The Lawrence Conservatory keyboard department recently received a welcome surprise: a sizeable and unexpected gift earmarked for the purchase of a new Steinway D Concert Grand Piano. The gift came courtesy of the generosity of 1958 Lawrence graduate Kim Hiett Jordan.
Choosing a concert-quality piano, though, isn’t as simple as ordering the right model number from the Steinway catalog. Three members of the conservatory’s keyboard department — faculty members Catherine Kautsky, Michael Mizrahi and Anthony Padilla — all traveled to New York City to do some hands-on work selecting just the right instrument. The trio was accompanied by a representative from Appleton’s Heid Music, an authorized Steinway dealer. Leaving nothing to chance, the piano faculty recruited additional expertise from renowned concert pianist Richard Goode, who has performed several times as a guest artist at Lawrence.
“We eventually narrowed it down to two beautiful instruments after playing two roomfuls of Steinway D’s,” explained Kautsky, current chair of the department. “We were privileged to have both Richard Goode and his technician along with us to help us make the choice. In the end, the decision was completely unanimous. The instrument we chose is wonderfully flexible and has a beautiful, warm sound that is large enough to fill the largest of halls.
“One tries to find a piano that both feels good under the hands and sounds wonderful to the listener,” Kautsky added. “We think we’ve succeeded extraordinarily well on both counts.”
The magnificent new instrument has taken up residency in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. It will be available to be played by students, faculty and a roster of distinguished visiting artists and enjoyed by audience members for years to come.
About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.