University of Lynchburg will dedicate a new Steinway Concert Grand D piano in a special concert on Friday, October 27, at 8 p.m.
The concert in Sydnor Performance Hall will feature Noemi Szigeti Lee, a music instructor at University of Lynchburg, playing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with the University of Lynchburg Wind Symphony and Orchestra. The concert will also include piano performances by music faculty members Cynthia Ramsey and Jeremy Craft. Their theme is “European dances.” Free tickets can be reserved by calling the music office at 434.544.8344.
University of Lynchburg raised more than $150,000 from generous donors to purchase the Steinway Concert Grand D piano. This new resource for the music department will create new opportunities for students as well as local music enthusiasts.
Prior to the Steinway purchase this summer, the College’s largest piano was a Steinway Concert Grand B with seven-foot strings, said Ramsey. While that suffices for many uses, the Concert Grand D with nine-foot strings will be more attractive to professional concert artists the College would like to attract to work with students and perform for the Lynchburg community. “It’s the piano professionals play on,” Ramsey said.
“We are training professional keyboardists to go to graduate school, and we now have the equipment they need,” Ramsey added. Because graduate schools require pianists to submit recordings during their application processes, the new piano will enhance their competitiveness. “They will be playing an instrument that gets them on the same footing with other students” who have access to a Concert Grand D.
Ramsey and Lee selected the specific piano during a tour of the Steinway factory in New York City last year. Betty Arrington, a member of the Class of 1964 and a key donor for the piano purchase, attended as well. The pianists took turns playing several completed pianos and chose their favorite. The longer strings make the piano incredibly responsive, whether the artist is playing a full, loud piece or a quiet ballad, Ramsey said.
The Steinway is a long-term investment, Ramsey noted. Another piano in Snidow Chapel is more than 100 years old, so she believes the new piano will last at least that long. “I know that for the next 100 years, this instrument is going to be well cared for so that it will last the college another hundred years.”
After the dedication, the Steinway Concert Grand D will be the piano for all concerts in Sydnor Performance Hall, Ramsey said. In addition to public concerts by the College and professional musicians, it may also be used by other groups wishing to use the space for recitals.
“We’re proud that we can bring this piano to University of Lynchburg and provide a higher quality and wider variety of music experiences for our students and the Lynchburg community,” said Mike Bonnette, senior vice president of advancement at University of Lynchburg. “We’re grateful for the alumni and friends of the College whose generous support made this possible.”