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UCO earns prestigious All-Steinway School designation

UCO College of Fine Arts and Design Artist in Residence Valery Kuleshov gives instruction to a student using one of the university’s more than 50 Steinway pianos. [Photo provided]
UCO College of Fine Arts and Design Artist in Residence Valery Kuleshov gives instruction to a student using one of the university’s more than 50 Steinway pianos. [Photo provided]

EDMOND — When students and faculty returned to the University of Central Oklahoma School of Music this fall, they discovered the university had been welcomed to the elite global family of “All-Steinway Schools,” the culmination of more than a decade of fundraising.

At the beginning of August, UCO officially joined an exclusive society of more than 150 schools worldwide with the “All-Steinway School” designation, according to a news release.

“Our students, faculty and guest artists are now practicing, learning and performing on the finest pianos in the world. This is a watershed milestone in the history of the UCO School of Music,” Brian Lamb, director of the School of Music, said in a statement.

As a requirement for the designation, all performance spaces, piano teaching studios and practice rooms for piano majors must be equipped with Steinway pianos. Additionally, all pianos in an All-Steinway School must be kept in performance-quality condition, therefore a Steinway-approved maintenance program must be in place, according to the release.

“Achieving the coveted designation of an ‘All-Steinway School’ positions us among the top arts programs in Oklahoma,” said Steven Hansen, dean of the UCO College of Fine Arts and Design, in a statement.

“Internally, we have long recognized that the quality of our faculty, students and programs are perpetually exemplary. This designation allows the external validation for the quality of our School of Music to more closely match our internal assessment.”

UCO purchased its first Steinway grand piano for Mitchell Hall Theatre in late 1999. In 2001, leadership in the then-newly formed College of Arts, Media and Design began discussions and planning for what eventually would become the All-Steinway Initiative, according to the release.

Since, the college has undergone a name change to the College of Fine Arts and Design, but the initiative endured with the greatest momentum and progress happening in recent years.

“Out of the 56 pianos in the School of Music, 52 are now Steinway brands with more than half of those being purchased within the last five years,” Lamb said in a statement.

“I want to thank our partners at Edmond Music as well as all of our amazing donors and the School of Music faculty for supporting this initiative.”

Lamb credits the large fundraising gains to college leadership and staff making the initiative a priority.

“Achieving this goal required dedicated and selfless teamwork. Faculty donated time, funds and performances. Donors proved their dedication to UCO through selfless giving and timely ideas. The Development team coordinated these efforts, provided focused guidance and mapped our road to success. The success of this effort required multiple components, participants and the innate generosity that is one of the hallmarks of Oklahomans,” Hansen added.

For more information about the UCO School of Music, go to music.uco.edu. For a complete listing of UCO College of Fine Arts and Design events and performances, go to cfad.uco.edu.

Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1... Read more ›

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