A generous gift from Kaye and Bob Stanzione ’69 has set the Department of Performing Arts on the path toward earning the coveted All-Steinway School designation.

“Two things motivated us: our love for Clemson and Kaye’s love for music,” Bob Stanzione said.

The Stanziones’ gift was announced in April at the Pathway to Steinway concert at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts. The All-Steinway School designation requires that 90 percent of an institution’s pianos are Steinways. Clemson’s designation as a Steinway school was made official in August following a final inspection of the pianos by Steinway representatives.

“The reputation that comes with being an All-Steinway School is unsurpassed,” said Linda Li-Bleuel, who teaches piano performance. “I believe having the students regularly performing and playing on Steinways will be transformative. The piano is perhaps the one instrument that is used every single day — the quality of the piano will affect all music students and instruction.”

“The name Steinway is synonymous with quality and prestige,” added Professor Linda Dzuris, chair of the Department of Performing Arts. “Our faculty is outstanding, and now our pianos will be as well.”

Kaye Stanzione’s passion for the piano began when her parents signed her up for lessons in the third grade. She earned a piano performance degree in college and worked as a music educator.

“Music enhances life,” she said. “It’s sort of the language of the soul, and it makes such a difference to have it in your life.”

The Stanziones’ gift reflects their holistic dedication to Universitywide excellence. Their support includes a substantial donation to the ClemsonLIFE program as well as an Academic Cornerstone gift to the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. They also serve as ambassadors for the Clemson University Foundation’s Order of the Oak.

It was during an Order of the Oak luncheon that the couple was inspired to give. Students performed for the ambassadors at the Brooks Center, and “that really got the fire burning,” Bob Stanzione said.

“When I mentioned the idea of an All-Steinway designation, it was just one among many distant dreams I shared with the Order of the Oak about our College. I had no inkling that, just six months later, it would be on track to become real,” said Nicholas Vazsonyi, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “I don’t have words to express my gratitude. This is truly a game changer for the music program and for Clemson’s reputation as a comprehensive University.”

Among the pianos that Clemson will add to its collection are three Spirio high-resolution player pianos, which allow artists to capture and play back live performances.

“The Spirio technology will enable students to record themselves in a completely live setting, and it will transform the way they hear themselves,” Li-Bleuel said. “The technology can also assist piano students in collaborative situations with students within Clemson and at other institutions.”

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