The innovative Lewis Arts Complex creates an arts gateway to unite the university and the city of Princeton. (Photo by Paul Warchol)
Boston pianos provided inspiration for dance studio rehearsals at Princeton University
PRINCETON, NJ – Opening its doors in 2017 after what an official called “the largest piano purchase at Princeton in recent history,” the Lewis Arts complex was equipped with more than 40 pianos by Steinway & Sons.
A rigorous selection process spanned two years and included trips to the Steinway factory in Queens and Jacobs Music in Philadelphia and Lawrenceville. A state-of-the- art venue, the Lewis Arts complex is home to Princeton’s world-class programs in Dance, Theater, Music Theater, and some programs of the Department of Music. The new instrumnts chosen by the Music Department included a Steinway Model D concert grand piano, 10 Model B’s and a mix of smaller grands and uprights including Steinway-designed Boston pianos.
Dance has thrived at Princeton since 1969 and today encompasses ballet, modern, African diaspora, hip hop and other genres. “Student response was enthusiastic and 50 of the 60 in my first class who enrolled were men,” wrote Professor Emerita Ze’eva Cohen in Reflections on 40 Years of Dance at Princeton. “Clearly both female and male students had a hunger for physical expression in an artistic context and a desire to develop self- wareness through movement.”
The Lewis Center provides dance students and faculty with studios featuring Boston pianos, which are becoming the rehearsal instrument of choice for some of the most distinguished ballet companies in North America.
“Our new Boston grands afford us the worry-free ability to immerse ourselves in the music,” says Martha Koeneman, principal pianist with Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia. PA Ballet Pianist Trisha Wolf adds that she “loves” how Boston pianos respond to her touch. “When you play up to eight hours a day, it is such a relief not to have to work extra hard to get the sounds you are trying to achieve. Once we added them to the studios, I barely had any pain in my arms or hands after a long day.”
Maestro David LaMarche of American Ballet Theatre in New York agrees that seemingly endless REhearsals can challenge pianists. “Because of the amount of repetition, you have to be disciplined and try to avoid lapsing into the prosaic. With a good instrument, this is much more enjoyable for everyone. We love the new Boston pianos!”
Jacobs Senior Vice President Robert Rinaldi looks forward to meeting the musical needs of the Lewis Center and Princeton University for years to come. “We were delighted to deliver only the finest instruments for performing arts to Princeton University and we remain firmly committed to maintaining a superior standard of excellence for which they are globally recognized,” he says.