If you’ve ever wanted to channel one of the piano greats – Liberace, Van Cliburn, Horowitz, or maybe Billy Joel or Norah Jones – the University of Utah is providing the perfect forum on Sept. 4 as they host three of the “Play Me, I’m Yours” pianos from last summer’s downtown Salt Lake exhibition.
The U’s School of Music is marking the 100th anniversary of its piano department this year. To celebrate in an unusual way, the “Sit Down & Tickle the Ivories” pianos will be outdoors near the Library Plaza and the Union Building to welcome and encourage anyone in the campus community to take a musical break that day. There will also be scheduled performances on Sept. 4 from 11 a.m. to noon during the annual “Arts Bash” hosted by the College of Fine Arts. The pianos will be on campus from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The three pianos were originally part of the 2012 summer project sponsored by the Utah Museum for Contemporary Art, the Downtown Alliance and dozens of business and civic organizations. From that project, seven pianos were donated to Legacy Music Alliance (LMA), a nonprofit foundation, to be used in LMA’s Instruments To Students project benefiting local schools and school children. Before they reach their final destinations, LMA arranged to put them on public display one more time in conjunction with the School of Music’s “100 Years of Piano” celebration.
Dr. Michael Huff, LMA’s Executive Program Director, said the partnership with the U “is a wonderful way for music to happen in unexpected ways and places. Placing pianos in people’s way instead of forcing folks to seek them out is a brilliant idea! I love the idea of music happening anywhere and everywhere – not just in concert halls.”
“At the School of Music great music happens when creativity, imagination and dedication find expression in a moment of discovery,” says James Gardner, professor and chair of music at the U. “We are honored to celebrate 100 years of great piano performance and teaching. This year we set the stage for the next 100 years. Come join us!”
To inspire piano playing in the fresh air, the School of Music is spicing things up. Those who post a video of the ivories getting tickled to Instagram, Vine, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag “#Upiano” can win a $100 iTunes gift card. The winning entry will also become part of the archive of the year-long anniversary celebrations. Entries posted by Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. will be judged — and the winner awarded the iTunes gift card — by the School of Music.
The U’s annual “Arts Bash” welcomes students back with a lively introduction to all the arts available on campus. All U students have a passport to the arts with their student ID cards, which can be used for free or significant discounts on performance venues across campus. The “Arts Bash” is a showcase of live performances, music, theater, dance and film. More information is available at http://www.finearts.utah.edu/upcomingevent/arts-pass-bash/.
About Legacy Music Alliance
Legacy Music Alliance was organized in 2010 as a non-profit association to bolster music education in the Intermountain West and increase Utah’s stature as a prominent national music education and resource center. Program resources are focused on aspiring artists who wish to develop their craft, as well as music students educators, and professionals. The mission of the Alliance is comprehensive in scope providing everything from master classes, group lessons, and business skills to professional collaboration, and monetary support. The Alliance addresses urgent needs identified by music educators in the public classroom, and assists talented artists whose talent and ambitions are promising. The Legacy Music Alliance is headed by CEO Gaylen Rust, a successful Utah businessman. His leadership team includes a talented and determined group of successful music educators and professionals. LMA is an education-based 501(c)(3) non-profit charity. For more information go to http://www.legacymusicalliance.org/