We are excited to share this news from Peter Dobrin in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer on the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition…Congratulations to Daniel Hsu, a 19-year-old Curtis Institute of Music student, and to Curtis graduate, Yekwon Sunwoo, 28. Both have made it to the finals!

Curtis pianist makes it to Van Cliburn finals

May 29, 2017. Daniel Hsu from the United States performs during the Quarterfinal Round on Monday at The Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Ralph Lauer)

Daniel Hsu, a 19-year-old Curtis Institute of Music student, has made it to the finals of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for pianists 18 to 30 years old.

He is one of six pianists who will now compete in the final round, the competition announced late Monday night in Fort Worth, Texas.

Also a finalist is Curtis graduate Yekwon Sunwoo, 28, now studying in Germany.

Hsu – who has studied with Eleanor Sokoloff and Gary Graffman at Curtis – came to the school as an 11-year-old, and is slated to return in the fall. He is one of three Hsu siblings to have studied at Curtis. The Van Cliburn, held every four years, started this year with 146 applicants, who were cut to 30, then 20, 12, and now six.

“I would be lying if I said there wasn’t any stress or pressure, but I grew up watching documentaries of the competition, and it never occurred to me that I would actually play in one, so getting to play here and being part of the whole experience is really cool,”  Hsu said in Sunday’s Inquirer. “For example, in the first round, I played Don Juan by Liszt [Réminiscences de Don Juan], and one of my first memories of the Van Cliburn was hearing somebody play that piece … and 10 years later, I am playing it myself here.”

Sokoloff said she had been following online – watching and listening to Hsu’s performances at the competition from her summer home in Maine. “I was thrilled with his performance of Pictures [at an Exhibition]. I heard the Mozart concerto. He’s playing with all his heart and soul, that’s all I can say.”

Hsu is the youngest finalist in the competition. Sokoloff, who has taught at Curtis for eight decades, turns 103 on June 16.

The final round of the prestigious competition – whose top prize brings a cash award of $50,000 and three years of career management with U.S. and international concert dates – take place Thursday through Saturday. Finals consist of performances of a piano quintet with the Brentano String Quartet, and a concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin, who is also chairman of the jury.

Hsu will play the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor.

Winners will be announced at 7 p.m. Saturday at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall.

Sunwoo earned his bachelor’s degree at Curtis, a master’s at the Juilliard School, and he studied with Richard Goode at the Mannes School of Music. He currently studies with Bernd Goetzke in Hanover, Germany. The other finalists are Kenneth Broberg, 23, of the U.S.; Rachel Cheung, 25, Hong Kong; Yury Favorin, 30, Russia; and Georgy Tchaidze, 29, Russia.

Performances can be viewed at www.cliburn.org. Tickets to the broadcast of the Saturday finals – being shown in area movie theaters, including the Riverview Plaza 17 and King of Prussia Stadium 16 – are available at www.FathomEvents.com.

WE ARE VERY PLEASED TO HAVE SUPPORTED THE WONDERFUL PIANO EXTRAVAGANZA AT LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE ON SATURDAY! In the photographs below, talented young pianists are shown rehearsing at our Ephrata, PA showroom.

After nearly 2 decades, Piano Extravaganza concert returns, featuring young performers from Lancaster County


As a triplet, Aaron Hungerford is used to competing for space and working as a team.

Soon he will be competing with three other students for space on the piano keyboard as they team up to present an eight-handed performance in the Piano Extravaganza at 7 Saturday evening at Lancaster Bible College.

Dubbed Fitz’s Fabulous Foursome (for their piano teacher, Janet Fitz), these musicians are among 160 piano students who will participate in a multipiano concert that’s being revived after almost a two-decade hiatus.

The Lancaster Music Teachers Association, a group of private teachers, is hosting the event to benefit SWAN: Scaling Walls a Note at a Time. The local organization provides music instruction and experiences to children whose parents are incarcerated.

Planning for 2 years

The Piano Extravaganza will be the ninth event of its kind but the first in 19 years. Linda Krick, co-chairperson of the event, said the extensive break between concerts was largely due to the amount of work it takes to organize them.

“Seventeen years went by without anyone being willing to step forward,” Krick said of the organizational positions.

According to Krick, the other challenging issue was having a space to practice and the use of the grand pianos for the concert. Jacobs Music of Ephrata solved that problem by providing a rehearsal space as well as the pianos for the performance, free of charge.

With this boost, the association proceeded to plan for the event, which has taken about two years.

The Piano Extravaganza will feature 10 grand pianos on stage. Each of the nine groups of students and teachers will play two pieces together on all the pianos.

J. Robert Spence, assistant professor of music at Elizabethtown College, will direct the performance, which will include duets, trios and quartets.

Among the selections are “Sleeping Beauty Waltz,” “Over the Rainbow” from the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” “Bring Him Home,” from the musical, “Les Miserables,” “Don’t Stop Believing,” by the rock band Journey, “Washington Post March,” and a finale of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” featuring the music teachers themselves.

Orchestra of pianos

Molly McDyer, a student from Ephrata who has been playing piano for 11 years, is most looking forward to the finale.

Molly cited the personal preparation for the performance as one of the biggest challenges.

“I had to make sure I knew my part 100 percent, inside and out, so that the group could be the best it could be,” she said.

As both a member of an orchestra and a solo pianist, Molly is looking forward to mixing both sides of the musical spectrum into the orchestra of pianos that the performance is intended to be.

“Students never have a chance to play with a conductor in an orchestra of pianos,” Krick said, citing the benefit of this concert for the students.


 We’re pleased to share the following article from the Princeton Patch…

Arts & Entertainment

Princeton Festival’s Second Week To Include First Ever Festival Pops Concert

The finals of a young pianist competition will be held and the musical “Man of La Mancha” will open.

PRINCETON, NJ — The second week of the Princeton Festival begins Friday. This week’s events include the multi-media event of a full orchestra playing popular Disney songs along with scenes from the movies; the opening of the musical “Man of La Mancha;” the finals of a competition for young pianists; and outstanding free lectures.

The Princeton Festival Pops Orchestra strikes up the band for the first-ever Festival Pops concert on Friday, June 9, 8 p.m. in the Richardson Auditorium. The 48-piece professional orchestra will play songs from Disney movies to match scenes from the films on a big screen.

Acclaimed singer/actress and Princeton High School choral director Sarah Pelletier will narrate “Disney in Concert: Around the World.” She will connect the music with the movies. Rising young conductor, composer, arranger, and pianist Brian Eads will lead familiar, well-loved songs from “The Little Mermaid,” “Mary Poppins,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and other favorites.

“Man of La Mancha” opens on Saturday evening, June 10, at 8 p.m. in Matthews Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street, Princeton for the first of 10 performances. Based on the classic novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, this beloved musical follows Quixote as an old man nearing his death who fantasizes that he is a knight-errant striving to make a better world.

He is driven by “The Impossible Dream” while he and his faithful servant Sancho Panza take to the road to battle evil and mankind’s wrongs. The adventures they encounter, comic and moving, are punctuated with songs such as “Dulcinea,” “It’s All the Same,” “Little Bird” and of course “The Impossible Dream.”

There will be additional performances of “Man of La Mancha” on June 15, 16, 17, 22,23, 24 at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees on June 11, 18, 25 at 4 p.m. and a final Saturday matinee on June 24 at 4 p.m.

It is not an impossible dream for nearly 200 accomplished pianists from age 6 to their early 20s who will compete for cash, trophies and glory in the Festival’s Competition for Young Artists. The finals of the competition take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 11, at the Clark Center, The Lawrenceville School.

The Jacobs Music-sponsored event will honor winners and their teachers in six age categories. A free reception follows the final round.

New this year, the winner of the Grand Prize for the most outstanding performer in the competition will get a free trip to a Tanglewood Festival concert and master class, accompanied by a parent and a teacher.

This year’s Festival opera is Beethoven’s “Fidelio,” with performances on June 18 and 25. To expand their enjoyment of the opera, music lovers can take advantage of three free talks during the week, including:

  • Popular lecturer and internationally known authority on music history Scott Burnham, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, will give a talk “On the Heroic in Beethoven’s Fidelio,” on Tuesday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library;
  • Festival favorite Dr. Timothy Urban, who teaches at Rider University, will speak on “Rescued by Beethoven’s Fidelio” on Wednesday, June 14 at 7 p.m. in the West Windsor Library and on Thursday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library; and
  • Marianne Grey will repeat her talk on “Leonore, A New Kind of Heroine” on Wednesday, June 14 at 7 p.m. at Lawrence Library.

For more information and a link to ticket sales (handled by McCarter Theatre), visit www.princetonfestival.org. To purchase tickets by phone, call McCarter Theatre at 609-258-2787.

The attached images were provided by Princeton Festival organizers




Jacobs Music is proud to collaborate with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to raise funds for the hospital’s Music Therapy Program.  The Music Therapy Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia helps children and families cope with pain, stress, fear, and other challenges of being in the hospital.  Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.  Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia believes in the clinical proof that music therapy improves the lives of its patients.

Jacobs Music has a strong personal connection to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as many family members of Jacobs employees have been treated there, most notably Giulianna Rinaldi, daughter of Jacobs Music Vice President Robert Rinaldi and his wife Kimberly Touch Rinaldi.  Giulianna was born with Down Syndrome and two heart defects.  Her family remains deeply grateful to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for saving her life.  To read more, please visit: http://givingangelsfoundation.org//giulianna-s-heart

In addition to online fundraising, Jacobs Music is also holding a variety of benefit performances to support music therapy at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  All concerts will be at Immaculata University’s Great Hall of Villa Maria:

Friday, June 9 at 8:00 pm: Performances by Dr. William Carr, Steinway Artist and Chair of Immaculata University’s Music Department, as well as Steve Campitelli and Gregory DiBona.

Saturday, June 10 at 7:00 pm: Friends of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Concert.  Performances by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Music Therapists, Doctors, Nurses, Staff, Patients, and their Siblings.

Thursday, June 8 to Sunday, June 11: *Children Helping Children: Perform-A-Thon Benefit for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Music Therapy Department.

*Music Teachers: We invite your students to participate in the upcoming Perform-A-Thon!  For more information, please contact your Sales Associate or Eric Benson at 484-479-4621 or eric@jacobsmusic.com.




Shown above are (left) Sally Coveleskie, Steinway & Sons; Steven Bresnen, DMA, head of the Music Area of the Arts Department; Department Dean John Mathews; College President, Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt; Professor Edward Ferdinand; with Gabrielle Kazze Rinaldi, Kevin  Heinselman and Bob Rinaldi of Jacobs Music.

On Saturday, May 6, the Bucks County Community College Cultural Affairs Committee presented, UNRIVALED SOUND: A Celebration of Steinway Excellence at the Zlock Performing Arts Center on the College’s beautiful Newtown, PA Campus. The celebration included performances by the College Concert Choir, the Student Jazz Orchestra and a Jazz Faculty quartet. Oscar Hammerstein III was the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. 

Bucks County Community College is the most recent of 14 institutions of higher learning in the region spanning Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania, Southern and Central New Jersey and Delaware to achieve this notable designation.  Of further distinction, BCCC is one of only three two-year colleges in the country to be both an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music and an All-Steinway School.  Now, College faculty and students will learn, practice and perform only on pianos designed by the world-famous Steinway & Sons whose instruments are the piano of choice for serious musicians worldwide. Incomparable sound, unparalleled stability and enduring value make Steinway pianos the overwhelming choice of renowned conservatories, universities, colleges and music program’s around the world.

The All-Steinway Campaign was initiated in 2009 by Professor Edward Ferdinand, who teaches piano, music fundamentals, and ear training at the College. He collaborated with the Bucks County Community College Foundation to write grants and launch a fundraising campaign to make Bucks an All-Steinway School with the support of Professor Steven Bresnen, DMA, the head of the Music Area of the Arts Department, and Department Dean John Mathews. As expressed by Dean Mathews, “Bucks’ All-Steinway School status signifies the substantial investment that the institution has made in its generous support of the Arts Department and in our current and future students.”  Professor Bresnen noted, “By investing in Steinway pianos – high-quality instruments that are prized for their superior craftsmanship and design, reliability, longevity, and persistent value over time – Bucks has provided its music program, students, and faculty with a product of exceptional pragmatic and artistic merit. Having world-class pianos in virtually all of our teaching spaces will benefit every student in the pursuit of musical and academic success. We are most appreciative of the college’s commitment to excellence.”

Kevin Heinselman of Jacobs Music has worked closely with Professors Ferdinand and Bresnen and Dean Matthews to support the Music Area of the Arts Department and its students. He shared, “When I partnered with Bucks County Community College on their All Steinway School campaign, I was immediately impressed with the unwavering resolve to give their students the best instruction, equipment (pianos), experience, and opportunity for success as possible while attending Bucks. I have been fortunate to present the Jacobs Music Company Steinway Award to several exceptional and deserving music students.  I am most impressed however, by the stories shared by alumni. Many have established scholarships, and countless others passionately share their experience about how Bucks County Community College changed their lives. This support comes from several generations of students that truly recognize the commitment to excellence from this great college.”

Jacobs Music and the Rinaldi family are very pleased to congratulate and welcome Bucks County Community College as an All-Steinway School!





Shown in the photographs are the Bucks County Community College Concert Choir, Rochelle Reed, Conductor, with Professor Edward Ferdinand at the Steinway; the Bucks County Community College Jazz band with Professor Jeff Baumeister at the Steinway; Oscar Hammerstein III at the podium; and Sally Covelskie of Steinway & Sons with Gabrielle Kazze Rinaldi, Bob Rinaldi and Kevin Heinselman of Jacobs Music prior to the Bucks County Community College All-Steinway School Celebration.



Curtis graduates told to be ‘soldiers for music’

An inspiring commencement address was given at the Curtis Institute of Music on Saturday by Deborah Borda who received an honorary doctorate during the ceremony. Her words are relevant for all who aspire to careers in music. Please enjoy some of the highlights in Peter Dobrin’s article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.

While the graduating scholars of Haverford College heard this year from author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and University of Pennsylvania students from Sen. Cory Booker, the three dozen or so singers, pianists, violinists, and other musicians taking degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music were implored by an industry leader to become “soldiers for music.”

Deborah Borda, who leaves as president and CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic to take the same spot at the New York Philharmonic Sept. 15, told Saturday’s audience of students, parents, faculty, and guests that “everything I took for granted as a musician first and then managing America’s great orchestras has changed.”

“Orchestras can no longer rely on old-fashioned subscription models,” she said. “Music education is not guaranteed in public schools, and, in a positive sense, the entire history of classical music can all be streamed online for free. So the world I knew, and have worked in, and will continue to work in will not be the one you move through in your careers.”

Many of the students will get an immediate taste of amusician’s work life when the school orchestra takes off Wednesday for a two-week European tour.

In her 15-minute address, Borda, who trained as a violinist and violist, flattered her audience. “You are the elite of … the microkingdom of classical music,” she said. She prodded: “How much time have you spent on your life rather than on your technique?”

Most of all, she urged this audience of super-specialists to lift their heads from their musical scores to figure out how music fits in with larger society. Borda recalled the story of how Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel came to the attention of the orchestra when then-music director Esa-Pekka Salonen heard the 24-year-old conductor in what she recalled him saying was “the best damn Mahler [Symphony No.] 5I ever heard in my life.”

But it was Dudamel’s philosophy about the place of music in society that she said really changed her life. Borda and Dudamel helped affirm music education as central to what American orchestras do by establishing, in 2007, the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, inspired by the El Sistema orchestra-training program in Venezuela, of which Dudamel was a product.

“He changed my way of thinking about music, audiences, social justice — something we don’t often talk about in music — education, and, indeed, the technique of life,” she said.

Yo-Yo Ma, she noted, calls it being a citizen musician, and Mstislav Rostropovich liked to use the phrase “soldiers for music.” Dudamel calls music “a fundamental human right,” she said, like clean water, air, and education.

“Together, we have to forge a more profound and timely connection between our music, the music that we love, and the rest of the world,” she said.

An honorary doctorate was conferred upon Borda. Voice teacher Marlena Kleinman Malas was presented with a lifetime achievement award, student prizes were handed out, and Schumann and Walton rose from the Field Concert Hall organ. Several students were not present to accept their diplomas at Curtis’ 84th commencement for the best of reasons: They were out of town, already engaged for concerts. Five students were recognized for graduating high school, a moment that underlined a young age not uncommon at Curtis.

After speeches, the graduates filed out. But first, each stopped to shake hands with Eleanor Sokoloff, sitting at the end of a row near the exit. Sokoloff is 102, and she has been on the piano faculty at the school for eight decades. The moment wasn’t planned, but it was a spontaneous bit of pageantry that seemed just right. A diploma might make it official. But a moment of recognition from a woman regarded as something of the school’s queen mother seals the deal spiritually. pdobrin@phillynews.com

215-854-5611 inquirerpeter

The 2017 Jacobs Music Steinway Award was presented to pianist, Lillian Noble by Jim Strite of Jacobs Music Company.


The award was presented at an outdoor ceremony on May 3, 2017.

The Jacobs Music Company Steinway Award is given in recognition of Outstanding Pianistic Ability, Musicianship, and Artistic and Academic Scholarship at Millersville University.

We extend our sincere congratulations to Lillian Noble!




Beautiful murals were on display at Jacobs Music of West Chester depicting the University’s history, painted by freshman students in Cheyney’s Academic Learning Communities course, which is the collaborative effort of twelve faculty members and Associate Provost Dr. Tara Kent. Marietta Dantonio-Madsen, art professor and Chairperson of Fine Arts, Design, and Liberal Studies at Cheyney University, organized and worked with students on the impressive exhibit.



There was a wonderful piano recital by Toni Caldwell-Hall who performed works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, and Ralph Simpson, among others. Ms. Hall currently serves in the Cheyney University Fine Arts Department as instructor of African American Music History, Music Theory, Solfeggio, Dictation and Piano. She is also the accompanist for the Cheyney University Concert Choir. Among her accomplishments as a solo recitalist, she has toured the South, Midwest, and Northeast United States and has played with the Memphis and Nashville Symphony Orchestras. Locally, she has performed in piano recitals at Temple University, duo piano recitals with Dr. George Allen, and the premier of George Allen’s Summer People, Winter People at Settlement Music School. She serves in Philadelphia as pianist for the Germantown SDA Church and as minister of music at St. James Episcopal Church of Kingsessing.

The Cheyney University Concert Choir’s Master Quartet also joined in the celebration with a beautiful performance with Ms. Hall at the piano. We congratulate all of our friends at Cheyney University on a historic 180 years and wish to express our appreciation for allowing us to participate in the celebration!