Master pianist and U of A music professor Jacques Després knows playing on a great piano is key to his talented students giving their best performances. U of A music students have access to renowned instructors and many opportunities to perform, but the concert pianos have aged.
Wear and tear on older pianos changes how they feel and sound, preventing students from playing to their potential. “It’s like listening to music on earbuds with a laptop,” Després says. “The music is there but not at the best possible quality.”
150: Concerts, recitals and master classes presented by the U of A music department this year
311: Students enrolled in music programs at the U of A. Many go on to perform nationally and internationally.
97%: Portion of concert pianists who choose to perform on Steinways
20,000+: Arts lovers who took in U of A music, theatre and design shows in 2017-18, illustrating the university’s impact on the arts community
Thanks to a dedicated group of donors, a Steinway Model D concert grand piano made its debut at Convocation Hall this spring. It will be an invaluable learning tool for students.
A Steinway takes more than a year to build and is made almost entirely by hand. “When you play on a piano of this quality, you realize things about the music you would not realize on another piano,” Després says. “You’re not held back by the instrument.”
The new Steinway will enrich Edmonton’s vibrant arts community by attracting more visiting musicians, whose master classes and performances will benefit students and music lovers alike. “It is truly a special instrument,” says Després.