Syracuse University Magazine


Katia Dinas G’15 performs on a new Steinway Model D Concert Grand piano, the gift of SU professor emeritus Harold Jones and his wife, Barbara. It is the second of the Setnor School's two new Steinway Model D Concert Grand pianos. The first was purchased with a lead gift from All-Steinway campaign chair Jennie Berkson and her husband, SU Trustee David Edelstein ’78.

Pitch Perfect

Steinway & Sons and the Setnor School of Music are making beautiful music together. With the 2013 launch of a $2.5 million campaign to transform Setnor into an All-Steinway School—which requires 90 percent of its inventory consist of Steinway-made and Steinway-designed pianos—the practice rooms, faculty studios, and concert stage will be equipped with an exceptional tool for educating professional musicians. “All music majors must learn to play the piano, choral ensembles and voice majors have an accompanist at almost every lesson, and all students have accompanists at their recitals,” says Patrick Jones, professor of music and director of the Setnor School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “Pianos are also used for classroom instruction in ear training and theory, practicing pitch recognition and chords, and working out parts of a new composition.”

Steinway & Sons has been making high-quality pianos by hand for more than 160 years. In fact, many of the world’s most celebrated pianists, leading orchestras, music festivals, and conservatories exclusively use Steinway pianos. When Setnor becomes an All-Steinway School, it will be one of only 160 institutions around the globe to achieve this prestigious status, and the only one in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In addition to giving students world-class equipment on which to learn and perform, the school will enjoy other benefits. “We’ll have access to Steinway artists who will come to Setnor as clinicians, join an elite group of institutions listed in all Steinway publications, and increase recruitment because students—particularly students from abroad—look at the All-Steinway list when choosing a school,” Jones says. “Only one year into the campaign, prospective students are already taking note, and we’ve seen an uptick in applications for piano majors from overseas. For students who may not have considered coming here, Setnor is now on their radar.”                 

With constant use and tuning, Setnor’s fleet of 67 pianos—with an average age of 40 years—must be replenished. The All-Steinway fundraising initiative will make it possible to replace the entire inventory with an appropriate mix of Steinway grand pianos and the lower cost, Steinway-designed Boston grand and upright pianos to put the right instrument in the right location for the right price ( For example, Boston upright pianos will be located in practice rooms for non-piano majors, while Steinway grand pianos will be placed in faculty studios and on the concert stage for piano performance majors. “We’re going for 100 percent Steinway, and we have a qualified Steinway-approved technician on staff to keep our inventory humming,” Jones says. “Our pianos get a lot of use, so we will need to have a replacement plan in place to refresh our entire fleet on a rotating basis.”

Piano performance major Katia Dinas G’15 hopes to have a career giving solo and chamber music recitals around the globe. On average, she takes lessons and practices on two different pianos at Setnor for four to five hours a day. “It’s important that the piano I’ve been practicing on has the same touch or action as the one I’ll be performing on because it can change my whole interpretation of a piece,” says Dinas, who studied piano at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and will receive a master’s degree in piano performance from Syracuse next spring. “Steinway pianos have the best touch and sound quality of any piano I’ve ever played, and it’s important for music students to know they will be trained on the very best piano brand as they prepare for their professional careers.” —Christine Yackel