The Catholic University of America

Sept. 25, 2012

Grand Piano Arrives to Fanfare

  New Piano

The new Steinway grand piano arrives at Ward Hall.
>Photo gallery

A crowd gathered outside the Ward Recital Hall at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music on Sept. 24. Inside, Tom Wright, the school’s piano technician, was doing some last-minute fine tuning on the new 9-foot, 990-pound concert grand piano that had just arrived from Steinway & Sons in New York.

As the doors opened and excited guests filtered in, Wright could be seen running a towel along the black, high-gloss exterior of the piano before quickly exiting stage left.

Music Dean Grayson Wagstaff officially began the dedication festivities by welcoming his fellow deans, the vice presidents of the University, music school faculty past and present, representatives of Steinway & Sons, and some 100 students. Wagstaff then introduced University President John Garvey, whom he called “a devotee of the music school.”

“Part of our Catholic identity is an appreciation for beautiful things,” said Garvey to the standing-room audience. “One of the most beautiful things at this University is the music that comes from students and faculty of the music school and it highlights all occasions here.”

University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry Rev. Jude De Angelo, O.F.M Conv., provided the blessing for the new grand piano and drew a laugh when he said, “Six professors told me not to get water on the piano.”

New piano  
Ivo Kaltchev, head of the music school’s piano division, is the first to perform.
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Before beginning his prayer and blessing, he said, “The purpose of music above all is to give glory to God.” Then more than 100 voices joined to sing the Lord’s Prayer.

Ivo Kaltchev, head of the music school’s piano division, was clearly emotional when he addressed the audience.

“Finally we can proudly say we have one of the best concert grands in Washington, D.C. And we have an instrument that matches the incredible talent of our students and the caliber of training we provide here at Catholic University,” he said. He also offered a “heartfelt thank you to Dean Wagstaff as the driving force behind this project.”

Kaltchev, Wagstaff, and Wright, along with other piano faculty members, traveled to New York City in August to visit the Steinway factory and the showroom. They said the new piano now on stage at CUA was selected by unanimous decision.

“It is every pianist’s dream to play on a piano such as this,” said Kaltchev. “This fine instrument is a great gift to everyone at the University — the piano will serve everyone.”

The grand piano was fittingly christened with performances, starting with Kaltchev, followed by doctoral students Koko Yeh and Jason Solounias and undergraduatess Esther Nyberg and Nathan Blair, who accompanied tenor Dan Noon.

David Slan, president of Steinway Piano Washington, D.C., declared the performances “fabulous. There is no doubt that Catholic University has chosen the absolute perfect piano for its concert space and, most important, for its incredibly talented faculty and students.”



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