New music center gets its pianos

More than a dozen pianos, many of them costly grand pianos, were moved on Monday into the new Art


More than a dozen pianos, many of them costly grand pianos, were moved on Monday into the new Arthur Zankel Music Center on the Skidmore College campus.

Thomas Denny, chairman of the college’s Department of Music, said there were 22 pianos in the college’s Filene Music Building.

He said two of these are 9-foot, Steinway grand pianos costing $100,000 each. They were moved by workers from Liedkie Moving and Storage of Rotterdam on Monday to the Zankel Music Center’s 600-seat, acoustically tuned concert hall.

“It’s a wonderful new hall, a great new building,” Denny said.

The $32.5 million music center is replacing the Filene Music Building that was opened to music students at the college’s North Broadway campus in the late 1960s. The Filene will be closed for renovations through the spring semester. The building’s future use has not yet been determined.

When Skidmore College music students start classes on Jan. 25 they will being taking notes and playing melodies in the 54,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art music center that has been under construction for the past two years.

The center is located near the college’s main North Broadway entrance and is only about 200 to 300 feet east of the old Filene music building.

The first public performance in the music center’s concert hall will be Feb. 5. The Academy, a teaching program of Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute, will visit Skidmore and perform music by Prokofiev, David Bruce and Shostakovich.

Denny said he and the rest of the music faculty are thrilled with the much larger teaching and rehearsal classrooms in the Zankel.

The music department has been planning the big move for more than six months,

“I actually prepared plans for a chunk of this,” Denny said about moving the pianos.

A grand piano, which can weigh as much as a ton, is moved by taking off its legs and standing it on its side on a dolly so that it can be rolled to a new location.

Denny said Skidmore College purchasing agent Carol Schnitzer closely monitored the piano moving work that will continue today.

The Zankel Music Center will eventually require more than 40 pianos. Denny said these will be acquired in the coming year or so.

Most of the pianos moved Monday were grand pianos, many of them 6- and 7-foot pianos. Denny said the music department also has a few upright pianos.

The Filene music building became overcrowded as the college’s music department has grown. About 20 music majors are graduated by Skidmore College each year but 140 students have music minors and more than 200 Skidmore students take music classes or instrument training.

The music department has 13 full-time and 22 part-time faculty members.

The estate of Arthur Zankel, a longtime Skidmore trustee and parent who died in 2005 in New York City, left the college $42 million, the single largest gift in the college’s history. Some $15 million of this money was used as seed money for the $32.5 million music center project.

The center, with a facade of brick, copper and glass and a terraced outdoor amphitheater, is considered a “signature building” at the gateway to the college.

Categories: Schenectady County

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