Western to Celebrate Historic All-Steinway Status
Contact: Kent Heier
Title: Assistant PR/Marketing Director
WESTERN TO CELEBRATE HISTORIC ALL-STEINWAY STATUS
St. Joseph, Mo. - Jan. 27, 2010 - The department of music at Missouri Western State University will celebrate becoming an All-Steinway School with a free event starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 in the Potter Hall Theater. The evening will include a documentary film showing, formal announcement of Westerns All-Steinway status, a reception and a recital by guest pianist Robert McDonald.
''All-Steinway status reflects our commitment to quality,'' said Dr. Matt Gilmour, professor of music and chair of the department. ''Our students and faculty are now able to practice, teach and perform on the finest pianos in the world. We invite the whole community to help us celebrate this historic occasion.''
Western is the third university in Missouri to become an All-Steinway School, along with the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg and Lindenwood University in St. Charles. All-Steinway School designation requires that 90 percent or more of Westerns acoustic pianos, whether for practice, instruction or performance, be designed by Steinway & Sons. There are 109 All-Steinway Schools around the world, according to the companys Website, including distinguished conservatories like The Juilliard School in New York, the Yale School of Music and the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.
The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a showing of ''Note By Note,''a feature-length independent documentary that follows the creation of a Steinway concert grand - #L1037 - from forest floor to concert hall. It explores the relationship between musician and instrument, chronicles the manufacturing process and illustrates what makes each Steinway unique in this age of mass production. Each pianos journey is complex - spanning 12 months, 12,000 parts, 450 craftsmen and countless hours of fine-tuned labor.
''The film will help people appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into the making of a Steinway,'' said Dr. Matthew Edwards, associate professor and director of keyboard studies. ''The care taken in building the piano in 'Note by Note' is the same care that was taken in building the instruments that our students will be learning on and performing on.''
At the conclusion of the film, the star of the show - concert grand #L1037, on loan from Steinway & Sons - will be unveiled on the Potter Hall Stage, to be played by McDonald during his recital later in the evening.
At approximately 7 p.m., the celebration will continue with a formal announcement of Western's All-Steinway status. The announcement will be followed by a brief reception, and then the recital by McDonald will begin at 8 p.m.
McDonald, pianist and faculty member at New York City's Juilliard School, has played extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. He has appeared with major orchestras in the United States and Latin America, and was the recital partner for many years to Isaac Stern and other celebrated instrumentalists. McDonald has also performed with the Takcs, Vermeer, Juilliard, Brentano, Borromeo, American and Shanghai string quartets, and in tours with Music from Marlboro. Among many awards, prizes, and grants, he has won the Gold Medal at the Busoni International Piano Competition in Italy, and the top prizes at the William Kapell International Competition, the Washington International Competition and the Deutsche Schallplatten Critics Award. McDonald is also the recipient of the National Federation of Music Clubs Artist Award and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. His discography includes recordings for Sony Classical, Bridge, Vox Musical Heritage Society, ASV and CRI. He has studied with Theodore Rehl, Seymour Lipkin, Rudolf Serkin, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Beveridge Webster and Gary Graffman, and holds degrees from Lawrence University, The Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music. A member of the piano faculty at the Juilliard School in New York since 1999, McDonald joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2007 where he holds the Penelope P. Watkins Chair in Piano Studies. For the past 29 years, he has been on faculty at the Taos School of Music, where he is also the artistic director.
The university's Board of Governors approved the lease-purchase of 13 new pianos. The package from Schmitt Music of Overland Park, Kan., includes five Steinway grand pianos, one Boston grand piano and seven Essex upright pianos. The Boston and Essex pianos are designed by Steinway & Sons.
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.