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Civil War-Era Piano on Display Near USF Concert Hall

The USF School of Music in the College of The Arts is now home to a rare 1861 Steinway piano. It was donated by Raxit Shah, founder of the Liberty Group, which specializes in commercial real estate investment.

“My family has been the owner and caretaker of this unique Steinway piano for the past four decades,” said Shah. “Our children have taken lessons on it and it has been the background to countless special moments in our home over this time. It is appropriate now to gift this history to the University of South Florida School of Music, so that others in our community may create future memories alongside us.”

The ornate grand piano is stamped in gold lettering “Steinway & Sons” with the patented date of 1859 in New York. It’s in good company as USF, which was designated an “All Steinway School” in 2011, just one of 150 institutions nationwide.

“This is a great piece of history to add to our wonderful collection of Steinways of all models,including from the factory in Hamburg, Germany,” says Svetozar Ivanov, professor of chamber and piano music in the USF College of The Arts.“Even though this piano won’t be played due to its extreme age, it’s very inspiring to have it in our collection as a museum piece and we are very grateful to the donor, Mr. Shah, for making this possible. As an All Steinway School, it is a great symbol of the company’s distinguished past.”

The College of The Arts also hosts the Steinway Piano Series, a distinguished event in its 10thseason that brings together premier international pianists to perform in the university’s acoustically rich Barness Hall and the larger Concert Hall.

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