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Published: Wednesday, 10/8/2008

Local pianist honored to be named Steinway Artist

BY SALLY VALLONGO
BLADE STAFF WRITER

To fans of fine keyboard music, Michael Boyd is already a solid gold pianist with a reputation for exquisite performance style and creative programming.

Now, he also is an official Steinway Artist, perhaps the only one in northwest Ohio.

Just named to a distinguished roster of pianists the list includes hundreds of top musicians, from Emanuel Ax to Krystian Zimerman Boyd was both surprised and pleased by the honor. He doesn t know who nominated him.

It s kind of a humbling experience to think they put you on it, Boyd said last week of the Steinway roster. If you re trying to book concerts, it helps having that tag on your resume.

Plus, the longtime University of Toledo piano professor and scholar notes, If I do a concert in a venue that doesn t have a Steinway, I m guaranteed to have a Steinway.

To underscore that point, Steinway & Sons, the preeminent piano maker in the world, is sending a golden instrument the Roger Williams Piano for Boyd s celebratory performance Sunday.

The first performance of the season s Dorothy MacKenzie Price Piano Series at UT will highlight Boyd performing on the visiting instrument at 3 p.m. in the UT Center for the Performing Arts Recital Hall.

For this concert, they re bringing in the Roger Williams piano, which is gold, Boyd said. The piano has Autumn Leaves on the side. It also has a colorful fall scene painted on the inside of the lid.

So will the audience at this free, public event be hearing the rippling arpeggios of the popular song? I will not be playing Autumn Leaves, proclaimed Boyd with a laugh. He has a far more ambitious program planned.

First comes Scarlatti keyboard aficionados expect that and then some Flamenco-influenced Spanish music by Carlos Surinach. Instead of a classical sonata, I m doing a Bartok work, Boyd said.

Boyd is a well-known gourmet chef, and he likens building musical programs to menu planning. I want each course to flow into the other, he explained.

A collector of rare transcriptions for piano, Boyd will show off some of his special arrangements of works by Schubert, Strauss, and Debussy s Afternoon of A Faun.

There will be an American group at the end, with works by Ives, Gershwin, and Sousa, Boyd continues.

Representatives of the Steinway company will speak briefly about the UT music department s progress in becoming an official All-Steinway school. The designation assures piano students and guest performers that Steinway instruments will be used exclusively. Boyd will present a master class from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday in the UT Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Other All-Steinway schools include Oberlin College, Bluffton University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Carnegie-Mellon University School of Music, and Yale University.

A reception for alumni is planned following the program.

UT already has several Steinway grand pianos, which, to Boyd, is as it should be.

There are other good pianos, he notes, but for him, it s all Steinway, all the time.

It s just a sound I associate with piano playing.

Michael Boyd s concert will be at 3 p.m. Sunday in the UT Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Contact Sally Vallongo at svallongo@theblade.com.



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