February 16, 2018 at 12:45pm
Dane Lisser, Video/Photos by Michelle Hassel

An Inside Look at Millikin's new Steinway D Piano

Millikin University's School of Music is designated as an All-Steinway School, and in keeping with that tradition, the School announced the arrival of 21 new Steinway Pianos in January to add to its instrumentation. Thanks to a generous gift from a loyal Millikin alumnus family, the flagship instrument of this collection was delivered to Kirkland Fine Arts Center on Jan. 19, 2018. This gift continues the donor's selfless family tradition of supporting musical education and performance at the highest levels of Millikin and throughout central Illinois.

The beautiful nine foot Steinway D was hand-selected from the Steinway & Sons factory in New York City by Millikin's Coordinator of Keyboard Studies, Dr. Silvan Negruţiu. The world-class instrument will provide years of enjoyment to Millikin School of Music students, faculty, guest artists, Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra and other Kirkland Fine Arts Center patrons.

In the following video, we took a closer look at the Steinway D as Brian Justison, director of the School of Music, provided his thoughts on the new pianos, the impact they will have on the music program at Millikin, and supporting music education in the local community.

"This is very exciting for the School of Music and for me personally," Justison said. "We received a brand new Steinway D piano as well as four Steinway B pianos and a Steinway O delivered to the School of Music, and we expect additional pianos to be delivered in March."

Steinways are all handmade, and Justison and Negruţiu were looking for particular qualities in the concert instrument while in New York. Both said it needed to be heard above the orchestra, to fill up a 2,000-seat auditorium, and for its voice to be rich and bright.

"Pianos are used at the very core of what we do at the School of Music," Justison said. "Every student is required to take a piano class. Students also use pianos for homework purposes and composition. The pianos accompany virtually everything in the School of Music from choirs to solo recitals. It's one of the most implemented instruments in the entire School of Music."

Millikin School of Music

Justison noted, "A School of Music presents itself to the world through its arts programming and reputation. The designation that Millikin has an All-Steinway School speaks to both of those things. Steinway approached us to support our artistic efforts."

The upgrade in piano inventory not only benefits Millikin University, it also impacts the local community as 16 used pianos at Millikin will be donated to Decatur schools as part of Millikin's continued commitment to local arts education.

"We've had a great partnership with the Decatur schools for many years and we want to continue to do whatever we can to further that relationship," Justison said. "We have some excellent pianos that we will be trying to find homes for in the Decatur community. We hope to continue to enrich our contribution to arts education in Decatur."

Millikin School of Music

Justison added, "Everyday is a great day to come to the School of Music and work with our faculty and students."

Dr. Silvan Negruţiu will debut the new Steinway D piano in a public recital at Kirkland Fine Arts Center on Sunday, March 25, at 4 p.m.