Mar 30, 2019 | By: Shirelle Moore

In Focus: BSU Music Department Debuts Brand New Steinway Piano

Bemidji State University’s Department of Music is celebrating a grand new addition. Their brand new Steinway Model-B grand piano was donated to BSU by alumni Marilyn Vogel and her husband Leland Wilkinson, who live in Chicago.

“One of the foundation officers and I went to Chicago and I gave a private recital in their home in October, and they were thrilled and they are very pleased to see that we’re thriving again in the music department so they wanted to help us and we are, of course, delighted by that,” says Dr. Stephen Carlson, chair of the BSU Music Department and professor of music at the University.

The new Steinway was much needed, as its predecessor was reaching its time.

Carlson says, “What this does, it opens up the main theater as a performance venue. We had a dilapidated piano in here previously. We had to use it, unfortunately, but now since we have this glorious chamber music instrument with a coherently rich and dark timbre, we can use it for vocal recitals, we can use it for chamber music, a jazz band, the choir, you name it.”

“It’s so precise, just on both the high and low ends which is something you don’t really find on a lot of lower quality pianos and older ones, too, because it kind of loses it over time,” says Ben Larson, a senior at BSU studying piano performance and pedagogy.

The pianists from BSU aren’t the only ones benefiting from the Steinway.

Dr. Cory Renbarger, associate professor of voice and director of Opera Theater at BSU, says, “The sounds are wonderful, fresh, new. This piano has a wonderful tone. It really brings out a good supportive feeling for the voice. It’s just great to sing with.”

Today’s free recital was a perfect beginning for the Steinway’s journey at BSU. The department has big plans for the instrument, and students say their looking forward to seeing its future.

Kaitlyn Huhta, a sophomore at BSU studying vocal and music education, says, “Obviously, I was really nervous but playing on this instrument, and just piano in general is a lot of fun.”

Angelica Novinger, a senior studying piano performance and pedagogy at BSU, says, “It’s an amazing feel to play on this brand new piano. I grew up on a keyboard, so having the opportunity to play on these great instruments is just honor for me.”

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