Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State University Recognized as First Public University in New England to Receive the All-Steinway School Designation

University recently welcomed the installation of 20 new Steinway & Sons pianos

Westfield State University has earned the renowned designation as an All-Steinway School, fueled by a $1.1 million anonymous gift made to purchase 20 Steinway & Sons pianos. Westfield State is the only public university in New England to earn the All-Steinway School designation and one of less than 140 colleges or universities around the world to achieve it.

The official announcement was made at a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony held September 23 in the university’s newly renovated Catherine Dower Center for the Performing and Fine Arts on Westfield State’s campus.

“This is a game-changer for Westfield State,” said Brendan Murphy, vice president and director for Institutional Sales at M. Steinert & Sons, Steinway & Sons’ area distributor. “The All-Steinway School distinction elevates Westfield State’s commitment to excellence.”

Following the historic $1.1 million donation announcement in May and the resulting commitment to purchase a brand new fleet of Steinway & Sons pianos, a team of faculty and students was assembled to begin the careful and precise selection process for the specific pianos that would ultimately make their way to Westfield State. 

“The purchase of exclusively Steinway & Sons pianos allows Westfield State to join the ranks of some of the most prestigious schools in the world and enjoy the coveted All-Steinway School designation,” said Westfield State Department of Music Chair Dr. Andrew Bonacci, who last month traveled with the selection team to the Steinway & Sons factory and showroom in New York City to tour the factory and select the concert grands of the university’s new fleet.

“Not many people get to experience this, to see where these instruments are coming from. The whole experience is surreal,” said junior Music Education student Veronica Rovatti from Feeding Hills, Massachusetts.   

The delivery of the unrivaled pianos took place in August and early September. The world-class instruments have been installed throughout the new Dower Center for performances, practice and lessons. Some will also be used for other performance areas on campus. Among the 20 new Steinways are 13 grand pianos, including two Model D concert grands, and seven uprights.

In addition to including the official announcement and presentation of a plaque from Steinway & Sons, the Sept. 23 event served as a ribbon cutting and naming dedication honoring the late Catherine Dower, longtime chair of the university’s Department of Music, professor emerita and major donor.

“There is a different energy in the Dower Center this semester,” said Westfield State University President Dr. Ramon Torrecilha. “This historic donation, and the resulting All-Steinway designation, has infused new life to the pride we all feel for Westfield State. For many more decades to come our faculty will teach and our students will learn and perform using the very best instruments of our time.”

“Thanks to the selfless generosity of an anonymous individual, future performers and music educators will study in a world-class environment,” said Westfield State University Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dr. Erica Broman. 

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