School of Music seeks pianos

Sara Petersen

Steinway & Sons pianos are the only pianos in the world today that are made completely by hand.

“Nothing is done on an assembly line or mass produced,” said Denise Seachrist, interim director of the School of Music.

The Hugh A. Glauser School of Music started its campaign February 2007 to become an all-Steinway school. They’re about halfway toward their mark but still need 19 pianos, which will cost about $700,000, Seachrist said.


* 2 Steinway Model O – $62,300 each

* 6 Steinway Model M – $55,300 each

* 5 Boston GP-156 – $18,500 each

* 1 Boston GP-178 – $25,500 each

* 5 Boston UP-126E – $12,800 each

It takes a year to build a grand piano.

“Each instrument is really handcrafted,” Seachrist said. “That’s why they’re expensive. That’s why their quality is so outstanding.”

Assistant piano professor Jerry Wong said Steinway pianos are considered the best manufacturer of pianos. To have only Steinways would give the School of Music real distinction.

“For us to become an all-Steinway school really sits in with the precedents . of the whole ‘Excellence in Action’ campaign,” Seachrist said. “In the piano world . nothing is more excellent than the name Steinway.”

Steinway allows the school to trade in pianos, which reduces the cost. Two campaigns are currently in motion allowing people to give donations toward the cause.

The Hit the Right Chord campaign allows donors to give from $100 to $25,000. Another campaign enables people to “buy a key” for $1, an octave for $10 and two octaves for $20.

“My belief is, particularly in these economic times, that people want to give but . they can’t, but still they want to support,” Seachrist said. “If we’re asking people to give $100 as a minimum, that might make them feel, ‘Well, I can’t give a 100, so I won’t give any.'”

Development Officer Shawn Gordon said in an e-mail that piano faculty and piano students will perform a series of in-house concerts.

“The objective of the recital will be, of course, to continue to raise funds to support the school’s effort to become an all-Steinway School,” she said.

These in-house concerts will be in different homes in front of a small group of invited guests.

The school recently purchased nine new pianos, which were delivered over winter break. In an e-mail, Richard Jeric, sophomore piano performance major, said the new Steinways are “absolutely fantastic.”

“They need to be broken in still, but the musical potential of these new instruments is obvious,” Jeric said. “It won’t take much to really let these pianos open up and make great music.”

The faculty also believe the Steinway pianos are superior instruments.

“A Steinway piano offers an incredibly wide range of contrasts and colors,” Wong said. “It also has the capacity to produce a beautiful, singing tone.”

The School of Music is really excited to become an all-Steinway school, Seachrist said.

“It’s not just something that we’re doing for our piano students,” Seachrist said. “Having Steinway instruments raises the level for everybody.”

Contact performing arts reporter Sara Petersen at [email protected].