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Bethlehem, Pa., April 25, 2008—Moravian College President Christopher M. Thomforde and his wife Dr. Kathy G. Thomforde will open their residence for “At-Home Steinway Comes Home” on Sunday, May 4. Approximately 120 quests will enjoy a pre-concert reception at the Thomforde home in Bethlehem and then walk a short distance to Moravian College’s Peter Hall, for a concert at 6 p.m. featuring Steinway pianists Arianna Goldina and Remy Loumbrozo who will perform George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on the exquisite Steinway art-case piano “Rhapsody.” The piano duo will be followed by jazz pianist Dave Roth and Tenor Gregory Oaten, who will round out the program with a medley of Gershwin classics.
In addition to Rhapsody, other spectacular Steinway art-case pianos will be on display during the At-Home Steinway event including the “Olympia” and “Serial number 500,000.”
The At-Home Steinway Series was established by the Moravian College Music Alliance, a support group for the College’s music programs, to raise funds for the music department to purchase new pianos and further Moravian’s effort to become an all-Steinway campus. The series, which features historic and concert instruments in some of the Lehigh Valley’s most beautiful homes, has been organized by the At-Home Steinway Committee which is co-chaired by Richard Groman ’78 and Jane Schultz.
Last year, the At-Home Steinway event featured Los Angeles Philharmonic’s principal keyboardist, Joanne Pearce Martin who performed in the Pearce family home in Emmaus, Pa. Jane Schultz hosted the first At-Home Steinway Series, a performance by Moravian music alumni, and a garden reception at her home in Center Valley. Her piano is a 1901 Steinway grand with an apple-green French rococo case designed by J.B. Tiffany. The finish is enhanced by gilt scrollwork and faux-18th-century scenes of nymphs and shepherds in the manner of French painters Watteau and Fragonard. In 2006, Richard Groman ’78 opened his Bethlehem home for the second installment of Moravian College’s At-Home Steinway Series. The program, titled “The Age of Mechanical Music,” showcased Groman’s antique 1910 Technola Player Piano and 1929 Knabe Ampico Reproducing Piano.
The reason for the all-Steinway campus project is explained by James E. Barnes, chair of Moravian’s Music Department. “Piano proficiency is required of music majors, and the pianos in our studios and practice rooms are in constant heavy use. For more than 150 years, Steinway & Sons pianos have been appreciated by musicians for their tone and evenness of action, while their workmanship and longevity have been valued by owners and caretakers.
“Through the generosity of individuals, foundations, corporations, and the Moravian College Music Alliance, eleven new Steinway pianos grace the stages of Foy Hall and Peter Hall, faculty studios, and practice rooms. Proceeds from the At-Home Steinway Series will be used for matching funds, allowing Moravian College to provide first-class instruments for practice and performance,” Barnes continued.
The Moravian Music Alliance gratefully acknowledges the At-Home Steinway Series sponsors Jacobs Music Company, and Rob-Win Press Inc. of Allentown. Tickets for the event are $150 each or $250 per couple. Invitations to Music Alliance members went out in April. Others interested in attending should request an invitation from 610 861-1336.
Jacobs Music, a Philadelphia cultural institution first established in 1900 – the same year as the Philadelphia Orchestra – and a family owned and operated business, has taken a leading role in the Philadelphia music community. The company supports internationally renowned artists and regional music organizations including Moravian’s International Music Fraternity, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and countless universities and schools of music.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.
About Steinway Pianos
For millennia, artisans have produced sumptuously decorated musical instruments. Among the spectacular finds at the royal tombs of Ur, dating from 2600 to 2500 b.c.e., were harps inlaid with gold, mother-of-pearl, and lapis lazuli and crowned with golden bulls’ heads. Steinway & Sons has carried on this tradition in our era with a series of pianos whose cases are works of art. Steinway began creating art-case pianos in 1857. The first, serial number 1225, built for Franz Wynkoop of New York and now at Steinway Hall, features an inlaid rosewood case carved with grapevines and floral and musical motifs. Perhaps the most famous Steinway art-case grand piano, ornately decorated by the English artist Lawrence Alma-Tadema in 1883, was sold at auction in 1997 for $1,200,000. Another Steinway art-case piano, serial number 300,000, is currently in the East Room of the White House. Serial number 100,000, the first White House art-case piano, made for Theodore Roosevelt, is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
About Rhapsody crafted by Frank Pollaro
Brilliant, captivating, inspiring. The words that describe this art deco piano equally apply to its inspiration: legendary Steinway artist George Gershwin. Crafted in tribute to the 100th anniversary of his birth, the piano is dyed in brilliant blue and over 400 mother-of-pearl stars have been hand cut into the piano and inlaid in random fashion. The plate is coated in silver to give the impression that the piano is emanating light when it is opened. Frank Pollaro is one of the leading veneer craftsmen in the United States today. His complex veneered and inlaid furniture has been featured in numerous publications, on television, and in the Neuberger Museum at SUNY-Purchase. On being asked to design the Rhapsody piano for Steinway in honor of Steinway artist George Gershwin, Pollaro commented, “It seemed only natural to have this piano studded in stars. To me the stars represent Broadway, America, and most importantly, the shining star that Gershwin was to music.” Pollaro has said that his goal was to “pay tribute to the royalty that Gershwin was to music.”
About Olympia crafted by Dale Chihuly
In keeping with Dale Chihuly’s reputation for avant-garde glass artistry, Olympia–Steinway by Chihuly breaks dramatic new ground in the long history of Steinway artcase pianos. Olympia–Steinway by Chihuly, unveiled at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, reflects the abstract expression of wintry mountain forests juxtaposed with the bright Promethean colors idealized by the fire of the Olympic spirit. The piano’s many extraordinary features include a clear glass piano desk and a translucent glass top, the first ever designed for a Steinway piano. For more than 30 years, Chihuly has dazzled critics and international audiences with his translucent art. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the art of glass blowing at the Venini factory in Venice. In 1995, his project “Chihuly over Venice” featured glass sculptures above the canals and piazza of Venice. In 1999, more than one million visitors attended the Tower of David Museum to view his exhibition “Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem.” The Olympia art-case piano is Dale Chihuly’s first design for Steinway & Sons.
Serial number 500,000 crafted by Wendell Castle
Steinway & Sons serial number 500,000 concert grand piano was designed by one of America’s foremost furniture craftsmen and artists, Wendell Castle. This milestone commemorative concert grand piano, appraised at a value in excess of $500,000, was first presented at the Steinway & Sons 135th Anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall in 1988. The case is veneered with East Indian ebony and Swiss pear. The signatures of more than 800 Steinway artists are engraved on its outer case. Since its debut at Carnegie Hall, the “#500,000” has toured the world in exhibition in both performing-arts venues and in art museums. Wendell Castle’s works are in the permanent collections of prominent institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Art Institute of Chicago. The At-Home Steinway Series was inaugurated in 2005 to assist the Moravian College Music Department in becoming an all- Steinway facility.