IPFW will mark an addition to its music program Saturday as it celebrates a new Steinway concert grand piano with a program of performances by faculty, students and guests.
For concert performances, the new piano has “a spectrum and delicacy of sound that allows for a performer and a listener to better follow and fulfill their imagination and reach where they want to go,” says Hamilton Tescarollo, director of keyboard studies.
Tescarollo went to New York himself in February to pick out the 9-foot, American-made instrument.
“This piano was top on the list for our music department,” he says. The project was announced last fall, and the Student Government Association, Auer Foundation and other donors rallied so quickly, the department was able to get the piano on campus to be used for events last school year.
With more than 12,000 working parts and years of performances ahead, wear and tear is inevitable. To keep it in pristine working order, Tescarollo says it will be used only for recitals, students in classes and major performances.
Another Steinway piano, bought in 1982, has recently been rebuilt and returned to the IPFW campus.
The name Steinway alone could draw piano enthusiasts and performers from near and far, Tescarollo says.
“I would love to have this – in a long-term picture of the department – grow to become an organization with draw like The Gilmore (piano festival and camps) in Michigan, to where we generate our own piano culture, not only for Fort Wayne but for the surrounding area as well,” he says.
IPFW has had a taste of budding piano culture in its Piano Camp summer event. Pre-college players from around the Midwest landed on campus and experienced the new Steinway for themselves.
This weekend’s event could help expose wider audiences to that piano culture, especially ones unfamiliar with the capabilities of such an instrument.
“The music happens first in your head,” Tescarollo says. “I tell my students to think of the piano as an orchestra beneath their fingers – and you really can create a lot out of a piano like ours.”
The music department has a freshman class of 60 students this year, and the arrival of the second Steinway might increase the department’s possibilities for growth by increasing the program’s profile.
Guest pianists for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic have commented on its quality, according to Gregory Jones, chair of the IPFW Department of Music. The brand is “synonymous with the highest quality in pianos and has been for decades,” he says via email.
He believes the presence of the Steinway at IPFW can have a lasting effect on the university’s music program for students and audiences.
“Great pianos are central to all that we do in music, as they serve as solo instruments as well as instruments that accompany others and engage in chamber music,” he says. “(The) next generation of performers and listeners will have high-quality arts experiences that are stimulators of great emotion and remind us of the amazing beauty and expression in this world.”