Steinway Benefit instrumental in raising funds


The concert raises more than $500,000 for pianos. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

The feet of faculty, students and alumni tapped while their bodies swayed, performing classic instrumental pieces at the College’s Steinway Benefit Concert on Thursday, Oct. 11.

“What I’m really inspired by this evening is the quality of the music, and when we listen to our faculty and staff perform, it’s just remarkable,” vice president for College Advancement John Donohue said.

To start off the concert, a dramatic and intricate rendition of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Serenade No. 12 in C minor” was performed by a mix of students and faculty. The complex chords of the melody flooded the concert hall as the oboes, clarinets, horns and bassoons were played by their animated musicians.

Their performance was then followed by Robert Schumann’s “Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47.” The quartet, made up of a violin, viola, cello and piano, was played rather quickly. There were, however, sections of the piece that slowed and intensified, having an emotional effect on the packed audience.

“Sextuor Mystique” was performed next, and due to the various types of instruments that were played — specifically, a flute, oboe, saxophone, guitar, celesta and harp — this Heitor Villa-Lobos piece inspired a dreamy sensation in the listener.

In the night’s final performance, a flute, a clarinet, bassoons, trumpets and trombones came together to create the dramatic sounds of “Octet for Wind Instruments” by Igor Stravinsky.

“(This piece) is an opportunity for you to hear some playing that will knock you right off your seat,” said John Laughton, dean of the School of Arts & Communication. “I guarantee that if you haven’t heard bassoons play like this before, you’ll really hear it now because it’s amazing.”

And Laughton was right.

Sophomore music major Nicole Hunnemeder especially favored “Octet for Wind Instruments” over the other performances of the concert.

“It was so different from the other ones,” Hunnemeder said, “and it was a lot darker.”

As part of the Steinway Benefit Concert mission, the College’s Center for the Arts and the Department of Music raised $550,000 toward their goal of $1 million in order to fund the future purchases of Steinway pianos for the campus.

But ultimately, the audience that attended the concert that evening left inspired by the talented musicians — an indicator that the Steinway campaign is on the road to success.