• Perseverance pays with a prestigious All-Steinway designation for Davidson

    DAVIDSON, NC – Davidson College considered upgrading its pianos around the same time that Stephen Curry was leading the upstart Wildcats on a surprising run through the 2009 NCAA basketball tournament.

    Since then, Curry became a six-time NBA All-Star who garnered three championships with the Golden State Warriors. In April 2019, Davidson’s School of Music earned its coveted title as an All-Steinway School. Using Steinway’s Festival Program, the school methodically accumulated an impressive fleet of 25 Steinway & Sons pianos – including three majestic nine-foot Model D concert grands.

    The 200-seat Tyler-Tallman Hall, a two-tiered venue for intimate performances at Davidson.
    Davidson is a growing cultural hub for the greater Charlotte area, with the 600-seat Duke Family Performance Hall a popular venue for concerts and a variety of performances.

    “Davidson’s quiet, consistent determination and strategic use of the Steinway Festival Program put them on the road to success in which excellence was the destination,” says Mark Love, President/CEO of Steinway Piano Gallery-Charlotte. “Today, the All-Steinway experience for students and faculty makes Davidson a beacon of music education in the Carolinas.”

    Dr. Jennifer Stasack, former department chair, shepherded Davidson through the early years of the campaign. “I thought there was some real value to it because I always favored Steinway products, and my opinion as chair was to invest in the best possible product for the long-term,” she says. “Most sincerely, it demonstrates that the college is willing to always strive for excellence, not only in our teachers and curriculum but our facilities, as well. That was the hallmark motivator that inspired me to pursue this designation.”

    At first, some pianos gave her sticker shock. “I felt I could never go to the administration and ask for that much money,” she admits. Her perspective changed when she discovered that one Steinway would cost about the same as a state-of-the-art microscope in the sciences. “I had to do a mind-shift and see it through the lens of our responsibility to present the best ‘microscope’ to our students in the arts. From that moment on, I needed no more convincing,” she notes.

    “Most sincerely, it demonstrates that the college is willing to always strive for excellence, not only in our teachers and curriculum but our facilities, as well. That was the hallmark motivator that inspired me to pursue this designation.”

    Professor Mauro Botelho assumed the mantle when he succeeded Dr. Stasack as chair, guiding the initiative to a successful conclusion. “Why wouldn’t any school want to be an All-Steinway School?” he asks. “Students need top-notch instruments so they can acquire good technique without the bad habits that inevitably arise when forced to compensate for the mechanical shortcomings of an inferior instrument. Being an All-Steinway School also fits in nicely with the branding Davidson College strives to project.”

    An early adopter of the festival program, “Davidson took full advantage and ultimately reached their goal,” adds Love, who conducts a “Steinway Comes to Davidson” event each year on campus that celebrates the All-Steinway commitment.

    Although the multi-year plan had peaks and valleys, Dr. Stasack “feels great’’ about putting Davidson on the path. “This is one of those goals which need to be pursued with patience for lasting gratification. It’s beautiful to see a unified inventory and a Steinway in every room. I am so happy – I love it!” 

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