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Category Archives: Gershwin Piano

You[Tube] Can’t Take That Away From Me: New Video from Piano Dedication Concert Posted on Our YouTube Channel

  Just a brief post today to highlight some new videos from the U-M Gershwin Piano Dedication concert that are now up on our YouTube channel. We are so pleased to have Gershwin’s priceless instrument here at U-M where students perform on it regularly, and will be releasing more footage from the concert in the weeks to come. Today we have two videos for you to enjoy featuring two of the Gershwins’ beloved songs: “You Can’t Take That Away From Me” from Shall We Dance (1937), and “My Man’s Gone Now” from Porgy and Bess (1935). “You Can’t Take That […]

20th Century American Songs, Performed on George Gershwin’s Steinway

Nicholas Shaneyfelt This Saturday (4/9) at 5:30PM, Nicholas Shaneyfelt will be presenting a concert of American songs on the Gershwin Steinway in the Britton Recital Hall of the U-M Moore Music Building. Nicholas devised his concert to feature composers who are less often performed but vital to the collection of American song. They include the pioneers of the genre: Edward MacDowell, Charles Griffes, and Arthur Farwell; African American composers like Robert Owens and Leslie Adams; composers who pushed the genre forward in the 60s and 70s, like Dominick Argento and Lee Hoiby; and voices of today, including Jake Heggie, Ben […]

The Gershwin Legacy of Dean Christopher Kendall

The University of Michigan Gershwin Initiative bids farewell this month to Dean Christopher Kendall, who has completed his second and final 5-year  term at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Deans at the University of Michigan can serve for a maximum of 10 years. Dean Kendall leaves behind a legacy of transformation, crowned by the Brehm Pavilion addition to the School’s Earl V. Moore Building. Yet, those of us affiliated with the University’s George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition and the broader educational efforts of the Michigan Gershwin Initiative feel that these projects, which place some of the most […]

A Post-October 10 Reflection

The events of October 10, 2014 will resonate for me for the rest of my years at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.  On that Friday, the School offered to the world a reborn Steinway Model A once owned by George Gershwin, and generously donated by his nephew Marc Gershwin.  All the anticipation, all the work had finally merged into programs offered at Hill Auditorium that featured the works of George and Ira Gershwin, and lauded the partnership between the U of M and the Gershwin Archives. That Friday, the SMTD also offered a view of itself as a […]

Stepping Back and Taking a Listen

Word travels fast these days, and whether by Twitter or word of mouth, news of the Gershwin piano’s restoration has traveled “out there”.   I’ve been observing the excitement build, as during the past month faculty and students have poked their head through the open door of the piano technology shop and inquired about the piano, or requested a moment or two to try it out.  Reactions have been favorable, ranging from “Oh my!  How long is this piano?” to “Wow, man!  I can really dig this piano!”  Whether polite or hip, the expressions on their faces tell me a […]

Spring and Strings

It’s now April 2014 and we’re getting hints of Spring everywhere.  Aside from the welcome snowmelt, we’re seeing a little more green in the expanses of lawn across campus, and birds are chirping from the barren trees, claiming territory for the spring rituals of nest building and mating.  What a time of renewal! Such is the experience for the Gershwin Model A as well!  We now have strings!  And new keys! And a new hammer action!  It definitely is rebirth, a remaking of greatness. I visited PianoCrafters on Tuesday, April 1 to inspect the piano with its new strings, keyboard […]

The Soundboard: Heart of the Piano

In my earlier article about restoring an historic instrument, I promised to talk a little about soundboards specifically.  It’s a topic that can fill volumes, and goodness knows that piano technicians talk about soundboards a great deal.  Everyone has an opinion, of course, and that includes me! Of course, whenever the owner of a revered piano hears about soundboard replacement, there is concern that the piano won’t sound like it used to.  I think this is due to a certain urban myth about pianos and soundboards that gave rise to the phrase “the soundboard is the soul of the piano”. […]

A Legacy to Preserve; the thorny question of piano restoration

Original Keyboard and Action of the George Gershwin piano. Having received the Gershwin piano in the Piano Technology Shop in the Moore Building, the thorny question of restoration confronts us.  How does one go about the rehabilitation of an instrument that is old while preserving its essence?  We’ve had a bit of experience with this in the past.  In fact, three examples of what and how we go about the restoration of an historical instrument can be found right on campus.  The first is the Elizabeth Gould Hochmann Steinway Model B which is on permanent loan to the University of […]

‘S Wonderful! We’re Going To Get a Gershwin Piano!

The e-mail from Marc Gershwin began with a simple opening: “Dear Bob, I am pleased to let you know that I would definitely like to donate the piano to the U of M.” That’s all I needed to know.  We were going to be the lucky beneficiaries of a major gift; the last one of three pianos owned by George Gershwin, a long Model A Steinway grand piano that he purchased in 1933.  Wow! It wasn’t necessarily a sure thing.  The process began with an inquiry from the dean’s office about whether I knew any appraisers in New York who […]

Journey to a New Home: The Gershwin Steinway Comes to Ann Arbor

Nothing quite matches the anticipation of a long-awaited item arriving by mail or UPS or Wells Fargo Wagon…or so goes the sentiment behind the song in “The Music Man” (forgive me the reference to a composition not by George or Ira Gershwin).  But that’s  the feeling I had when the semi truck from Modern Piano Movers pulled in to the Moore Building parking lot of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance at 8:30 p.m. on April 13, 2013.  It was really “something special” to see that 75-foot vehicle pull in and unload George Gershwin’s prized Model […]

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