Hitting the Right Notes

William Crowe plays a Steinway

At 6’4” William Crowe is a fiercely talented player—of the piano, not basketball. It is as if he reaches inside the keys of a Steinway piano and what comes out isn’t just the orchestral sounds of George Gershwin.

“It’s my voice,” says the UT Knoxville School of Music junior.

More students will be able to find their melodies as UT aspires to join an elite group of universities, schools, and conservatories in becoming an All-Steinway School.

With a $3.5 million initiative underway—and with more than $840,000 already raised—the UT Knoxville School of Music has already acquired one Steinway Hamburg nine-foot concert grand piano and three Steinway Hamburg seven-foot grand pianos. Once a collection of more than 100 pianos, including upright and concert grand pianos, fill the much-anticipated Natalie L. Haslam Music Center (scheduled to be complete in 2013), the school will officially be designated as All-Steinway. Two Steinways also will replace pianos in the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center.

The Steinway partnership “opens doors for our students that otherwise might not be possible,” says Angela Batey, interim director of the School of Music. “Becoming an All-Steinway School places UT’s School of Music in a position to offer our students the very best training and learning experiences.”

It’s a distinction so enticing to Crowe that he may stick around after he graduates to further his music studies as a graduate student. Not at all surprising, since Crowe, who received the prestigious Jane and Lowry Kline Music Scholarship, passionately began studying piano at the age of 5. Before his parents enrolled him in private piano lessons, Crowe banged his way through a Casio electric keyboard that was given to him by his grandmother.

“No other instrument quite compares to a Steinway,” says Crowe, who spent last summer performing in Germany. “I sit differently at a Steinway. Everything about it—from the precise construction to its reputation—unlocks the essence of your craft.”

Handcrafted by 300 pairs of hands for other hands to play, the Steinway piano is an instrument dedicated to excellence, says Sally Coveleskie of Steinway & Sons.

“UT is a place committed to the same level of excellence. And when that is known, good things tend to happen,” she says. “Enrollments increase, existing faculty are satisfied, and new faculty are attracted to the school. New artistic relationships are formed in the community, and there is a general sense of pride at being in a place that continues to attain excellence on every level.”

Chancellor Jimmy Cheek says the All-Steinway initiative is a goal sure to enrich the lives of students and the state-of-the-art music facilities that will include the Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall, a music library, and top-notch rehearsal and performance studios.

“Our faculty members are already the best of the best,” says Crowe, “so becoming an All-Steinway School will only add to the greatness already here.”

To learn more about supporting UT’s All-Steinway School Initiative, contact Cathy Dodge at 865-974-2365 or cdodge@utk.edu.

—Chandra Harris-McCray

The Cheeks, Powells, Haslams, and Coveleskie

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