University News

The Steinway Project: Unveiling Celebration Concert April 8

April 4, 2018

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MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University School of Music will unveil its new Steinway & Sons Model D Grand Piano during a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 8 in the College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) Recital Hall. The concert is open free to the public.

The Steinway & Sons Model D piano was purchased with a donation from Herbert and Nancy Strong, of Macomb. In November 2017, Herbert and Nancy, their three daughters, School of Music Director Tammie Walker, Associate Professor of Piano Jeff Brown, COFAC Director of Development Julie Baker and Certified Piano Consultant at West Music Quad Cities (Moline, IL) Patrick Downing went to the Steinway Factory in Queens, NY, to tour the only facility where the Model D Steinways are produced by hand to make the piano selection. Five Model D pianos were in the selection room, and the group spent close to four hours selecting the piano that would be the best fit for Western.

Though this piano will ultimately live on the stage of the Center for Performing Arts on the campus of WIU, the piano will be unveiled on April 8 on the COFAC Recital Hall stage so students and faculty can begin using it.

A plaque will be permanently affixed to the piano so students, faculty and audiences for years to come will remember the instrument's significance. It will read:

"May the sound of its music penetrate the hearts of the audience"
Herbert and Nancy Strong and daughters Maghan, Brekin and Brittany

The WIU School of Music is on its way to becoming an All-Steinway School, a designation given to an institution by Steinway & Sons. An All-Steinway School recognizes that high quality pianos are necessary equipment for the study of music, and that becoming an All-Steinway School reflects a commitment to provide the best instruments possible.

These pianos are used by students and faculty of all music and similar disciplines and show WIU's commitment to excellence for students, faculty, staff and community. To that end, 90 percent or more of the acoustic pianos owned must be Steinway & Sons, Boston or Essex institutional models, with the goal of reaching 100 percent as instruments are replaced.

Some of the many reasons why WIU is on a mission to become an All-Steinway School include:

• Once an All-Steinway designation is achieved, Western would be the first public University in the state of Illinois to achieve this status. Being an All-Steinway School shows a commitment to students, faculty, community and excellence.

• An All-Steinway School designation would identify WIU as a regional, cultural hub.

• Being an All-Steinway School will help the WIU School of Music continue to achieve requirements of our NASM accreditation (National Association of Schools of Music).

The Steinway Project will be 100 percent donor funded. The total needed to become an All-Steinway School is $769,155. In the past 12 months, since kicking-off this project, the School of Music has put nearly $160,000 toward the purchase of five brand new Steinway or Boston pianos.

Sunday's concert will include piano pieces that will show off the dynamic capability and versatility of the new Steinway & Sons Model D piano. The event will include performances by School of Music Chair Tammie Walker, Associate Professor Jeffrey Brown, Faculty Assistant Minjung Seo, Faculty Assistant Po-Chuan Chiang, Teaching Support Assistant Gwangwon Park, Professor Michael Stryker and Teaching Support Assistant Siyuan Chen on pieces by Bach, Bolcom, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Poulenc and more.

A reception will follow the performance in the University Art Gallery, with a cash bar and appetizers. To attend, RSVP to COFAC Development Director Julie Baker by Friday, April 6 at or at (309) 298-2620.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations