Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Benefit to Buy New Pianos for Bing Hall

An announcement from Stanford University's Music Department:

Faculty Piano Showcase: A Benefit Concert

Wednesday, Sep. 7, 8:00 pm in Dinkelspiel Auditorium

Members of Stanford's piano faculty will be featured performing a variety of
works including Schubert's Allegretto in C minor and Klavierstück in E flat
minor (Thomas Schultz, piano); Chopin's Ballade in G minor, Op. 23
(Frederick Weldy, piano); Lutosławski's Paganini Variations for two pianos
(Laura Dahl and Frederick Weldy, pianos); Rachmaninoff's Etude tableaux Op.
39, No. 2 and No. 8 (Kumaran Arul, piano); selections from Prokofiev's
Cinderella arranged for two pianos by Mikhail Pletnev (Kumaran Arul and
George Barth, pianos); and Dvořák's Gypsy Songs, Op. 55 (Nicolle Foland,
soprano, accompanied by Laura Dahl, piano). Proceeds will support the
purchase of new pianos for Bing Concert Hall, set for completion in 2012.

Tickets are $25.

For tickets please visit:

Just to make something clear: the budget to construct this building is nearly $112 million. It is a concert hall and here we have the Stanford Faculty putting on a benefit for something that should have been fully budgeted.

I note that the foyer of this building will be called the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Lobby. The Gunns have given tens of millions of dollars to the San Francisco Opera and must have thrown a few bucks into Bing Concert Hall. Can't someone pony up a half-million more for pianos??


pjwv said...

maybe they should go to SF Opera's annual piano sale to pick up some bargain Steinways?

Lisa Hirsch said...


I've actually emailed two of the participants, whom I know from Reactions to the Record. It is just weird.

Anonymous said...

"Can't someone pony up a half-million more for pianos??"

They're asking us to do it.

What puzzles me, though maybe it shouldn't, is why anyone would want to have something named the "John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Lobby" after themselves. The imposing names followed by the crashing anticlimax of "Lobby" is pompously hilarious.

Michael said...

Why is it weird that construction would be a separate budget from acquiring instruments?

Lisa Hirsch said...

There's nothing weird about having a separate budget. The question is why it's not fully funded. It's a predictable fixed cost, unlike the construction costs.

Daniel Wolf said...

It's been my experience with university development offices that every separable object is seen as a potentially independent funding project. Organs, for example, even though they are usually a prominent part of the architecture in a hall, are almost always funded separately and carry their own donor names. In one of my favorite concert halls, Little Bridges at Pomona College, a good number of the individual seats (actually places on benches) have plaques naming the donor who once paid for the renovation of the particular seat (and if you're lucky, you may be sitting in the place with name plate reading "Frank Zappa".) Another variation of this subset-donating is practiced here in Germany with pipe organs. When an old organ is being renovated or replaced, individual retired pipes are often sold to donors, with the depth of the pipe corresponding roughly to the size of the contribution. So, no, fundraising for a new piano is not unusual.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Daniel, that makes sense, thanks (and also fits in with what one of the concert participants told me).