AUSTIN – Following a gift of $800,000, Huston-Tillotson University will become the only institution of higher learning in Central Texas, the fourth HBCU in the country, and the 196th college/university in the world to earn the coveted title of an All-Steinway School.
Huston-Tillotson University officials will unveil the Steinway pianos during their Charter Day Convocation on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, at 10 a.m. in the King-Seabrook Chapel on the campus at 900 Chicon Street. In addition, Steinway artist Marcus Roberts and the Marcus Roberts Trio will headline a special concert that will also feature the Huston-Tillotson University Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. Gloria Quinlan, on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at 5 p.m.
The anonymous gift was recently contributed to the University to help complete its year-long fundraising campaign to purchase fifteen Steinway Pianos.
“Our music department, led by superior faculty, is known for producing musicians of distinction for careers in a variety of professional fields including performance and music education. These best in class instruments are the perfect complement to the talented and gifted musicians on our campus,” Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University, said. “Becoming an All-Steinway School demonstrates our full commitment to excellence by providing the finest to our students and faculty. I am very excited about the addition of Steinway Pianos to our music department, as this is another step to being the IDEAL University.”
The reputation of the Steinway Pianos is known around the world, with 98 percent of all pianists performing with orchestras worldwide that choose the Steinway piano exclusively. For more than 160 years, Steinway & Sons has been dedicated to making the finest pianos in the world, setting the uncompromising standard for sound, touch, beauty, and investment value.
“Huston-Tillotson University has made a firm commitment to providing new opportunities for students and we are tremendously proud to welcome them into our family of All-Steinway Schools,” said Ron Losby, CEO of Steinway Musical Instruments. “I can assure that the same pride, passion and purpose so very evident on the campus in Austin echoes through the halls of the Steinway factory in Astoria, where 300 craftsmen and women are dedicated to making the world’s best pianos. We offer hearty congratulations on attaining this remarkable milestone and look forward to celebrating our shared vision of excellence.”
The music program got its start when Samuel Huston College and Tillotson College originated in the early 1900s. The two departments eventually combined when Huston-Tillotson College was formed by the merger of Samuel Huston College and Tillotson College in 1952. The addition of 15 Steinway Pianos is an unprecedented complement to Austin’s oldest institution of higher learning and only HBCU. This places the University’s already flagship program in a category with other esteemed music programs around the country such as The Juilliard School, Yale University School of Music and Oberlin College Conservatory.
The legacy of HT’s great concert choir directors and accompanists lives through the establishment of the Marcet Hines King Endowed Chair Professorship. The choir’s accomplishments are also memorialized through the Adams/Williams/Jones Endowed Scholarship, established by Nancy Crayton Jones in memory of choir directors Bert Adams, Nathaniel Williams, and her late husband Vernal Jones.
Music is a force of good and wellbeing in the culture of the Huston-Tillotson University community. Through concerts and other performances, the benefits of the program have expanded around the globe. The University’s music program brings together students, faculty, alumni, and others to enjoy, experience, reflect, participate, and learn. It is a critical component of the institution’s mission to nurture a legacy of leadership and excellence in education.
“This is really unbelievable for our students, our guests, and our community,” Dr. Stephen Burnaman, chair of the University’s Department of Humanities and Fine Arts, said. “The conversation to bring these incredible pianos here to Huston-Tillotson University started more than 20 years ago. . . this is thrilling.”
“We will be making history,” Dr. Gloria Quinlan, professor of music, said. “This will change everything.”
Charter Day is the celebration of the establishments of Tillotson College (1875) and Samuel Huston College (1876). The two colleges officially merged in 1952 with the Board of Trustees signing a Charter of Incorporation by the State of Texas establishing Huston-Tillotson College (now known as Huston-Tillotson University). The keynote speaker is alumnus Rev. Jimmy D. Hunter, Pastor, Toliver Chapel Baptist Church, Waco, Texas.
Roberts’ master class is open to the public and will begin at 3 p.m. in the King-Seabrook Chapel on Saturday, Oct. 28 with the concert beginning at 5 p.m.
Charter Day is free and open to the public. Concert admission is $20. Visit htu.edu for more information or htallsteinwayconcert.eventbrite.com to purchase concert tickets. Parking available on Chalmers Avenue.