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Going All-Steinway: Shepherd University School of Music unveils new pianos

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Dec 11, 2020

From left, SU School of Music Coordinator of Keyboard Studies Yu-Hsuan Liao, SU Provost Scott Beard and Scarborough Library Dean Laura Renninger perform a piano trio rendition of Georg Friedrich Handel's "The Hallelujah Chorus," during the School of Music's Steinway Piano Reveal on Sunday afternoon. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — On Sunday afternoon, the Shepherd University School of Music held a virtual celebration on Youtube to reveal the newest additions to its collection of Steinway pianos. The two Steinway-designed Boston UP-126 Performance Edition pianos and Steinway Model B Classic Grand Piano were donated by Dr. and Mrs. Erdem I. Ergin, The President’s Club and Shepherd University Foundation, respectively.

By gaining three new Steinway pianos, the university is well on its way to achieving the coveted status of being an All-Steinway School — a goal the School of Music has been pursuing since Oct. 2017.

“The All-Steinway Campaign is an opportunity for the School of Music to make a longterm investment into the education of current and future students,” said School of Music Director Kurtis Adams. “The piano is the cornerstone of the music program. Each student interacts with pianos every day, they cultivate their own piano skills, perform with collaborators and instructors use the pianos in classes and rehearsals. The piano is an essential tool in their musical development.”

To become an All-Steinway School, at least 90 percent of School of Music’s pianos must be made by Steinway. Although having to raise donations for 28 new Steinway pianos has not been an easy task, it’s worth it for the benefit the pianos will have on the school’s students, according to Adams.

“Shepherd University School of Music’s mission is to inspire student growth creatively, artistically and professionally, by providing a climate conducive to the development of the comprehensive musician,” said Music Operations Manager Esperanza Alzona. “In keeping with that mission, Shepherd University aspires to provide its students with the finest pianos in the industry, made by Steinway & Sons. Achieving an All-Steinway School designation will benefit aspiring student musicians, the reputation of the School of Music and the community as a whole.”

According to Alzona, the donations will be enjoyed by the Shepherd University community for years to come.

“Each Steinway piano is expected to be used for 60 to 100 years,” Alzona said. “The donation of a Steinway piano is a long-lasting gift that benefits thousands of individuals for generations to come.”

During the Steinway Piano Reveal, broadcast from the Frank Arts Center, the pianos were used by Shepherd University School of Music faculty and students to perform a variety of classical piano solos, duets and trios. Among the pianists was SU Provost Scott Beard, who has also personally donated to the campaign.

“As a donor, I’m thrilled to be part of this transformational campaign here at Shepherd University and the School of Music,” Beard said. “You know, as a pianist, as a Steinway owner, I know that great pianos, quality instruments like Steinway, are the backbone of any school of music. So I hope that you’ll join us, as we work together for these wonderful pianos to have an impact on the training of the next generation of musicians, of artists, of innovators and educators.”

To learn more about how you can support the All-Steinway Campaign, contact Sherri Janelle, Shepherd University Foundation, at 304-876-5043 or sjanelle@shepherd.edu. To donate to the campaign online, visit https://www.shepherd.edu/steinway/.