OXFORD, OHIO – One string at a time, Jon Ralinovsky winds his way through the fleet of  Steinway & Sons pianos in the College of Creative Arts at Miami University. His tuning is meticulous and time-consuming, so he was thrilled when the school recently acquired more than 30 new Steinway-designed Boston pianos.

“I really enjoy the tone of the Boston uprights and find them easy to work on,” says Ralinovsky, who endorses the ongoing campaign to make MU an All Steinway School. “Getting all our pianos from one manufacturer makes it easier to have parts on hand for any necessary repairs or parts replacements.”

Willis Music in Cincinnati equipped the school with 31 Boston UP-118s uprights for practice rooms, classrooms and faculty studios. A Boston GP-215 Performance Edition grand piano occupies an ensemble rehearsal room. “It’s a vast improvement over the 70-year-old piano that was there,” Ralinovsky said, noting he’s received positive feedback from students and faculty regarding the new instruments.

Presser Hall, named after Theodore Presser, renowned music publisher and philanthropist, houses classrooms, practice rooms, faculty studios and music libraries at Miami University.
Dr. Christopher Tanner

MU has 15 Steinway grands and is fiercely intent on joining the All-Steinway roster, according to Matthew Powell, Piano and Institution Manager at Willis.  “Jon has been a major driver in this process. He’s done a wonderful job maintaining some very old instruments, but he can only do so much,” Powell said.

Music Department Chair Dr. Christopher Tanner anticipates a day in the near future when MU will join the All-Steinway ranks. “The Steinway brand is evocative of excellence and the All-Steinway designation indicates that a program exhibits the highest standards of quality,” he says. 

MU has a proud and storied past. Chartered in 1809, it is one of the oldest universities in the country and the Oxford campus has 188 buildings spread over more than 2,100 acres. The music program is a magnet for double majors as students opt to couple their passion with diverse fields like architecture, engineering and biophysics. Senior Nathan Rayens even managed a triple major in music performance, manufacturing engineering and mechanical engineering with a minor in supply chain management over four years. 

“We prepare students to be independent thinkers, problem solvers, community leaders and global citizens,” explains Dr. Tanner. “We take pride in our professional degree programs which prepare students for a career in music, while also embracing the notion that some future career paths may not exist at the present moment, given the dynamic and fluid nature of modern society. The strong liberal education focus at Miami University addresses this issue.”

Powell, Robert Falcon and Kevin Cranley at Willis Music have been working with the music department since 2013. Powell notes the school is just a few pianos shy of the All-Steinway goal.  “I believe that becoming All-Steinway will be the cornerstone to significant growth and quality recruiting at Miami University,” he says.

the piano with Steinway DNA

Whether dazzling at the concert hall, woodshedding in the practice room, or exploring the joy of music at home, the Steinway-designed Boston brings the genuine world-class tone and responsiveness within reach.

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