Steinway Meets Science At Berkeley Preparatory School

With an indoor playground for robots, a fossilized stegosaurus egg, a NASA space shuttle remnant, a couple of German incubators and seven pianos by Steinway & Sons, one could easily imagine the new Gries Center for the Arts and Sciences on a sprawling college campus.

In reality, this 75,000-square-foot complex of collaboration is the latest addition to prestigious Berkeley Preparatory School, one of the finest private schools in Florida. Established in Tampa in 1960, the Episcopal–affiliated Berkeley provides a world-class curriculum for nearly 1,300 students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12.


Brian J. Panetta, Chair of Visual and Performing Arts, explains that Steinway pianos “were an obvious choice” for the building named after Bob Gries Jr., former owner of the Tampa Bay Storm arena-football franchise. A founding member of Gries Investment Funds, he contributed $4 million toward the project.

Johnathan Hunt of the Music Gallery built key relationships with school officials, who selected the perfect Steinway Model B grand piano to adorn Berkeley’s state-of-the-art Gabos Family Recital Hall. Two each of Steinway Model 1098, Boston 118-S and Boston 118-E uprights were chosen to lift voices in the choir rooms.

“Whether it is in the classroom, practice room or recital hall, our Steinway pianos provide a quality timbre and an ease of playing that proves to be superior to anything else,” says Panetta. “These instruments undoubtedly enhance the sound and overall musical experience of our ensembles and soloists. We consider it a true privilege to be able to provide them for our faculty and students.”

Glen Gough, Corporate Sales Manager for Steinway & Sons, welcomed Berkeley to a growing list of select schools that value the importance of providing the best possible instruments for the study of music. “Berkeley puts people into the world who make a positive difference, and wherever life takes these young students we are extremely proud to be part of the journey.”

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