On Wednesday, Dec. 14, Steinway & Sons, whose instruments are the pianos of choice for professional musicians worldwide, named The Petrie School of Music at Converse College an All-Steinway School. With the announcement, Converse becomes the first women’s college in the U.S. and the first college in North and South Carolina to be awarded All-Steinway status. The college also joins a select group of only 50 other All-Steinway colleges, conservatories and music schools worldwide including The Juilliard School, Yale University’s School of Music, The China Conservatory of Music and the Oberlin College Conservatory. It is rare for a college as small as Converse to earn the Steinway status. Other All-Steinway Schools in the Southeast have an enrollment of at least 15 thousand while Converse’s enrollment is 1,797.
The All-Steinway School designation is awarded to institutions that primarily use Steinway & Sons concert and practice pianos.
In addition to Converse being named an All-Steinway School, Dr. Douglas Weeks, chair of performance and Babcock Professor of Piano at Converse, was officially named a Steinway Artist. Acceptance into the worldwide Steinway Artist roster indicates not only high musical performance achievement, but it reflects the artist’s dedication to and confidence in the Steinway piano. Included on the Steinway Artist roster have been such immortals as Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Vladimir Horowitz, Ignace Paderewski, Cole Porter, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Today’s Steinway Artists include the leading stars in the musical firmament, among them Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Van Cliburn, Billy Joel, Herbie Hancock, Evgency Kissin, Peter Nero, Maurizio Pollini, Billy Taylor, and Roger Williams.
“By becoming an All-Steinway School, The Petrie School of Music at Converse College has shown a commitment to its future by providing the best instruments possible for its students and faculty thereby insuring a legacy of distinction for generations to come,” said Steinway president Bruce Stevens. “Steinway & Sons is deeply honored that our instruments have been chosen to accompany Converse College on this mission of excellence in music education.”
The Petrie School effort to become eligible for All-Steinway status began in March 2004 with a $1.3 million campaign. The campaign was led by Converse trustees Bill Barnet, Betty Montgomery (Converse College class of 1972) and Kurt Zimmerli. “The way that this project was embraced by such a broad range of supporters was truly amazing and makes this an even more exceptional accomplishment,” said Dr. Joseph Hopkins, dean of The