Steinway and Sons representatives from New York City and Washington, D.C., officially presented the All-Steinway School plaque to President Gray, Board of Trustees Chair Tom Barron, and Professor of Music Judith Cline (left to right). Hollins joins George Mason University, James Madison University, Radford University, and Episcopal High School in Alexandria as Virginia’s only All-Steinway Schools.
On Founder’s Day, the campus community celebrated Hollins’ designation as an All-Steinway School
Music—most notably, piano music—was this year’s Founder’s Day theme. The All-Steinway celebration began with the late-afternoon campus convocation. The huge, glossy-black grand piano that dominated the altar area of duPont Chapel was put through its paces throughout the ceremony, with piano performances by Naomi Fukuda ’15 and Jessica Newberne ’14 and by choir director Shelbie Wahl-Fouts, accompanied by Liz Valvano ’15 (bassoon) and Birdie Trotter ’15 (flute). Professor of Music Judith Cline sang Richard Strauss’s “Morgen!,” accompanied by pianist Barbara Mackin, and pianists Kerry Morgiewicz and Melia Garber accompanied the Concert Choir. T. J. Anderson III, associate professor of English, read his jazz poem “Prelude to a Kiss” to an accompaniment by Morgiewicz.
The celebration continued that evening with a spectacular performance by pianist Alexander Schimpf, who has won a series of competitions, most recently the Cleveland International Piano Competition. His performance showed both his personal range—he played pieces by Bach, Brahms, Debussy, Chopin, Grieg, and Kapustin—and the marvelous capacities of the Steinway on which he performed.
Becoming an All-Steinway School was a 10-year journey, which reached its destination last summer with the purchase of seven new pianos. To receive the designation, 90 percent of an institution’s pianos must be Steinway or Boston instruments (Boston is a Steinway brand that responds well to the rigors of the institutional setting). Hollins’ instrument collection contains nine Steinway grand pianos, four Boston grand pianos, and seven Boston upright pianos. The effort was funded by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.
“Prelude to a Kiss”
T. J. Anderson III, associate professor of English Steinway dedication poem for Founder’s Day
February 20, 2014
aloft in the wooden brocade
of this sacred space.
A chord perhaps,
plaintive and pianissimo.
The manner in which a piano unravels
this prelude to a kiss.
So let these words weave their way across
the vast savannah of air that separates us.
May this song arabesque inside
the sacred curve of your ear.
May this sounding womb
once sculpted from a tree
invite a mosaic of fingers to play
to touch us inside with the music of the cosmos.
This piano is a reflecting pond.
The keys are brightly colored koi
lazily darting among a solitary lotus,
pedals oxygenating the murk.
Or see it as a bison, the last of its kind
wagging her massive head,
moaning to a rhythm we intuitively know.
I offer you this:
This piano, the prelude,
this poem, this kiss.
So tell me now what is it?
What is it?
What is it
that rises up into
the rafters to lift you
to give birth to your own
hauntingly beautiful song?
Emma Sperka ’12 and Susanna Young ’09 returned to Hollins to reprise their roles in Decision Height during February’s theatre festival.
Decision Height reaches new level
Student’s play wins national honors
Hollins more than doubled its population in February when it cohosted with Mill Mountain Theatre the Region Four festival of the 56th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). Some 900 students and faculty from colleges and universities in the Southeast met to share ideas and showcase their work.
The play Decision Height, by Meredith Dayna Levy ’12, a current student in Hollins’ M.F.A. program in playwriting, had been previously selected by KCACTF to be shown during the festival. The play earned four more citations from KCACTF: Outstanding Production of a New Work; Distinguished Director of a New Work (presented to Associate Professor of Theatre Ernie Zulia); Distinguished Achievement, Performance and Production Ensembles; and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg National Student Playwriting Award for Levy. “I could not have asked for a more beautifully supportive and constructive development process than that which Todd Ristau [director of the M.F.A. program in playwriting], Ernie Zulia, Bob Moss [a member of the M.F.A. faculty], and my undergraduate and graduate peers have so generously provided,” said Levy. “In addition, this play has had some really incredible opportunities because of the support and trust that the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival had in the script, and I feel really lucky to have had that support so early in my playwriting career.”