the EVI1000. Matt is also able to build custom breath blocks
for the EVI1000 and install them. Click
here for details.
The Nyle Steiner MIDI EVI Is
In 1998, Nyle Steiner completed and
made available the world's first MIDI EVI! The MIDI EVI is a
totally self-contained, trumpet-style MIDI controller which outputs
MIDI directly from the controller thus eliminating the need for
an additional interface box. This also means it is now possible
to enjoy the wonderful world of wireless
here to get the full report on the
new Nyle Steiner MIDI EVI.
Nyle Steiner EWI to EVI Conversion
For a time in the late 1990s Nyle Steiner
was offering a service of converting several models of EWIs to
an EVI. The converted EVIs can be plugged directly into an Akai
EWI sound module. With the release of the MIDI EVI, he generally
doesn't do this anymore. But for your interest, here
are the original details.
Nyle Performs w/Melissa Manchester
In January 1998, we attended a radio
play called "I Sent A Letter To My Love" starring Melissa
Manchester featuring Nyle Steiner on EVI. Click
here to read all about it and view
some rare photos of Nyle Steiner's EVI gig rig.
Nyle At 1998 Winter NAMM show
We met up with Nyle at the EMU booth
at the 1998 Winter NAMM show in Los Angeles California. He was
playing a prototype of his MIDI EVI connected to an EMU EIV
sampler and was doing some amazing things! Click
here to read all about it.
Nyle Records w/Jarre & BBC Orchestra
In October 1996, Nyle was in London
for a recording session with Maurice Jarre and the BBC orchestra
where they recorded "Concerto for E.V.I." composed
by Maurice Jarre! The 19 minute 51 second concerto was recorded
originally for a radio broadcast and later released on CD in
1997 on Milan Records. Nyle said the piece was the most demanding
thing he has been faced with musically and technically. Nyle
mentioned that he covered 95% of all of the sonic requirements
of the entire piece with a Roland JV-1080! He used a sampler
to cover one unique vocal sound not possible on the JV-1080.
Nyle also has a BOSS Dr. Synth (basically, a repackaged version
of the Sound Canvas) that can be used as a back-up for the JV-1080.
The Milan Records website writes: "World-renowned
film and theater composer Maurice Jarre conducted The BBC Orchestra
in a live performance at the Royal Festival Hall on October 18,
1996. The performance was recorded and was released in 1997 as
"Maurice Jarre at the Royal Festival Hall" on Milan
Records. The performance includes some of Jarre's most popular
works as well as the world premiere of "Concerto for Electronic
Valve Instrument," an original piece for the instrument
invented by Nyle Steiner who performs as the soloist.
On January 17, 1997, Nyle Steiner performed
with the Yamaha Virtual Big Band at the 1997 Winter NAMM show.
Since he has been affiliated for so many years with Akai, Nyle
likens this historic meeting between himself and Yamaha to the
Soviets and the U.S. sharing a space station! Sadly, there has
been no indication of a collaboration on future hardware development
as of this writing. Click
here to check out our full report of
the performance including some great photos.
Nyle Steiner on Velocity and the
Nyle confirms that velocity is not properly
handled in the EWI3020m. The problem has to do with when you
slur notes. As it is in the old OS, if you slur and change breath
pressure, the new notes use the velocity of the first tongued
note. The velocity doesn't change in response to breath pressure
as it is supposed to- and as it does- with the EWI3030m and EWV2000.
With this bug, a note MUST be tongued to send a new velocity.
He went on to say that the original EVI1000 and EWI1000 handle
velocity the best of all the Akai controllers to date.
Addendum: Akai has since released an
updated operating system that fixes this! If this velocity bug
bugs you, contact Patchman Music or Akai to get your EWI3020m
module updated. As an added bonus, this new OS allows you to
send MIDI Expression controller data (CC#11) from the breath
A collection of photos of Nyle Steiner's
Be sure to visit the new EVI Photo Gallery. This is a fun photo collection of musicians playing the EVI. Be sure to send us yours to be included!
amazing prototype EVI likely from the
early 1970s. Note that the basic form of the instrument is exactly
the same (i.e. the canister and left hand index finger key and
thus the associated fingering system) as found on Nyle's later
models. Though small additional improvements have been developed,
Nyle's brilliant vision was quite clear and well thought out
from the start.
a classic photo of Nyle playing an old Steiner-Parker EVI.
picture looks to be from the mid 1970's.
Note the silver finish
on the EVI and the early model Steiner-Parker Synthacon and modular
synth in the background.
Steiner's Masters Touch Photo
A / Photo
B was manufactured by Crumar in Italy
in the early 1980s. It was a remarkably innovative and expressive
piece of gear designed by EVI and EWI inventor Nyle Steiner.
25+ years later, there has not been a product like it since.
The Steiner Masters Touch is an analog voltage controlled filter
with voltage control signals coming from three different sources:
breath, bite, and finger motion (the foam rubber pad on the unit
labeled "TM"- Touch Modulation). You blow into the
mouthpiece which is connected to the unit via two tubes. One
tube is connected to the mouthpiece which in turn has an opening
in half the tip. The other tube is connected to the mouthpiece
but the tip is closed so air does not escape. The open end tube
is connected to a breath pressure transducer. The closed end
tube is connected to a similar transducer but since it is closed
the sensor measures how hard you are biting the mouthpiece. The
built-in Steiner two pole analog filter opens and closes relative
to breath pressure. The filter can oscillate if the resonance
is turned up and the unit is properly calibrated. The Breath
Sensor signal is also output as a 0 to 10VDC voltage for controlling
CV type synths. Also note that the Masters Touch can be used
as a standalone device- without a CV synth connected- with any
audio source fed into its audio input. The "bite" control
outputs a smaller voltage as you bite and wiggle your jaw. With
the Touch Modulation pad, you wiggle or rock your finger
and it outputs just enough voltage for expressive vibrato control
and bend effects. The Masters Touch also outputs trigger voltages
from the breath input (both positive and negative going triggers),
so you can trigger most CV type synth envelopes. It has separate
CV outputs for breath, bite, and the TM sensor. It also has sensitivity
adjustments and four LEDs show breath amount and trigger states.
The Masters Touch was a very innovative piece of gear that still
has not been duplicated.
photos of the original model Steiner-Parker EVI controller are
here and here. This model was marketed around 1974-75 and
it was the first production model EVI offered to the public.
This EVI was a CV synth controller designed for trumpet and brass
players- as opposed to keyboardists- with no synth built-in.
The earliest models as shown here had a switch controlled by
the player's breath which simply turned the gate CV on and off.
Subsequent models incorporated Steiner's proportional breath
transducer which allowed for smooth breath controlled transitions
from full off to full on thus allowing for far more expressive
control of a synthesizer. Early models as shown at right also
had no vibrato sensor or bend sensors. These innovations would
Note the name
"Parker" is no longer on the instrument. Partner Dick
Parker was bought out around this time.
slightly later model EVI is shown here. Note the addition of the portamento switch
near the 3rd valve. This horn also has the vibrato sensor under
the right hand thumb- one of the first models to have this.
here to listen to a short clip of Matt Traum playing this model EVI connected to a Steiner
MicroCon synth box.
fully portable "Salt Lake" model Steiner EVI is self-contained
featuring the EVI controller plus a built-in analog synth- complete
with various control knobs, an audio amplifier, and even a small
speaker in the case for monitoring or practicing! The power supply
is built-in so you just plug the AC cord into the wall and you
are making music. This EVI has extensive signal inputs and output
jacks so it makes for a great controller for older analog gear
that has CV and Trigger capabilities. The Portamento switch was
moved to the left hand canister on this horn to make room for
a "pinky ring". This horn also has a vibrato sensor
for the right hand thumb- another innovation that was added on
all later models. Check out the pictures: PHOTO1 / PHOTO2 / PHOTO3 / PHOTO4 / PHOTO5.
This one is interfaced with a heavily modified JL Cooper Wind
Driver box (modified by Nyle Steiner) to provide MIDI OUT to
control external MIDI synths.
Steiner EVI (EVI, analog synth, and case). Made in Italy by Crumar
in the very early 1980s. Photo
B Another set of photos of the Crumar
EVI (early 1980's). Some units were
interfaced by Nyle Steiner to a JL Cooper MIDI Wind Driver Box
(heavily modded by Steiner) to provide MIDI OUT. Top West coast
EVI player Judd
Miller owned and used several of these
modded Crumar EVIs in his movie soundtrack and studio session
1984-1985, Nyle Steiner designs and produces by hand a very small
number of EVI and EWI "Steinerphones" for top professionals.
The EVI Steinerphone (brass fingering
version) built into a small attache case is the first model he
After several woodwind players ask for
one, he designs an EWI model as well. One of the most famous
players to play it is Michael Brecker. He featured the EWI Steinerphone
on several recordings both solo and with Steps Ahead and others.
Check out the 1986 Steps Ahead "Live In Japan" DVD
(ID5736ERDVD) for some amazing Steinerphone playing!
Some units were interfaced to a JL Cooper
MIDI Wind Driver Box (heavily modded by Steiner) to provide MIDI
OUT capabilities to drive additional MIDI synths.
interesting EWI handmade by Nyle Steiner in 1981(?) built inside
a business attache case.
here to listen to a short clip of Matt Traum playing an early model EVI connected to a Steiner
MicroCon synth box.
1987, Nyle Steiner's EVI and EWI Steinerphones are developed
commercially and marketed by Akai as the Akai EVI1000 and EWI1000
along with their companion EWV2000 analog sound module. This
is the beginning of a long relationship Nyle had with Akai. Akai
went on to develop several more EWI models (the EVI model was
not carried on by Akai past the EVI1000) including the EWI3000
and its EWI3000m module, EWI3020 and the its two modules the
analog EWI3020m and the sample ROM based EWI3030m, and others.
Here is a photo of Nyle's
EVI as first produced by Akai in 1987- The Akai EVI1000 and EWV2000
1998, Nyle Steiner completed and made available the world's first
MIDI EVI! The MIDI EVI is a totally self-contained, trumpet-style
MIDI controller which outputs MIDI directly from the controller
thus eliminating the need for an additional interface box. This
also means it is now possible to enjoy the wonderful world of
MIDI! Visit the Patchman Music MIDI EVI
Homepage for photos and complete info
on the MIDI EVI model from Nyle Steiner.
2004 Nyle Steiner designs the RADically innovative new side-by-side
MIDI EWI- nicknamed the "RAD EWI"- for Michael Brecker
based on the general design of the MIDI EVI.
here for info on the "RAD"
model MIDI EWI, photos, and videos of Michael Brecker playing
the RAD MIDI EWI.
in 2004, Nyle Steiner designs another new MIDI EWI model for
the late great Michael Brecker based on the design of the MIDI
EVI- this one is an "inline" system whereby the hands
are placed on the instrument in the more traditional positions.
2004 Nyle Steiner travels to the Akai headquarters in Japan to
deliver the latest EWI prototype and collaborates with Akai Japan
in developing what is to become the Akai
EWI4000s Electronic Wind Instrument.
here for photos and info on Steiner's
trip to Japan and his involvement with Akai.
Here is a list of some Nyle Steiner
related articles that have been publish over the years...
Magazine. July 2004. Nyle Steiner's EVI is the subject of
Mark Vail's "Vintage Gear" column! The column talks
a bit about the history of the EVI and even quotes the author
of this website (Matt
Traum) who helped with some fact checking
for the article. Article is on page 100.
Magazine. December 2000. Mark Vail's Vintage Gear column
features the Steiner-Parker Synthacon and an interview with Nyle
Steiner. This page was even mentioned in the article!
Magazine. October 1996. There was an eight page article named
"Orchestrated Escape" by Mark Steensland about the
recording of the soundtrack to the movie "Escape From L.A.".
The following is the portion that discusses Nyle Steiner's work
on the soundtrack using his new prototype EVI... "The EVI
maestro, Nyle Steiner. Steiner's breath-controlled Electronic
Valve Instrument- which he designed- was the workhorse for the
expressive elements of the score. On single melody lines and
multipart clusters, the EVI brought a 'human performance' quality
to synth sounds that would have taken significant programming
time to emulate via sequencing. 'Nyle was playing his brand-new
prototype on this project,' beams Walker. 'Akai licensed his
previous version, but this was his own hot-rod version of the
EVI. It's like the difference between an Indy racer and a car
you can buy in a showroom. Steiner had no sequences to rely on
for note information, so his parts had to be notated on sheet
music. He usually had a double-stave part notating the melodies
he played solo as well as the overlapping lines he played when
he had to double what the keyboards were doing. Steiner also
had to adapt his playing style somewhat, reducing his usual vibrato
to match the techno feel that Walker envisioned for the synthesizer
cues. 'I assigned Nyle the majority of the melodies, choirs,
and strange pitchbending types of colors,' says Walker. 'The
Surgeon General of Beverly Hills sequence has an amazing low,
demented cow kind of sound that is quintessential Steiner."
It includes a photo of Nyle holding the new EVI (shown at right).
Magazine. February 5, 1990. A two page article titled "Musicians
Plug Into a New Sound (A New Crop of Electronic Instruments)"
by Eric Felten. Nyle Steiner mentioned in article. Page 48.
Technology Magazine. April 1987. Includes a review of the
Frankfurt Musikmesse. Discusses the release of the EVI1000 and
EWI1000. Includes picture of Nyle Steiner playing the Steinerphone.
Pages 50, 51, and 54.
Technology Magazine. December 1987. An interview with Nyle
Steiner and Sal Gallina (design consultant for the WX7). Four
pages. Also includes a review of the Akai EVI1000 and EWI1000.
4 pages. Click
here to read the interview.
Journal. May/June 1997. "A Virtual Big Band Makes History"
by Bruce Ronkin. About the Yamaha Virtual Big Band Concert at
the 1997 winter NAMM show which Nyle Steiner participated in.
Two pages (p.62-63).
On Sound Magazine. September 1987. "The Search For Expression"
by John L. Walters. An article that includes quotes from Nyle
Apocalypse Now (The Complete Dossier)
(2006) - Vintage footage of Nyle Steiner in the studio recording
this historic soundtrack is included in extra video features!
Black Stallion - Interestingly, Steiner
participated as a composer- not as a session musician. Nyle Steiner
and Shirley Walker improvised live to the film then this recording
was sent to an orchestrator to be replayed by an orchestra.
(Some of the above links are to amazon.com's
site which contain RealAudio clips. In some of the clips you
can hear some of Nyle's EVI work.) For additional Nyle Steiner
recordings, visit All
Music Guide and do an Artist search
for "Nyle Steiner". You may find additional recordings
Listen to these high quality MP3
tracks featuring the genius of Nyle Steiner:
Of The Comedians.mp3 (2.9 megs) Composer:
Bedrick Smetana - Public Domain. The main EVI Trumpet patch is
a sample of Nyle's own trumpet.
Paradox.mp3 (1.3 megs) Composer: Nyle
Steiner. Keep in mind that this free improvisational piece was
recorded in a single pass by a single musician- Nyle Steiner!
Regarding this track, Nyle writes... "I have several different
methods of making chords. On Benevolent Paradox, I used one of
those methods. I had five pedals each with its own preprogrammed
chord. Whenever I push a pedal, a given chord will play along
with the note I am playing. I simply pushed different pedals
as I played. I was also able to push combinations of more than
one pedal at a time. I probably used about a dozen different
chords. It is hard to remember exactly what I did for the sound.
I used a combination of my own sampled trumpet from a Roland
S750 and some other brass sounds from additional sound modules.
I don't remember for sure what modules were used to make the
additional brass sounds. It was probably a Korg M1 or a JV-1080.
This feature is part of an additional microprocessor system that
I have developed to use with the EVI. I have not produced any
of these systems for anyone yet." (5/9/2000)