Clemson University has earned the All-Steinway School designation from Steinway & Sons, made possible by generous philanthropy by alumni.
“The designation of All-Steinway School is a very special accolade reserved only for those institutions committed to providing the world’s finest pianos to their students, faculty, and visiting artists,” said Gavin English, President of Steinway & Sons – Americas. “Clemson now joins the ranks of only around 250 schools worldwide with this level of passion for quality. We are proud to congratulate the entire university community and to welcome them to the All-Steinway School roster.”
“It’s a major moment for Clemson to become an All-Steinway school,” said Nicholas Vazsonyi, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “It reflects that Clemson wants to be a great university in every respect, and the performing arts are part of that profile. The piano and pianists lie at the heart of any great music program. So, to have the very best pianos communicates loud and clear that we are striving to be outstanding in this area.”
The pianos will be housed in the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, home to Clemson’s Department of Performing Arts, whose Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts degree offers concentrations in music, theater and audio technology.
“Steinway represents the highest quality in pianos,” said Linda Li-Bleuel, professor of keyboarding at Clemson. “It’s important for students to know the best type of sound they can get, because if they don’t have an idea—if they’re playing a poor-quality instrument—they’re never going to know how they’re supposed to sound.”
The collection of Steinway & Sons pianos in the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts includes three instruments that feature Spirio Player Piano technology, which reproduces performances with absolute precision. The Spirio technology allows students to listen to reproductions of great musicians with the fidelity of a live performance and gives them the opportunity to play back their own performances to analyze and improve.
“It will also help with distance learning and distance rehearsals,” Li-Bleuel noted.
The instruments will also support the Brooks Center as a musical venue for visiting musicians. Its 979-seat proscenium auditorium hosts performing artists every year from around the world as part of its Boni Belle Brooks Series, Lillian and Robert Utsey Chamber Music Series and Eskridge Tri-Art Series.
“This is an opportunity for both students and professionals. Whenever they touch a piano at Clemson University, they’re going to obtain the best quality sound possible for whatever style they choose,” Li-Bleuel said.
The pianos will also support the more than 1,000 students from across the University who participate in musical groups, ranging from Tiger Band to Clemson Choirs to jazz ensembles, enriching the Clemson Experience for musically talented students of all majors.
In April 2023, Clemson’s Department of Performing Arts announced the beginning of its “Pathway to Steinway,” which was ignited by a gift from Kaye and Bob Stanzione. Their generosity combined Kaye’s passion for the piano with their continued legacy of support for Clemson. During the summer of 2023, the Stanziones had the opportunity to visit the Steinway & Sons factory in New York to watch the assembly process.
“It’s a dream come true,” Kaye said. Bob, whose background is in mechanical engineering, described the production process as a “marvel.”
“Clemson is a first-class university, a great university with great talent in its music programs,” he said. “Great talent deserves great equipment.”
The All-Steinway School designation is also creating new opportunities for friends of Clemson performing arts to give and earn recognition for their support of instrument maintenance, scholarships and more. For more information about supporting performing arts at Clemson, contact Amy Vogelgesang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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