Moravian College has received a gift from the late Betty Louise Aierstock Moore ’45 that will secure the acquisition of an additional 10 Steinway & Sons pianos, achieving the designation as an “All-Steinway School.” This noteworthy distinction is held by fewer than 125 colleges and universities nationwide. Steinway, a preeminent name in music, is widely known for providing students and faculty with the highest quality pianos for instruction and performance.
“The goal of being an All-Steinway School reflects our commitment to excellence,” said Bryon L. Grigsby ’90, president of Moravian College. “Although only 1% of pianos worldwide are Steinways, over 98% of performing artists insist on Steinway, which is still considered the ‘gold standard’ against which other pianos are measured. Being an All-Steinway School will directly benefit our current students. It will also enhance our ability to continue to attract and retain excellent students and faculty, and stand out in an increasingly competitive world.”
The transition to Steinway pianos will be completed in the coming months thanks to the generous gift from the late Betty Moore, who prior to her death in 2003, created a trust for Moravian College. A regular supporter of the College, “Bunnie” Moore – as she was known by friends and family – fostered a passion for music, playing the piano and organ throughout her life. In June, Moore’s son, Robert Jr., toured the campus where his mother studied. Following his visit last month, the family presented a gift of $500,000 to the institution, $350,000 which is marked to complete the campus conversion to All-Steinway status.
Perhaps most important for Moravian College, having all Steinways is very practical. “All of our music majors are required to play the piano, and our practice rooms areconstantly in use,” said Hilde Binford, chair of Moravian College’s Department of Music. “Most of our pianos simply cannot stand up to the hours of practicing, and they require additional maintenance and tunings. In the past 10 years, we have become increasingly aware of the qualitative difference between our Steinways and other pianos.”
Michael McAndrew ’15, a composition major with an instrumental focus on piano, explains that the College’s move to all Steinway pianos will make it more attractive and inviting to prospective students and musicians. “When we talk about pianos, we always talk about touch, and Steinways simply have the best touch and sound quality of any piano I’ve ever played,” he said. “It’s just a higher quality than anything else.”
Moravian College began an All-Steinway effort about 15 years ago on the recommendation of Music Department staff member E. Blair Flintom. “The journey of becoming All-Steinway has been made possible through the generosity of individuals, foundations, corporations, fundraisers – including the At-Home Steinway Series ¬– and the Moravian College Music Alliance,” Binford noted. “As a result of these efforts, the College has purchased a total of 17 Steinway pianos since the All-Steinway campaign began at the institution in 1999.”
Additionally, the Moore gift will be divided among a series of music-related scholarships and events. A once-a-year concert/recital will be named the Betty Aierstock Moore ’45 Memorial Concert, featuring students, faculty or professional pianists. A fund of $125,000 will be used to create a named endowed scholarship to be awarded every four years to an incoming freshman music student, selected via audition, who intends to major in piano and/or organ. Lastly, $25,000 has been designated to establish a named endowed prize each year for a second-semester junior/rising senior music major who is the “best” pianist/organist as determined by the music faculty or representative committee.
Moravian’s Music Department has a Steinway piano that was built in 1896. “Still in daily use, this piano reminds me that Steinways are known both for their longevity, and also, frankly, for their value,” Binford continued. “The pianos are built for endurance and purchased to last longer than one’s lifetime.”
The All-Steinway initiative, a fundraising priority by President Grigsby, will be achieved with the acquisition of these Steinway pianos. On Aug. 1, President Grigsby accompanied Binford, piano faculty and several campus members to Jacobs Music Company, the institution’s Steinway agent in Philadelphia, to select the pianos.
McAndrew was among the Moravian contingent that headed to Philadelphia. He called it a “privilege” to make the trip.
The College is planning a paino delivery event for Wednesday, Aug. 21. More information will be forthcoming.
At this time, the Moravian College Music Department also announces the first Betty Aierstock Moore ’45 Memorial Concert, featuring international Steinway artist Jeffrey Biegel, on January 24, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. in Foy Hall.
Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), the Music Department at Moravian College provides its students with high-quality personalized music degree programs that are comprehensive and offer training in the theory, history, and performance of diverse styles. Music is taught within in a liberal arts context, integrating intellectual, artistic, and personal growth. The music program’s academic opportunities give music majors foundations for careers in teaching, performing, composing, research, and more.
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. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College’s website at www.moravian.edu.
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