Playing for Peace

On its way to becoming an all-Steinway campus, Moravian College played host to a most unusual piano by the same maker: the 1939 Peace Piano, created in honor of the 1939 New York World's Fair by the Art Deco industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague (1883- 1960). Steinway has reconstructed the piano--the original is in the instrument collection of the Smithsonian Institution--for an international tour to raise money for UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund.

Its tour began at Jacobs Music Company, the Steinway dealer in Philadelphia, which also supplies pianos to the College. Jacobs arranged a stopover for the piano at the College on October 29. On the stage of Foy Hall, the piano met players from around the Lehigh Valley in the morning and from the Moravian College family in the evening.

Debra Torok, artist-lecturer in music, and Neil Wetzel, assistant professor of music and director of the Jazz Studies program, shown below, were among those who tried it out, playing the "Hot-Sonate" (jazz sonata) by Erwin Schulhoff, one of the doomed composers from the Terezn concentration camp. Musicians from Gamma Pi, the College chapter of the international music honors fraternity Delta Omicron, also put the piano through its paces.

The piano's decoration was changed slightly for the reconstruction. The legs, for instance, were topped by an American eagle in 1939. Each has been replaced by a hand-carved dove holding an olive branch in its beak. And around the apron of the piano are the flags of the 195 members of the United Nations.

The Moravian College engagement raised more than $800 for UNICEF.

Photo: Rob Upton