CSI Unveils New Steinway Piano with Inaugural Concert

The College of Staten Island inaugurates a new Steinway grand piano with a solo piano recital by CSI Music professor, pianist, and musicologist Sylvia Kahan. The performance will take place on Wednesday, September 16 at 7:30pm in the College’s Center for the Arts.

Kahan says she is “delighted to be presenting the first musical spin around the block of CSI’s new Steinway grand. As a performing musician within an academic context, I’m so grateful that CSI administrators are big fans of the arts. They have been so supportive of all of the College’s performance and creative arts programs. When Provost and Vice President William Fritz informed me that the College was purchasing a new concert instrument, I was thrilled.”

The new piano, a seven-foot Steinway B concert instrument, will be used for performances in the College’s Center for the Arts’ Williamson Theater and the Department of Performing and Creative Arts’ Lab Theatre.

“This is an important moment for the Center for the Arts as well for the College’s Music program,” Kahan adds. “Our concert facilities are among the best in the five boroughs. However, the Steinway that had previously served the Williamson Theatre was not sufficiently powerful for the space. Now, with the purchase of this magnificent new concert Steinway, the Williamson becomes a more viable concert venue. And I know that our new Jazz professor, Michael Morreale, can’t wait for the new piano to be incorporated into CSI Jazz Ensemble performances in the Lab Theatre.”

Kahan has performed as concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and throughout North America and Europe. The New York Times has called her work “stimulating” with a “playful, fluid sense of ornamentation.” For her September 16 performance, she has chosen a program that includes Franz Joseph Haydn’s Sonata in D Major, Yehudi Wyner’s Piano Sonata, Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words , preludes by Claude Debussy, and rags by Scott Joplin. According to Professor Kahan, “The program is designed to celebrate several anniversaries associated with the year ’09’ in three centuries: the anniversary of Haydn’s death and Mendelssohn’s birth (1809), the 80th birthday of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Yehudi Wyner (2009), and important compositional trends that, by 1909, were permeating 20th-century piano repertoire, such as Debussy’s ‘impressionist’ harmonies and Joplin’s ragtime idioms.”

A musicologist as well as a pianist, Sylvia Kahan serves on the Music faculties of CSI and the CUNY Graduate Center. In addition to teaching piano and chamber music, she also teaches courses in music history, music theory, and keyboard musicianship. Professor Kahan’s scholarly specialty is French music and culture in the Belle Epoque and early 20th century. A sought-after lecturer, she is a regular speaker on French opera at the New York City Opera. She is also the author of two books: the first, Music’s Modern Muse, has received outstanding reviews and has just been republished in paperback; a new volume, In Search of New Scales, examines the history of the so-called “octatonic” scale, used prominently in modern music, especially in the music of Stravinsky.

The piano recital will take place in the Williamson Theatre of the Center for the Arts at the College of Staten Island at 2800 Victory Boulevard. The concert is free and open to the public, and is presented by the Department of Performing and Creative Arts and the Office of the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.

A free concert by CSI Music professor Sylvia Kahan will inaugurate CSI's new Steinway grand piano.