Durham and Steinway: A match made in heaven

Mary-Anne Grego

There is, quite literally, no greater music to a pianist’s ears than the topic of Steinway Pianos. Luckily for me, here’s an entire blog dedicated to them! Why you ask? Because as of the academic year 2021/2022, Durham University is becoming an all Steinway Uni!!! *queue cheering*

Students practicing
Students practicing

Firstly, Steinway’s are the crème de la crème of pianos. Having pretty much unlimited access to such first-class instruments is a bit of dream! Access to these facilities is so rare in the big wide world, let alone within a University Institution.

Secondly, with the two past years being musically silent, it is only fitting that with the Proms and West End musicals back on, that vibrant piano playing returns to Durham! Long gone are the days of the locked North Bailey practise rooms and long live the (enjoyably) calamitous sounds of Steinways roaring across the city.

Playing a Steinway

Thirdly, it really is match made in heaven. With so many talented musicians in every corner of our university, it’s only logical that we have equally as excellent facilities to back them up! One could say Steinway is the Tom to Durham’s Jerry, the major to our minor, the Nocturn to our Chopin. Excitingly, we in the north are the only All-Steinway Uni in the country!

Students playing piano

I’ve been playing the piano for just over 15 years of my life. The original (much hushed) reason I wanted to learn the piano was due to a Pavlov’s dog esque scenario: my first lesson I was given sweets, therefore for 5-year-old me, piano + lesson = treats. Little did I know that the beautiful Steinway grand I was sitting on would begin a musical journey that would continue indefinitely. I associate Steinway pianos with my opportunities as a child to play not only a great instrument, but one of the finest versions of that instrument in the world.

Fast forward ten years, we have another definitive Steinway memory. Considering these instruments are really state of the art stuff, it is quite surprising that my piano teacher thought that 10 hands, 5 teenagers, and one very boisterous arrangement of ‘Circus Gallop’ was the best was forward. But, here we were, squished up close with each other and the Steinway cooperating in one of the most fun and exciting musical performances I have ever done.

1 piano, 10 hands

If this hasn’t already tickled your ivories, then perhaps the upcoming Steinway artist masterclass in the Steinway Hall in Marylebone will! Taking place in October, this masterclass is an opportunity that very few people, let alone universities, have access to. I am already jumping up and down with excitement and cannot wait for what this next academic year has in hold!

Steinway Masterclass

Mary-Anne Grego

My name is Mary-Anne Grego, and I am a third year Liberal Arts student at St. Cuthbert’s Society. I am studying English Lit, Politics and Music, and a first-generation university student.

I am a Weldon Le Hurray Music Scholar and am part of DUOS and DUPO (Durham Orchestra’s) alongside doing various bits and bobs on the piano!

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