Dr. Grimpo practices for her recital on the concert grand. Photo courtesy of Victoria Cameron.
By Victoria Cameron
The recital hall now houses a 9-foot concert Steinway grand piano.
Associate Professor of Music Elizabeth Grimpo will give a piano recital on the new instrument at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 1.
The Steinway was donated by a local supporter of the music department. The value is upwards of six figures.
The new Steinway is the latest step in Concordia’s Steinway Initiative, the plan to make Concordia an all-Steinway school. Steinway pianos are handcrafted and among the best in their field.
“It’s incredible, the amount of detail and craftsmanship that goes into one of these instruments, the science, the physics, even, behind it, just the types of wood, the quality, all of that stuff,” Grimpo said. “That was kind of eye opening, and it makes you really appreciate the instrument once you finally sit down and play it.”
The Steinway Initiative exists to give music students the best possible education.
“We want to provide our students with that (academic excellence) in classroom instruction and in the instruments that they play,” Grimpo said. “Because you can’t achieve the level of musicality on an inferior instrument, and if we’re going to train our students to be the best and the most excellent they can be, they need an instrument that will respond to that.”
The piano has so far been used in student recitals and for choir practices. While music students are used to a high quality of sound in the recital hall, they have still noticed the difference with the new instrument.
“It’s more mellow, but it also produces such a big sound, and to hear that in the recital hall … is amazing,” freshman Makenna Clovis said.
Another way the music department strives to present their students with exceptional instruction is through faculty recitals. The music faculty regularly gives recitals, but due to the length and difficulty of the pieces they study, recitals are far enough apart to be conspicuous occasions. Despite the large gaps in between faculty recitals, Grimpo is always working on new pieces on top of her work accompanying and teaching.
“I like learning new things all the time,” Grimpo said. “I think it’s good because that’s what I ask students to do.”
Grimpo will play pieces by composers Scarlatti, Philip Lasser, Poulenc, Bach, Oquin and David von Kampen, son of Music Department Chair Kurt von Kampen, at her recital.
The music department’s upgrade can be attributed not only to members of the community and professors who hold themselves to the same standards as their students, but also to the students themselves. The music faculty trusts students to take care of quality equipment as a part of their studies.
“One thing I like about the music program at Concordia is that there’s such a community,” Clovis said. “There’s a lot of community already at Concordia, but in music, I feel like you can have a lot of competition going on between any of the music majors and it doesn’t seem like we have that, necessarily.”
The piano was chosen from a warehouse in New York. Grimpo went to New York to play and test pianos and select one the week before spring semester began.
“They’re all different because they’re all handcrafted, so you know, just like people are all a little bit different,” Grimpo said.