A generous gift from Kaye and Bob Stanzione ’69 has set Clemson University’s Department of Performing Arts on the path toward earning the coveted “All-Steinway School” designation.
“Two things motivated us: our love for Clemson and Kaye’s love for music,” Bob Stanzione said.
The Stanziones’ gift was announced at the “Pathway to Steinway” concert at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts on April 6. The “All-Steinway School” designation requires 90 percent of an institution’s pianos to be Steinways. Clemson’s designation as a Steinway school is pending the arrival of the pianos purchased with the gift and final inspection by Steinway representatives.
“The reputation that comes with being an All-Steinway School is unsurpassed,” said Professor Linda Li-Bleuel, who teaches piano performance at Clemson. “I believe having the students regularly performing and playing on Steinways will be transformative for the department. The piano is perhaps the one instrument that is used every single day—the quality of the piano will affect all music students and instruction.”
“The name Steinway is synonymous with quality and prestige,” added Professor Linda Dzuris, chair of the Department of Performing Arts. “Our faculty is outstanding, and now our pianos will be as well.”
The gift reflects Kaye Stanzione’s passion for the piano, which began when her parents signed her up for lessons in the third grade. She earned a piano performance degree in college and worked as a music educator after graduation.
“Music enhances life. It’s sort of the language of the soul, and it makes such a difference to have it in your life,” she said.
The Stanziones’ gift to Performing Arts also reflects their holistic dedication to Clemson excellence in all areas. Their support for Clemson includes a substantial donation to the ClemsonLIFE program as well as an Academic Cornerstone gift to the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. They also serve as ambassadors for the Clemson University Foundation’s Order of the Oak.
In fact, it was during a luncheon for the Order of the Oak ambassadors to learn more about the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, that the couple was inspired to give. Students performed for the ambassadors at the Brooks Center, and “that really got the fire burning,” Bob said.
“When I mentioned the idea of an ‘All-Steinway’ designation, it was just one among many distant dreams I shared with the Order of the Oak about our College. I had no inkling that, just six months later, it would be on track to become real,” said Nicholas Vazsonyi, Dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. “I don’t have words to express my gratitude to the Stanziones. This is truly a game-changer for the music program and for Clemson’s reputation as a comprehensive University.”
Among the pianos that Clemson will add to its collection are three Spirio high-resolution player pianos, which allow artists to capture and playback live performances.
“The Spirio technology will enable students to record themselves in a completely live setting, and it will transform the way they hear themselves,” Li-Bleuel said. “The technology can also assist piano students in collaborative situations with students within Clemson and at other institutions.”
The Stanziones’ gift is only the beginning of Clemson’s “Pathway to Steinway.” Opportunities are available for donors to support Performing Arts scholarships, a Steinway artist series, and a preservation and enhancement fund. Supporters can donate online directly to the Department of Performing Arts Annual Fund, and for other inquiries about support opportunities, they can contact Amy Vogelgesang, Director of Development, at 847-529-5714.
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