Unveiling ISKL’s New Grand Piano
What does it feel like to play a grand piano? According to Celine T., who performed Debussy’s “Reflets Dan L'eau" (Reflections in the Water) at the first recital featuring ISKL’s new grand piano, it gives her much greater ability to express the piece she is playing. She says, “Especially with the piece I performed, the grand piano was able to produce stronger dynamic contrasts, with richer sounding notes and a more brilliant sustaining tone quality. This contributed to the mysterious quality of the piece and I felt like I was really able to bring out the "water" theme through my running notes and sweeping arpeggios.”
Celine was one of 11 student pianists who were joined by Head of School, Rami Madani, to perform in the recital held in the Robert B. Gaw Theatre on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. The performers ranged in age and experience, and included students from Grade 4 to Grade 12.
The grand piano is a much-cherished new addition to the ISKL Music Department and was purchased with the assistance of a grant from ISKL’s community-supported Inspiration Fund. The Inspiration Fund was established to assist ISKL students to achieve excellence, and the purchase of the grand piano is a wonderful example of the Inspiration Fund in action. High School Choir teacher and recital organizer Ms. Jaymin Baird says, “Students at ISKL have access to world-class instruments and the addition of the full grand piano is one that brings ISKL to the next level. The piano will be used at concerts in Robert B. Gaw for our community and any guest artists visiting. It will be a huge feature of (IASAS) Cultural Convention when we host in 2021.”
A grand piano has 12,000 parts, 10,000 of which are moving, and only 88 of those are keys. It’s the intricacy of the design and engineering that takes the pianist’s performance to the next level. Celine explains what makes it so different: “The grand piano, with its horizontal strings, lets the hammers create more resonance and sound when striking the keys. The Upright is strung vertically so the sound is not as rich and expressive as the grand. Having said that, the grand piano also has a platform like soundboard which allows the sound to reverberate further, giving the pianist more potential to create a myriad of dynamics and colors in piano playing.”
Ms. Baird agrees, “The dynamics and nuance that can be made on a full Yamaha grand piano are so much more than a baby grand or upright piano. The touch and response of the keys is also at a higher level than other types of pianos.”
For this “unveiling” event, the grand piano was put through its paces, with students performing Classical as well as Jazz and Contemporary pieces, in groups and solo. The repertoire was varied and showcased the versatility of this beautiful instrument.
While Celine has had considerable experience playing on a grand piano, that hasn’t dampened her excitement in ISKL’s latest musical acquisition. She says, “It's very exciting for ISKL to finally own a grand piano, which is definitely an upgrade from the baby grand. I'm also looking forward to playing more pieces on the grand piano!”
If you missed this first recital, you will be able to see the grand piano in action at the Middle School and High School music concerts in December.
Video of Performances
- Beyond Classrooms