An influx of new Boston uprights for Fredonia’s award-winning music school

FREDONIA, NY – Melvin Unger inherited some fine pianos when he assumed the helm as director of the world-class Fredonia School of Music in 2015. The pristine I.M. Pei-designed campus on the shore of Lake Erie makes an attractive setting to study with prestigious faculty and obtain a “conservatory-level quality education at a very affordable price,” he says.

Donors are giving students an opportunity to hone their skills on Boston pianos at Fredonia.
Mason Hall is home to the School of Music, Rosch Recital Hall and Sound Recording Technology (SRT) studios.
Students relax in front of the Williams Center at Fredonia University.

But Dr. Unger also discovered more than a few older uprights in practice rooms that gave him cause for concern. So he was thrilled when donors graciously agreed to purchase five new Boston UP-126 Performance Edition pianos: “Refinishing the tops of those scarred instruments helped their overall look but  now – thanks to our generous patrons – we  have begun replacing them with gleaming new Bostons.”

Piano majors and those pursuing other music degrees all have access to the latest additions in the practice rooms. “These Bostons are wonderful morale boosters for the entire music body,” Dr. Unger says, adding that tuners feel empowered when they go to work on them. “They are a joy to tune and service and they provide a sense of pride to students, faculty and piano technicians alike.”

“These Bostons are wonderful morale boosters for the entire music body.”

Music is one of the most popular majors at Fredonia, a public liberal arts institution which is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) educational network. About 650 students participate in diverse programs ranging from Music Performance and Music Education to Music Therapy and Sound Recording. Piano recitals can get global exposure through multi-camera live streaming provided by students in the Sound Recording Technology program.

With more than 100 years of illustrious musical history to build on, the school recently established a jazz degree program spearheaded by Dr. Nick Weiser, which captured DownBeat’s Large Ensemble undergraduate award for 2019. The Fredonia Wind Ensemble under Dr. Paula Holcomb secured a substantial grant from the New York City-based Sorel Organization, as did the Piano Department under Dr. Eliran Avni, according to Dr. Unger.

The newly-established Institute of Composer Diversity garnered national attention when its founder Dr. Rob Deemer received the Deems Taylor/Virgil Thompson Media Internet Award from ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Poets.

“My greatest satisfaction comes from matching resources with opportunities so that our students and faculty have the tools and opportunities to succeed as artists and teachers and to showcase their talents,” says Dr. Unger. “Our faculty and students are truly remarkable – they deserve to be seen and heard!”

In addition to the new Bostons acquired by the School of Music with donations from alumni and friends, Fredonia purchases new pianos on a three–year cycle. “A year ago, we purchased 11 pianos – almost all Bostons – and donors helped us secure another seven Bostons. Our total inventory consists of 184 pianos. While we are happy with recent replacements, we still have a way to go,” he admits

Peter Wagner, Division of Education at Steinway & Sons, continues to work closely with Dr. Unger and Graham Howes, Head Piano Technician. “It is a privilege to be able to provide SUNY Fredonia with these beautiful Steinway-designed Boston pianos. I look forward to ensuring that students and faculty will have nothing but the best pianos imaginable for the study of music in the years to come,” 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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