60 Steinway pianos finally purchased by The School of Music


Photo by Nikolas Kolenich.

Brooke Bower

The Hugh A. Glauser School of Music’s All-Steinway Campaign is in the final stretch of its five-year movement to purchase 60 Steinway pianos and claim a title that fewer than 120 other schools hold worldwide.

“Achieving all Steinway has impacted the students because they are performing with the highest quality of instrument,” said Denise Seachrist, director of the School of Music. “This will also help the university because it ties into the excellence program, and Steinway will help advertise that we are one of 120 schools with all Steinway.”

Seachrist said the campaign started in 2007, a year before she became director. The school has since raised $1.7 million through fundraising and donations to purchase 47 handcrafted Steinway pianos. Steinway has helped the school by allowing them to trade in older models and instruments. The school needs $330,000 to purchase the remaining 13 pianos.

“I would like to finish this campaign this semester and over the summer so we can move on to other things for the school,” Seachrist said.

In order to raise the money for the remaining 13 upright and grand pianos, the school will continue to fundraise and ask for contributions. She said the school recently made a commercial with Rodriquez Sherman, a Kent State basketball senior guard, and Kimberly Davis, a graduate student in piano performance. The commercial compares Sherman’s need for the best basketball equipment to Davis and the School of Music’s need for the highest-quality pianos.

“We have a new commercial that will help get people’s attention,” Seachrist said. “I hope they see how close we are and will help us finish it.”

Some of the fundraising the school has used is home concerts at individual’s homes, chamber recitals, mailers and by word of mouth. One concert took place at a country club where donors watched Kent faculty and students perform and were invited to a brunch afterward. Steinway Artists-in-Residence Donna Lee and Jerry Wong performed along with some students including Jennifer Hasting, a graduate student in piano performance.

All-Steinway Campaign promotional video

“It was a really nice and exciting experience,” Hasting said. “Everyone there was an important person. I felt the excitement from them to hear us play on these really great instruments.”

Hasting, who had just been practicing on one of the new Steinways, said she feels Steinway pianos are the best instruments. She said she would definitely be buying her own Steinway and that she will never buy anything else.

“Other pianos can’t even compare to the quality of instrument Steinway is,” Hasting said. “Even as they get older they still maintain their quality. They have great sound overall and tone is extremely superior to other companies.”

The president of the American branch of Steinway & Sons, Ronald Losby, recently visited Kent State and was treated to a performance by some students and Lee. Seachrist said Steinway has never sent a representative to a school that isn’t already all Steinway, but that this shows the commitment to becoming all Steinway, and how close the school is to accomplishing such prestigious recognition.

“It would be great if we could find one donor to write us a check for the rest,” Seachrist said. “It would also be great to get $10 here or $20 there so people can feel the excitement of being part of it.”


Watch the new campaign video


Contact Brooke Bower at [email protected].