For Walnut Hill students,
Steinways are making practice a joy
NATICK, MASS. – A decision three years ago to fill the practice rooms with 10 Steinway grand pianos is paying dividends as the highly acclaimed Walnut Hill School for the Arts continues its quest to become an All-Steinway institution.
“At Walnut Hill, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to educate some of the most talented young artists in the world,” says Antonio Viva, Head of School. “We made the commitment to work towards becoming an All-Steinway School because we believe these excellent musicians deserve equally excellent instruments for both practice and performance.”
Brendan Murphy, Vice President and Director of Institutional Sales at M. Steinert & Sons, assisted officials from Walnut Hill and the New England Conservatory of Music in selecting just the right mix of Steinways. Students involved with a rigorous musical curriculum benefit tremendously from a special joint program that enables them to study both at Walnut Hill and world-class New England Conservatory (NEC) in nearby Boston.
“I think the fact that Walnut Hill chose to make these new pianos practice room instruments says a lot about the school and demonstrates its commitment to providing excellent learning experiences,” Murphy says, noting the initial purchase included seven Model M, two Model O, and one Model B grand pianos. In 2014, the school conducted a live gala auction and added another Model B as well as a Model A and Model 1098.
Matching an exquisite group of Steinways with a requisite need for seclusion and privacy really makes the practice hours count. Students like Evren Ozel, ’17, are constantly exploring new musical opportunities: “Getting a chance to practice, rehearse and perform on Steinway pianos allows the Walnut Hill pianists to consistently work on growing not just in terms of our pianistic ability, but also our tone production and musical imagination.”
Jonathan Bass, a Steinway Artist and faculty member for the Walnut Hill-NEC initiative, emphasizes that the pianos are greatly enhancing practice experiences. “These superb instruments offer an infinite variety of touch and color, inspiring students to develop the musical imagination and technical precision they need to realize their artistic potential,” he says.
Walnut Hill opened as a boarding school for young women in 1893. The school transitioned to a coeducational institution in the 1970s and shifted its mission to be arts focused. It now serves as the only independent arts boarding high school on the East Coast.