The College of Music Prepares for an Important Unveiling
Members of the Tallahassee community are cordially invited to attend the annual Afternoon of Musical Delight, which will be held on Sunday, January 21, 2018, at 2:00 pm in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall. At this year’s event, the Florida State University College of Music will unveil its recently purchased Steinway Model D concert grand piano, a new artistic and musical treasure that will grace the stage of the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall. Distinguished faculty pianists Stijn De Cock, Read Gainsford, Ian Hobson, David Kalhous, and Heidi Louise Williams will present “The Soul of the Piano,” a unique recital featuring music for one and two pianists composed by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, and Kurtag. The Afternoon of Musical Delight is free and open to the public, and tickets are not required.
About the College of Music's New Hamburg Steinway Model D
The College of Music’s 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 new Ruby Diamond Concert Hall’s Model D has taken up residence in the 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 will prove invaluable to students in the College’s premier Piano Technology Program, who will 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.” (Scroll to the bottom of this page to see a gallery of photos of the new piano as it arrived at the College of Music in early December.)
An Additional Opportunity to Hear the New Steinway Piano
The Afternoon of Musical Delight will be the debut concert for the new Hamburg Steinway in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, but the new piano will also be featured on a concert with the University Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, February 3, 2018. Faculty pianist Ian Hobson will join Dr. Alexander Jimenez (pictured right) 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 lyrical Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major is among the first of Mozart’s piano concertos to include parts for clarinets. Indeed, Mozart distinguished himself from his contemporaries as a concerto composer in part by the attention he gave to his writing for orchestral winds in his concertos. The Piano Concerto No. 23 was also one of twelve piano concertos that Mozart performed on his own Viennese concerts and that helped to establish the piano concerto as one of the most important and serious genres of classical music for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The University Symphony Orchestra’s February 3 concert will also feature a performance of Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life), Op. 40, one of the most celebrated, massive, and orchestrally demanding tone poems by the late German Romantic composer, Richard Strauss. Ein Heldenleben (1898) is filled with numerous quotations from other pieces by Strauss, which has led critics and commentators to view this tone poem as autobiographical in nature for well over a century. While some have faulted the composer for his alleged hubris in composing such a huge piece of music about himself, others have argued that the work should be understood in broader terms, as the struggle of each individual to reconcile his or her inner and outer worlds.
Save the Dates:
January 21, 2018 2:00 pm An Afternoon of Music Delight, “The Soul of the Piano”
February 3, 2018 7:30 pm University Symphony Orchestra
Both programs are free and open to the public.
The new Hamburg Steinway D grand piano for Ruby Diamond Concert Hall arrives.
Unpacking of the new Steinway begins backstage at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.