Western to Become 'All-Steinway' School
Contact: Kent Heier
Title: Assistant PR/Marketing Director
WESTERN TO BECOME ‘ALL-STEINWAY’ SCHOOL
St. Joseph, Mo. —Nov. 19, 2009—Missouri Western State University will become just the third All-Steinway School in the state, after the university’s Board of Governors approved the lease-purchase of 13 new pianos. The package from Schmitt Music of Overland Park, Kan., also includes an electronic piano lab. The total cost is $365,587.20.
“You can’t go wrong buying a Steinway,” said Dr. Matt Gilmour, professor and chair of the department of music. “It’s a lifetime investment. Our students will practice and perform on the best instruments in the world.”
All-Steinway School designation requires that 90 percent or more of Western’s acoustic pianos, whether for practice, instruction or performance, be designed by Steinway & Sons. There are 108 All-Steinway Schools around the world, according to the company’s Web site, including distinguished conservatories like The Juilliard School in New York, the Yale School of Music and the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. In Missouri, only the University of Central Missouri and Lindenwood College have that distinction.
The new pianos will be a tremendous help in recruiting music students, said Dr. Matthew Edwards, associate professor and director of keyboard studies.
“Every one of the piano students we’ve told about this has caught their breath,” said Dr. Edwards. “A Steinway is the best there is, there’s no other way to put it, and whether they’re alone in a practice room or in a crowded concert hall, students will be able to hear every nuance of their performance.”
The decision to pursue All-Steinway School designation arose out of discussions about the current pianos, which are aging and in need of maintenance and repair, Dr. Edwards said. The department wouldn’t be able to rebuild more than one or two pianos a year, so the opportunity to lease-purchase the Steinways and get all new pianos at a deep discount while spreading the cost over ten years was the best option, according to Dr. Gilmour.
The lease-purchase agreement includes five Steinway grand pianos, one Boston grand piano and seven Essex upright pianos. The Boston and Essex pianos are designed by Steinway & Sons. The Yamaha Clavinova piano lab features 16 student keyboards and one teacher module.
The money will come from course fees on music courses ranging from $25 to $100 a semester. Music students were supportive of the fees, which will also pay for other equipment needs in the department, Dr. Gilmour said.
Dr. Edwards and Dr. Nathanael May, assistant professor of music, will travel to New York soon to personally select the pianos.
Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit www.missouriwestern.edu.