Ohio University

New pianos resonate with better sound & student excellence

Christopher Purdy enjoys the School’s new fleet of pianos.
Christopher Purdy enjoys the School’s new fleet of pianos.Photo by Daniel J. King

In unstable climate controlled environments, the working pianos in Ohio University’s Robert Glidden Hall, home to the School of Music, have been under heavy usage for more than 50 years. So when 41 new pianos arrived, incoming Director of the school, Professor of Piano and Chair of the Keyboard Division Christopher Fisher was, to say the least, grateful.

“Having a quality instrument that is responsive to the musician enhances one’s creativity and productivity,” Fisher says. “As pianists, we can’t carry our instruments with us. We’re at the mercy of the instrument we’re sitting at. Having them be well-regulated, in-tune, and responsive makes all the difference. There is a wonderful synergy that occurs between a pianist and a fine instrument. One plays better when one is playing an excellent instrument.”

The vertical and grand Yamahas have been distributed throughout Glidden Hall. Thirty-eight P22 models are situated in practice rooms, classrooms, and teaching studios, while three CX Conservatory grand pianos have been placed, respectively, in a dedicated graduate rehearsal room, a piano major practice room, and in the faculty studio.  

Former Director of the School of Music, Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Professor of Music Education Christopher Hayes lauds the immediate impact the acquisition has had on School of Music students, all of whom are required to take piano courses.

“It’s the one instrument everyone plays. These pianos affect every single music student,” he says.

The Yamaha pianos also serve community musicians says Wendy Blackwood, director of the Athens Community Music School (ACMS), the community educational outreach arm of the School of Music.

“ACMS students are able to gain better experience when the instruments they are playing and listening to are working and sounding great,” she says. “The effect is twofold: the students are rewarded with a better sound quality for their work, and that motivates them to practice for a higher level of excellence.” 

The pianos, sourced through Solich Piano and Music Company, inspired the donation of five grand pianos, all of them critical additions to the School’s fleet of instruments. One was from Guy Remonko, Professor Emeritus of Percussion who died January 4, and his wife, Marilyn, the founder of ACMS. This instrument now sits in the main ACMS studio. Two pianos were donated by Kurtz Carpenter, a local retired piano teacher; one was donated by Suzanne Pennington, MA ’06, in memory of her father, Dr. James “Ed” Pennington, MA ’69, PHD ’75; and one from an anonymous donor.