The Canadian singer-songwriter turned opera composer gets his hands on some fine pianos.

Classically-minded singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright has been chosen as the newest ambassador for Steinway pianos.

In representing the prestigious German/American piano company, he joins a host of music luminaries past and present, including Lang Lang, Billy JoelDiana Krall, Irving BerlinCole Porter and Sergei Rachmaninov.

Wainwright says he has a personal connection with and profound reminiscences of the instrument. “I grew up playing my grandmother’s hundred-year-old Steinway,” he recalls. “That instrument is still the spiritual centre of our family’s musical legacy.”

The announcement coincides with the release of Wainwright’s new album, Out of the Game.

Hailed by Elton John as “the greatest songwriter on the planet”, Wainwright ventured into classical territory in a big way when he composed the French-language opera Prima Donna, originally commissioned by the New York Metropolitan but rejected on the grounds of its foreign language libretto. Wainwright finally saw the work come full circle when New York City Opera gave the US premiere in February this year.