Performing With the Steinway

Tue, Apr 22, 2008

Steinway performance

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A former piano major and current graduate student in musicology, I am also happy to be a Graduate Associate in the Marketing and Communications Department of the Wexner Center for the Arts. I was privileged to play the Steinway piano (with my friend and fellow musicologist Jane Johnson, to whom I owe a “thank you”) in the Wexner Center Lobby before both screenings of Note by Note: the Making of Steinway L1037 this past weekend. We had a great time tearing through Mozart’s D Major Sonata for Four Hands, K 381, and the first of Schubert’s Military Marches, op. 51 D733.

For a pianist, playing a brand new Steinway feels like being let loose in a candy shop. There is so much to taste…so much to explore. The keys of this particular instrument had equal weight, and responded to the slightest pressure of finger and wrist. The treble sparkled and penetrated. The bass sang with the rich resonance of a baritone voice. (It’s true that I love bringing out the deep, harmonic roots a little too much at times…but anything to avoid being called a “right-handed pianist”!). Perhaps the best part of playing a Steinway is the inspiration it gives back. Instead of fighting deficiencies in the instrument, one is free to express the musical and technical details inside the music. The piano actually becomes a friend and ally in the communication of your personal art. And from that perspective, it’s easy to understand how attached world-class pianists become to a particular Steinway, since each one is an irreplaceable individual. -- Stephanie Frakes, Wexner Center Marketing and Communications Graduate Associate

Jean Dubuffet, Vaches au pre (Cows in a meadow), 1954

Reserve your tickets now for Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection, on view Sept 21–Dec 31. Learn more about the exhibition.

Artists featured in Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection

Learn more about the artists represented in Transfigurations at our dedicated website. (Educators will also find curriculum resources to support their K–12 classrooms.)