As seen in the Spring 2013 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.
Reflecting on a century of achievement in the Piano Area, a group of visionaries at the University of Utah wanted to insure endless success for what has grown to become the single largest program in the School of Music. So they decided to celebrate in the finest fashion, adding 49 new pianos by Steinway & Sons.
“This acquisition in our centennial year affirms the administration’s and faculty’s commitment to provide a stellar educational experience for our students,” said Dean Raymond Tymas-Jones of the College of Fine Arts, noting an amazing relationship began when the university became an All-Steinway school in 2001 through a magnanimous gift of 55 pianos from Bruce W. Bastian. Today, the University of Utah boasts one of the largest inventories of Steinway and Steinway-Designed instruments in the country.
“Our students come from major schools of music to study with us, and our undergraduates have been accepted into some of the most prestigious graduate programs in the country,” added Dr. Susan Duehlmeier, Piano Area Chair and one of seven Steinway Artists at the school. “We are looking forward to experiencing the dynamic impact that these additional instruments will afford to us on so many different levels.”
The Piano Area prepares students for professional careers in solo, chamber and collaborative performance, accompaniment and teaching. With the new pianos and addition of a DMA degree, enrollment in graduate programs has tripled, according to Dr. Duehlmeier.
She explained that faculty members wanted their students to train on the instruments they would most likely use in various competitions and performances.
“It was just as important that our concert instruments provide a refined and responsive sound not only for students and faculty, but for guest artists and community patrons who support us.”
Citing high quality of the pianos, many of those guest artists who have performed over the years express interest in returning, she said.
Student reaction to receiving the initial shipment is best summed up by Xiaoyang Zhou, who proclaimed her enthusiasm with this post on social media: “Because of the new piano, I will get up very early tomorrow morning. . .Excited!”
University President David Pershing, vice presidents Fred Esplin and Michael Hardman, Dean Raymond Tymas-Jones, School of Music Director James Gardner and Skip Daynes, owner of Daynes Music, all played essential roles in the centennial campaign.
With support of President Pershing and Interim senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Hardman, “it was imperative that the University of Utah, as the flagship institution of the state of Utah, continues to enjoy the designation as an All-Steinway School in the Intermountain West,” said Dean Tymas-Jones, who designated 2013 the Year of the Piano.
Most of the new instruments will be used in faculty offices, concert spaces and practice rooms, while others are assigned to the Theater Department. Hospitals in the university system also have Steinway grand pianos in their lobbies, providing live music for patients and patrons.
Serving the greater Salt Lake community since 2000 are the crimson-clad Ladies in Red, an altruistic assembly of university students who volunteer their time and talents to advance the study of music at inner-city schools.
“Our school color is crimson, so it was only natural that they adopt red as their designated color,” said Dr. Duehlmeier. “We are so very proud of their efforts. Like our wonderful new pianos, they help to inspire and bring out the very best in each and every one of us.”