School of Music works to gain All-Steinway status in next few years

Bo Gemmell

The Hugh A. Glauser School of Music expects all of its students to benefit from a common tool: the piano.

The School of Music initiated the “Keys to Musical Excellence” campaign in February 2007.

The campaign focuses on achieving the All-Steinway status for the School of Music.

According to the Steinway’s Web site, the pianos owned by All-Steinway schools are designed by Steinway & Sons.

Bryan Finegan, senior executive vice president of Steinway Hall Akron, compared Steinway pianos to snowflakes. No two custom-made Steinways are alike, he said, and they carry a reputation for their “touch and tone.”

Josef Knott, the director of the School of Music, said the first Steinway went to Room E112, “the most utilized room in the School of Music.”

Jerry Wong, assistant professor of piano studies, said his students are fond of the new pianos and “very enthusiastic of having Steinways around.”

“Steinway is the most recognized piano on the concert stage. The quality of the manufacturing is superb and the sounds that the Steinway can produce for the pianist are extremely varied and may be more distinct than any other instrument.”

Wong said he has a Steinway in his home and one in his office.

Wong, however, isn’t the company’s only fan.

“Ninety-eight percent of the world’s finest concert artists prefer Steinway,” Finegan said.

Knott said only about 50 schools in the world carry the All-Steinway recognition. Steinway’s Web site lists three All-Steinway colleges in Ohio: Bluffton University, College of Mt. St. Joseph and Youngstown State University.

The department decided to strive for All-Steinway Status due to its impact on students, Knott said.

“One instrument that every student and faculty member comes in contact with is the piano,” he said.

“It’s like the toothbrush,” he added jokingly. “Everyone has to use it.”

Some institutions raise money for all the pianos before purchasing, Knott said, but the department chose to buy each piano as funds became available.

Knott said about one-third of the school’s pianos carry the Steinway name, and it’s working to acquire more. Steinway pianos already fill practice and class rooms, and now the school is adding Steinway pianos to faculty rooms.

Knott said he thinks the school will meet the requirements for All-Steinway recognition in about three years.

According to Finegan, Steinway grand pianos start at $42,000 and carry a 100-year guarantee.

Donations from Kent State’s Provost’s Office, the Kent State University Foundation and Mel Mellis, president of the foundation, helped fund the purchases.

“We’re on our way to achieving (All-Steinway status) but still working on fundraising,” Wong said. “We’re all very excited and upbeat about the project.

Contact performing arts reporter Bo Gemmell at [email protected].