Due to the vision of generous donors and FSU leadership, we were able to purchase two new Steinway Model D concert grand pianos—one for Ruby Diamond Concert Hall and one for Opperman Music Hall. On Sunday, January 21, 2018, during the annual Afternoon of Musical Delight recital for members of the University Musical Associates, the College of Music unveiled its recently purchased Steinway Model D concert grand piano, an artistic and musical treasure that will grace the stage of Ruby Diamond Concert Hall for years to come. Distinguished faculty pianists Stijn De Cock, Read Gainsford, Ian Hobson, David Kalhous, and Heidi Louise Williams presented “The Soul of the Piano,” a unique recital featuring music for one and two pianists composed by Domenico Scarlatti, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Alexander Scriabin, and György Kurtág.
Watch the entire faculty recital here.
The new Ruby Diamond Steinway was also featured on a concert with the University Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, February 3, 2018. Faculty pianist Ian Hobson joined Dr. Alexander Jimenez and the USO in a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488. Composed by Mozart in 1786, at the height of his popularity with the musical public in Vienna, the Piano Concerto No. 23 helped to establish the piano concerto as one of the most important and serious genres of classical music for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Watch Ian Hobson’s performance with the USO here.
The new Model D concert grand piano, which is about 9’ long, with a high gloss ebony finish and weighing around 1000 lbs., is one of two identical Steinway pianos acquired from the Steinway factory piano selection room in Hamburg, Germany. The twin to the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall’s new Model D resides in Opperman Music Hall, the College of Music’s second largest concert hall, which also hosts many performances by College of Music ensembles, guest artists, and community arts organizations.
“Purchase of these long-anticipated instruments was made possible by funds from the Office of the Provost, the College of Music, and private funds earmarked for Ruby Diamond Concert Hall,” Dr. Patricia Flowers, Dean of the College of Music, said. “I believe it was a worthy investment befitting FSU’s nationally recognized music program and the guests who use our halls. These concert grand pianos will be with us for many years to come.”
Selecting new instruments of this quality is a painstaking process, particularly given their cost and the length of time they must serve their institutions. During October 2017, Dean Flowers and a number of the College of Music’s piano faculty traveled to Hamburg to play and explore the unique characteristics of seven different Hamburg Steinway Model D concert grand pianos. Steinway & Sons handcrafts instruments, considered to be the finest pianos available in the world today, in factories in New York and Hamburg. “We were graciously welcomed to the Steinway showroom where the selection process took place over two days,” Dean Flowers recalls. “Our pianists played the available pianos many times, assessing subtle differences in sound, touch, and tone color of each instrument. I am excited for Tallahassee audiences to see and hear the beautiful instruments that were chosen for our halls.”
In addition to their use as concert instruments for faculty and guest pianists, the College of Music’s new Hamburg Steinways are proving invaluable to students in the College’s premier Piano Technology Program, who benefit from studying the instruments’ world-class quality, as the pianos are built from premium wooden parts, such as maple, spruce, and pine. Dr. Li Yeoh, the Director of the College of Music’s Piano Technology program, noted, “We are thrilled to have selected two of the finest quality Hamburg Steinway Model D concert grand pianos, to nurture the world-class artistic inspiration and acoustic demands at both the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall and the Opperman Music Hall.”