Attendees at this year’s Convocation will enjoy a special musical performance of “It’s Your Day” by alumnus Michael Jung on a Steinway & Sons piano.
The performance highlights an initiative to make Cal Poly Pomona an All-Steinway School. Fewer than 160 conservatories, universities and schools of music worldwide bear the title, which signifies that student perform and are taught exclusively on Steinways. The pianos are known are considered by some musicians to be the gold standard for their superior sound and responsive touch.
“Being an All-Steinway School will enhance our ability to recruit talented students in music and further enhance the university’s ability to attract students in other majors who have a musical background,” says Professor Iris Levine, the music department chair.
Cal Poly Pomona would become the first campus in the CSU and UC to earn the distinction. It would join the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the Yale School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music among the educational institutions that exclusively use Steinway pianos.
To become an All-Steinway School, the university is raising $1.5 million to acquire 29 Steinway pianos and $1 million to establish an endowment for their maintenance.
Two brothers who studied engineering at Cal Poly Pomona in the 1980s and synonymous with the Southern California music scene have made the lead gift.
“Cal Poly Pomona has produced many talented graduates for the music industry,” says Paul Tollett, president of Goldenvoice and the visionary behind the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and its country music counterpart, Stagecoach. “This initiative will raise the university’s profile and make it more competitive in attracting top talent.”
Perry Tollett, who owns the Glass House Concert Hall in Pomona and is a partner in the nearby Fox Theater, says the All-Steinway initiative will benefit not only the university, but also the nearby arts community.
“Over the past 20 years, Pomona has gained a worldwide reputation as the musical hub for people who live east of Los Angeles,” he says. “The Fox Theater renovation in 2009 has been huge for us in this regard. Now, an All-Steinway Cal Poly Pomona will push our reputation into circles we have not yet reached.”
With their considerable connections in the music industry, the Tollett brothers plan to take a visible role in helping the university reach its goal.
(Photo: Michael Jung plays a Steinway Grand Piano in the Music Recital Hall.)