Company fills vacant floors with music

Virtuosos tickle ivory at biennial piano gala

Virtuosos tickle ivory at biennial piano gala

Nate Billings

For those who wanted to host competitors in the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition, but did not have a piano to practice on, the Steinway Gallery has come to the rescue.

The company provided five grand pianos to host families, two grands and one upright to the University, as well as one grand at Hastings.

Philip Schoonmaker, owner and president of the Steinway Gallery in Springfield, said this is the first time the Gallery has done a promotion of this kind.

“The organization (MSIPC) is one of the finest in the area,” Schoonmaker said.

He is promoting it through loaning the pianos to the University and families.

“Part of my goal in providing the pianos was to widen the awareness of the event and piano playing in the area,” he said.

Schoonmaker said the event has had positive results in gaining recognition in gaining recognition of the fine arts, especially in the area of musical interest.

“Steinway has always been, for the past 100 years, a strong supporter of the arts,” Schoonmaker said.

The pianos at the University will reside in Taylor Auditorium and Webster Hall auditorium. The original plan was to provide six pianos for the host families; however, due to shipping problems, the company could only provide five.

Greg Hulme, piano technician, is helping the University keep the pianos in shape as the contestants compete.

He tunes the pianos completely three times a day and continues to keep them in check after every few performances.

He said the pianos are among the best for this performance.

Schoonmaker said the pianos are from the Steinway inventory and are available for purchase by anyone. The pianos will be picked up and returned to Springfield on Monday.

He is happy to provide the pianos for the competition but not simply for business purposes.

“I think the competition is worthy of the support of anyone who loves the art of the piano,” he said.