TAMPA, Fla. (May 6, 2010) – The University of South Florida has made the commitment to become an All-Steinway School, which means that from practice rooms to recital halls throughout USF’s College of The Arts (CoTA) only Steinway & Sons-designed pianos will be in use.
“There is no question that having Steinway pianos on which our students can practice and perform will raise the level of their performances,” said USF School of Music Professor of Piano Averill Summer.“Having Steinways in our studios, practice rooms, and concert halls will benefit the level of teaching, and level of playing, and the enjoyment of the listeners.”
USF’s School of Musiccurrently owns 18 Steinway pianos, but with the help of private funding, the hope is to purchase approximately 130 pianos.
“Steinways are crafted with the utmost detail and care; 12,000 hand-crafted parts make up a Steinway piano, which takes approximately one year to complete,” said Ashleigh Gallant, CoTA director of communications and marketing.
Steinway stands on a 157-year history of crafting pianos that are used by nine out of ten concert artists and innumerable pianists, composers and performers. USF joins a prestigious list of conservatories, colleges, universities and other institutions that have committed to use only the best pianos including The Juilliard School and Yale School of Music, as well as George Mason University and the University of London.
The College of The Arts School of Music is home to one of the area’s top piano competitions and hosts an annual Steinway Piano Serieswhich features some of the world’s top pianists. Winners of the annual Robert Helps Piano Competitiontake home a $10,000 prize each year, and the competition features original compositions for chamber ensembles, which includes piano compositions. This year’s winner, Jonathan Howard Katz, premiered the prize-winning piece for voice and piano, Talking of Michelangelo, at the festival.
Students in the Piano Program come from throughout the United States, as well as Russia, England, Venezuela, Croatia, Finland, Bulgaria, Brazil, China, Canada, Jordan, Greece, China, Poland, Japan, Jamaica, Taiwan, Ukraine, and South Korea and have won prizes in local, regional and international competitions. Piano is an integral part of the chamber music and jazz programs.
“As a student, I would have gained even more benefit had the practice room facilities matched the quality of the teaching. Now as a faculty member myself, I hear the same thoughts from my own students,” said USF alumna and now faculty member Dharshini Tambiah.“Our piano students practice for many hours per day, and having a really beautiful-sounding, responsive instrument on which to try out what they have learnt during lessons will benefit them immeasurably.
“Through this Steinway initiative, our students will have access to instruments of the highest quality, not just in the concert spaces, but in the practice rooms too, and I am so pleased that the pianists here will have the opportunity to work with these world-class instruments,” she said.
At a recent tour of the factory with Steinway & Sons President of the Americas Ron Losby, USF President Judy Genshaft remarked, “This is a phenomenal gift to any student that will be at the University of South Florida. Whenever you buy a Steinway, you are buying something for a lifetime, even longer than a lifetime.”
Losby agreed, “They endure aesthetically, they endure musically and financially for generations. That’s why I’ve often said they are the least expensive piano to purchase over time because they do endure for a very long period of time because of the way they are manufactured.”
USF’s state-of-the-art music facility is slated to open Spring of 2011 and will consist of 104,000 square feet of space including a 500-seat concert hall, a student recital hall, three rehearsal rooms, several classrooms and practice rooms, as well as an electronic piano lab and a composition lab. To follow the progress visit: http://music.arts.usf.edu.
The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.