Students, faculty and staff celebrated Thursday the arrival on campus of 21 brand-new Steinway & Sons pianos, the culmination of a fundraising campaign that has drawn the broad support across the campus and from alumni and local community leaders.
The All-Steinway Initiative is a campaign that seeks to equip Cal Poly Pomona exclusively with Steinway pianos, which are considered the gold standard in the music industry.
“Becoming an All-Steinway School will allow our students to learn and perform on the finest equipment available,” said Betty Ortiz, Cal Poly Pomona’s first lady who has championed the campaign. “It also will enhance the university’s ability to attract talented music students and students in other majors who have a musical background.”
To celebrate the occasion, Ortiz led a rally welcoming the pianos’ arrival outside the Music Recital Hall with the Cal Poly Pomona Pep Band, the dance and cheer teams, Billy and Betty Bronco, students, faculty and staff.
Music Professor Nadia Shpachenko and alumnus Michael Jung (’12, music) then gave a brief performance on a new Steinway concert grand piano in the Music Recital Hall. It was the first concert performance on the new piano.
“For me, Steinway pianos represent freedom. Whether it is a beautiful singing melody in a Beethoven sonata or courageous and powerful chords in a Rachmaninoff concerto, Steinway pianos allow me to bring out these contrasting characters without any limitations,” Jung said. “They allow me to bring out the smallest nuances within the music that add to the overall story and journey that the audience and I are experiencing together. There is no other piano that can compare.”
Meanwhile, a work crew was unloading new upright and grand pianos and moving them into the music building. Some of the upright pianos are replacing models from the 1940s or 1950s that were donated to Cal Poly Pomona and used in practice rooms.
The campaign has drawn wide support: former Cal Poly Pomona chemical engineering students Perry and Paul Tollett have donated toward the campaign. Perry Tollett owns the Glass House musical venue in Pomona, where Cal Poly Pomona students organized a concert to help the campaign. Paul Tollett founded the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals.
In addition, contributions have come from leaders in the local Asian communities and the family of Janet Kellogg, a longtime university benefactor who recently passed.
The university still needs to raise $270,000 to buy the final three pianos needed to become an All-Steinway School, a distinction shared by only about 160 conservatories, colleges and universities nationwide.
On Sunday, Nov. 16, world-renowned pianist Tai-Cheng Chen will perform a benefit concert in the Music Recital Hall to raise money to purchase the remaining three pianos and establish an endowment to maintain the instruments. The goal is to raise enough money to purchase the last three by the end of the year, when President Ortiz retires.
An international performer and music professor at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan, Chen will perform works by Franz Schubert and Frederic Chopin. Tickets are $25 and are available online. They also are available at the recital hall box office one hour before show time or Monday through Friday from noon to 1 p.m.
Donations to the All-Steinway Initiative can be made online or by mailing them to:
College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences
Cal Poly Pomona
3801 W. Temple Ave.
Pomona, CA 91768.
Franco can be reached at email@example.com or (909) 869-3948.