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Save the piano: mission accomplished

The new legendary Steinway piano concert grand piano and an upgrade of the 87 other pianos at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. This is the final result of the campaign Save The Piano, which started 5 years ago to provide the students of the Conservatory with the necessary pianos.

In 2014 the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp (AP University College) launched the 'Save the piano' campaign with great ambition, with a playful campaign in deSingel. A great deal of money was needed to upgrade the piano's of the Antwerp School of Arts and its three performing arts courses (music, drama and dance). The students needed a renewed and extended piano collection because of the an important role the instrument plays in all performing arts programmes.

Now, five years later, the piano plan has succeeded and even the biggest dream came true, the purchase of a legendary 'Steinway D Concert Grand piano'. To this end, hundreds of sympathizers and educational partners, both large and small, have collaborated. The partners and donors of the Antwerp Conservatoire Foundation and its chairwoman Cathy Berx, the Conservatoire itself and the Friends of the Conservatoire, under the chair of Fred Schalckens and current chairman Kurt Van Eeghem, also made a considerable contribution.  

Since 2015, large benefit evenings have been organised in which the students themselves, together with artists such as Frank Braley, Raymond van het Groenewoud and Marie Daulne, have presented a full evening's programme, have alternated with dozens of smaller-scale concerts, crowdfunding and the various tailor-made events for companies or private individuals. For six years, for example, more than €100,000 was invested in renewing, restoring or replacing the 87 pianos of the Conservatoire. In short, mission accomplished. 

To crown it all, the Steinway Concert Grand Piano was recently presented to the partners, donors and directors of the Foundation, the Friends and the Antwerp Conservatoire. The general public can come and admire the piano during an aperitif concert on 9 February. Aaron Wajnberg, pianist and group chairman of the Keyboard Instruments department at the Conservatoire, was formal: "The Steinway Concert Wing is more than just a piano, it is a symphonic orchestra encapsulated in a single instrument and it possesses the highest possible degree of perfection on a technical and sound level".

The Conservatoire is proud of the result and grateful for all the large and small support it has received in recent years as part of the 'Save the Piano' campaign. Stefaan De Ruyck, head of the Conservatory, is especially pleased "because in this saving time so many people have a heart for art".

Photo: Students and piano teachers during the performance concert in the White Hall of the Conservatoire.