Virginia Wesleyan Achieves 'All-Steinway School' Status

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The prestigious distinction raises the level of excellence in music education at VWU

University News | September 14, 2020

From practice rooms to recital halls, all pianos on Virginia Wesleyan University’s (VWU) campus are now Steinway or Steinway-designed. That achievement, which provides VWU students and faculty with the best instruments possible for the study of music, has earned the University the prestigious distinction of an ‘All-Steinway School.’

Established by Steinway & Sons, ‘All-Steinway Schools’ demonstrate an institution’s full commitment to excellence that raises the bar in music education, providing a consistently high level of learning opportunities for students. The requirements for being designated an ‘All-Steinway School’ are created to ensure that pianists perform on, and students take lessons and practice on, Steinway pianos.

“Steinway pianos are considered the gold standard as they are one of the best pianos out there,” said Bryson Mortensen, Associate Professor of Music and Chair of Fine and Performing Arts at VWU. “They are completely custom made, using a variety of hardwoods that are hand-selected for their resonant qualities. Each piano has its own unique sound and is chosen to support the way that it will be used in both performance and practice.”

All nine of the impressive Steinway or Steinway-designed pianos now on Virginia Wesleyan’s campus have been acquired since November 2018.

The very first to arrive on campus was the Steinway Concert D Grand that was selected especially for the stage in the Joan and Macon Brock Theatre of the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, just months before its opening in the spring of 2019.

“When we were given the option to become an All-Steinway School, I jumped at the opportunity, because I knew what a difference it would make to be working alongside a Steinway piano,” said Mortensen. “I still remember when our piano technician texted me after working with the Steinway Concert D in the Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center and said ‘its a ferrari!’"

The University’s fleet of Steinways now includes two Concert D Grands, the one in the Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center and one in Hofheimer Theatre; one Baby Grand in the Beasley Recital Hall of the Monumental Chapel; and six others in the Hixon Music Studios and Parsons Ensemble Room of Susan T. Beverly Hall.

Mortensen says that achieving the ‘All-Steinway School’ distinction really elevates the fine and performing arts program at Virginia Wesleyan.

“This is a true game changer for our students, not only are they working with high-quality instruments, but they are at an institution that is willing to invest in providing them with the best instrument available.”