Rock Hall Auditorium of North Broad Street seatus up to 300 guests and offers an intimate venue for chamber music, jazz master classes and visiting artists at Temple University
Lambert Orkis (Photo by Scott Suchman)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Together, they have performed on hundreds of the finest Steinway concert grand pianos at many of the world’s greatest venues. So when Charles Abramovic and Lambert Orkis met at the fabled Steinway factory in Queens, nothing would be left to chance. The new Model D at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance is an expert consensus of collective wisdom from thousands of highly educated keystrokes.
“I am honored to have Lambert, a great musician and pianist, as a colleague at Temple. His knowledge of music and instruments is exhaustive, so he was the natural choice to join me,” says Dr. Abramovic, chair of keyboard studies. “We share a similar educational and artistic background and there was little fear as far as disagreement over our ultimate choice. One of the greatest pleasures of that day was experiencing the consistent quality of all the pianos. We settled on a wonderful instrument with great sound, warmth, clarity and fluent action. It is a piano that perfectly fits our needs for both solo and ensemble performance.”
Professor of Piano Lambert Orkis gained critical acclaim for spirited collaborations with late cellist/conductor Mstislav Rostropovich and more recently, producing memorable evenings at Carnegie Hall with celebrated violinist Anne Sophie-Mutter.
“Charles and I have been introduced to many of the best maintained and most highly considered Steinway concert grands in the world. Playing them reveals that each Steinway is an individual with its own characteristics,” he says. Any selection carries significant responsibility and in this case, Professor Orkis required a sound to complement the cozy confines of Rock Hall Auditorium. “Our recital hall is an intimate space and we were fortunate to find several instruments that would be lovely for our purposes. We took our time and played a variety of repertoire on a number of candidates before choosing an instrument we knew would suit our needs.”
Professor Orkis keeps a prized Model B at home and enjoys playing some of the newest Steinways. “Of course, I revel in the famous ‘Steinway sound’ but I also notice more responsive actions and anextraordinary level of nuance that I can now more easily achieve,” he says. Temple’s updated Steinway inventory also includes a new Model B and three Model M grands. “Purchasing fine piano is a vitally important part of maintaining the educational mission of any music school,” says Dr. Abramovic. “Pianos are used in ensembles, solo performances, choir performance, collaborative recitals, and music theory and education classes. And despite advances in digital pianos, the importance of traditional keyboard instruments remains constant.” Providing the best pianos energizes Temple’s approach to an ever-changing educational environment. “The Boyer College gives students a wide range of opportunities for developing skills to compete in the difficult field of classical music,” he notes. “We maintain ongoing partnerships with many organizations in Philadelphia that so ably assist our students and alumni. Like many schools, the influx of students from Asia (especially China) creates both an exciting and challenging time for arts education. We hope to impart artistic and practical knowledge through our wonderfully diverse faculty.” Professor Orkis agrees.
“Pianists at the Boyer College of Music are fortunate to have such wonderful instruments for performance and practice to assist in fulfilling the college’s musical mission. We are distinguished by being open to a diversity of musical talents, cultivating musicians who will be worthy of international performing careers and those inclined to teach generations of music lovers and provide musical beauty in their communities. Knowing how a piano should sound will give them the knowledge to help guide those whom they influence.”
Dr. Abramovic can hardly contain his enthusiasm when discussing Jacobs Music Company. “Bob and Gabrielle Rinaldi are great people and help us in numerous ways by supporting master classes, giving awards to our finest students, helping facilitate instrument purchases and loans, as well as attending concerts at our school. I cannot say enough great things about these people – they are the best!”