Generous Gift Provides Superior Quality Steinway Pianos for UConn’s Music Students

Avatar photo
Jennifer Eburg

2 min read

“Acquiring the best possible musical instruments for our piano students is the equivalent of our biology students having the best equipment in the lab,” says Angelina Gadeliya, director of keyboard studies and professor of piano. “Being able to get a beautiful quality sound is so vital for the success of all of our music students.”

This is why Gadeliya says a recent gift to fund the purchase of 13 new Steinway upright pianos is so important. The support of the Lawrence J. and Natalie D. Portell Foundation, Persbacker Foundation, and Jean and Richard Widmark Foundation allows students to play pianos that are world renowned for their superior quality and sound.

“Steinway uses the best quality tools and materials out there to create a piano that has unrivaled tonal quality, unrivaled beauty, and a sound that has been described as coming the closest to the breathing human voice,” Gadeliya says.

Grace Nieh, a sophomore double majoring in piano performance and elementary education, appreciates having the opportunity to practice and perform on Steinway pianos because of the distinct difference between Steinways and other pianos.

“It’s a completely different experience than performing on other brands,” she says. “There’s definitely a greater dynamic range that you can’t replicate on other pianos.”



Sangwoo Park, a first-year doctoral student studying piano performance, agrees.

“The Steinway pianos have a really soft, warm tone,” he says. “When I play a Steinway piano, it’s really easy to control, so it’s helpful for me to perform and listen. It’s a great experience for me.”

The Portell, Persbacker, and Widmark Foundations’ gift also resulted in significant progress in UConn’s quest to becoming an All-Steinway School. The School of Fine Arts has worked for many years to reach this distinction, earned when at least 90 percent of an institution’s pianos are Steinways.

All-Steinway status is a prestigious accomplishment for music programs.

“There are not that many All-Steinway Schools, even among the top conservatories in the U.S. Acquiring the All-Steinway status will really set UConn apart,” Gadeliya says. “Having All-Steinway status will demonstrate to high level music students and faculty that we really value quality and try to provide the best possible opportunities and equipment to our students. This will make them much more competitive on the national and international stage.”

Currently, UConn is about 75 percent of the way to All-Steinway School status. The School of Fine Arts hopes to achieve this goal within the next few years. Donor support is crucial for the School’s ability to make this happen.

“Steinways enrich our community with incredible concert experiences. That’s what the beauty of music is, that it draws communities together and inspires them,” Gadeliya says. “Reaching All-Steinway status would also enrich the learning experiences of our students and show our commitment to excellence as an institution.”

Support The All-Steinway School Fund.

Jonathan at an event in Hartford CT
Connect with fellow Huskies
Don't miss out on alumni events and more

Related Posts

UConn Nation’s Generosity Leads to the Most Successful UConn Gives Yet

UConn Nation’s Generosity Leads to the Most Successful UConn Gives Yet

Read More
Alum Starts Teaching Fellowship at the Law School

Alum Starts Teaching Fellowship at the Law School

Read More
Setting Up a Scholarship was the Best Decision he Ever Made

Setting Up a Scholarship was the Best Decision he Ever Made

Read More