Published: Fri May 6, 2011Tennessee Tech University and the Friends of TTU Music organization have announced the largest gift ever given to the Department of Music and Art. An anonymous donor has given $100,000 to the University's All-Steinway School project.
"When I heard the news, I couldn't believe it," said Arthur LaBar, department chairman. "Replacement of our pianos has been a high departmental priority for some time, but this single donation gives the campaign concrete reality. I believe it also gives the project some valuable momentum."
The piano is the one instrument common to all music majors everywhere. Music students spend considerable time learning and practicing on university pianos. There are nearly 50 pianos in TTU's Bryan Fine Arts Building, home to its music programs.
"Unfortunately, several of our pianos were acquired back in the 1960s and 1970s, meaning they are even older than some members of the faculty!" said LaBar.
LaBar credits Jim Brock, TTU director of development, for identifying the donor and for articulating the need for pianos made by Steinway on behalf of the music students and faculty.
The wish of the donor was to make a significant difference in the quality of daily experience for Tennessee Tech music students. The gift will allow the purchase of the first group of pianos needed toward the All-Steinway School goal. The first purchase will be three new 5-foot grand pianos and three upright pianos to replace antiquated pianos in student practice rooms and in faculty studios.
"My piano performance majors spend approximately four to five hours daily in the practice room," said Catherine Godes, TTU director of piano studies. "The need for beautiful and quality instruments to work on is essential; they inspire and improve the overall quality of the practicing experience.
"And not only piano majors study piano," Godes said. "All music majors at TTU study piano as part of the curriculum. On behalf of the students, we applaud the generosity of the Steinway donor."
Two signature 9-foot model D Steinways are already on the stage in Wattenbarger Auditorium. The new pianos are expected to be delivered in early September, about the time the students return for the fall semester.
"Having top quality and reliable instruments of all kinds is essential to the core mission of the department, and Steinway makes the world's best pianos. The students, the faculty and I are all thrilled to accept this gift of pianos and are sincerely grateful to the donor," concluded LaBar.
To join the All-Steinway School movement, supporters are invited to call LaBar at 931/372-3167 or visit www.tntech.edu/musicandart/giving/.