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School of Music’s ‘All-Steinway’ status gets atten...

School of Music’s ‘All-Steinway’ status gets attention in 10th year

MTSU’s School of Music has spent decades providing a stellar education for its students, and its last decade as one of only 140-plus “All-Steinway Schools” in the world has cemented its international reputation for excellence.

MTSU piano technician Chris Purdy, right, talks about the School of Music’s Steinway pianos with Adam Wurtzel, a reporter/producer for WSMV Channel 4, and Amber Holley, WSMV senior marketing consultant, during video interviews Oct. 10 for a story on the university’s “All-Steinway School” status. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

“We do our best to help our students achieve the highest possible quality education, which means providing our musicians with access to the best artist-level instruments available,” said Dr. George Riordan, director of the MTSU School of Music.

“For over a century, Steinway has been synonymous with the highest quality in pianos, and so our partnership is a symbol of our pursuit of excellence.”

MTSU purchased 57 of the renowned instruments in 2002 after several years of using “loaner” pianos from various manufacturers and about 21 university-owned acoustic pianos. The School of Music then became the first “All-Steinway School” in Tennessee, subsequently adding three more Steinways to its artistic arsenal.

To be designated as an official “All-Steinway School,” a college or university’s music program must:

  • use Steinway pianos in all of its performance spaces and teaching studios;
  • have Steinway-designed pianos in all the school’s other music classrooms and practice rooms;
  • ensure that at least 90 percent of the school’s acoustic pianos are Steinway products;
  • not participate in “loaner” programs from another piano manufacturer; and
  • have a defined piano service/maintenance program in place.

Crews from WSMV-Channel 4 spent time Oct. 10 with MTSU students, faculty and staff, discussing the 60 Steinway vertical and grand pianos inside the Wright Music Building and the adjoining Saunders Fine Arts Building. The story is scheduled to air soon.

The School of Music has a full-time technician, Chris Purdy, who receives advanced training twice a year from Steinway. The WSMV news team chatted with Purdy and Riordan as well as with students and members of the university’s piano faculty.

“MTSU is committed to the long-term development of its students, and that means, whenever possible, we need to invest in instruments that will last for present and many future generations,” Riordan explained.

“Unlike computers or other digital technology that quickly goes out of date, Steinway pianos are built to provide dependable response for a century or more, with proper maintenance. … Our partnership with Steinway includes yearly check-ups of each individual instrument, which enables us to maximize the long life of our pianos.”

Chasha Nwobiler, left, a freshman majoring in music performance at MTSU, prepares to perform on one of the School of Music’s Steinway grand pianos in the Hinton Music Hall as part of a news story by WSMV Channel 4. WSMV reporter/producer Adam Wurtzel, center, and Amber Holley, senior marketing consultant, conduct Nwobiler’s interview.

MTSU’s “All-Steinway” status puts it in the company of other esteemed music educators around the world, including The Juilliard School, Oberlin College Conservatory, Beijing’s China Conservatory of Music, the Yale School of Music, the University of Melbourne (Australia) Faculty of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, among others.

“When students practice on a Steinway, they are being prepared to play on the pianos they are most likely to encounter after they graduate,” Sally Coveleskie, national director of institutional sales for Steinway & Sons in New York, said when MTSU’s pianos were purchased from the Long Island City, N.Y.-based company.

“Not only do Steinway pianos come to us with the assurance that we’re providing the highest quality artist instruments to our students, but we are also insuring that we’re getting the very best long-term return on our investment,” Riordan added.

For more information on the MTSU School of Music, visit its website at

—    Gina E. Fann (