October 22, 2014  

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EPIC Piano Program to Benefit School of Music; Fall Performances Scheduled

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The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music has partnered with the Kawai Piano Company to bring new pianos to music students at the university.

The Elite Performing Instrument Collection (EPIC) will provide brand new loaner pianos that will be purchased at a substantial discount as part of the program that aims to replace almost all of the pianos in the school with new ones over the next 10 years. In cooperation with the USM Foundation, a private and corporate fundraising initiative complementing this effort is planned to start immediately with a goal of $500,000 to replace the pianos.

A series of free guest piano performances is planned throughout the semester to celebrate this initiative. On Sept.13 Noel Engebretson, professor of piano at the University of Alabama, will perform in Marsh Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. On Oct. 9 Peter Collins, professor of pianoand coordinator of the keyboard area at Missouri State University, will also perform a matinee in Marsh Auditorium at 4 p.m. On Nov. 9, Bulgarian-born virtuoso Nadejda Vlaeva, will perform in Marsh auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

The culminating event welcomes Grammy®-nominated Petronel Malan to the Mannoni Performing Arts Center Auditorium stage at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29.  A special pre-concert reception is planned at the Museum of Art where patrons may enjoy the senior show and make pledges to the EPIC program.

These performances are free and open to the public.

“All undergraduate music students begin piano their freshman year and continue through completion of their degree,” said Dr. Michael Miles, director of the School of Music. “Based on the past purchase history, it would have taken 142 years to replace all of the pianos in the School of Music.”

The high volume of usage ages the pianos significantly, making a 40-year old piano equal to a 120-year old home-owned piano.

“Private fundraising is so important, because the more that is raised, the better quality instruments will be available for purchase through the program,” said Lonnie Young, longtime piano technician for the School of Music. “This is a student-centered project that affects every major in the department. I am excited for the students to have quality instruments that support their talent.”

For more information on these events, visit www.usm.edu/music. The new interactive calendar listing offers videos and more on these and all School of Music events.