Florida State University’s Ruby Diamond Concert Hall will host a special performance featuring five Steinway Art Case pianos from the collection of Tallahassee entrepreneur and museum owner DeVoe Moore.
The 5 Browns — a classical piano ensemble of five siblings — will perform on Moore’s rare Steinways at the first-of-its-kind, free concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1. While the concert is free, tickets must be reserved beginning Wednesday, Aug. 3, at tickets.fsu.edu or through the FSU Fine Arts Ticket Office by phone at (850) 644-6500.
“These pianos have never been played in one place in their history, and the first time a concert will be performed with them will be at Florida State,” Moore said. “I think it is incredible that FSU will be the first one to have this amazing collection of pianos performed upon at one time.”
Steinway & Sons, founded in 1853 and considered the world’s premier piano manufacturer, is co-sponsoring the concert and underwriting The 5 Browns’ appearance.
“Everyone at Steinway & Sons is excited to witness history on Sept. 1 as our talented Steinway Artists The 5 Browns perform upon five of the very unique Steinway pianos provided for this event by DeVoe Moore,” said Ron Losby, president of Steinway & Sons – Americas. “DeVoe’s collection of eight Steinway Art Case pianos, all with historical significance, is the largest such collection in the world — and seven of these pianos will be on hand for this momentous occasion.”
The 5 Browns — Ryan, Melody, Gregory, Deondra and Desirae — are the first family of five siblings to have attended New York’s Juilliard School. The quintet has three CDs that have climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Magazine’s Classical Album Chart. The program will include selections by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, George Gershwin and Robert Schumann.
“We are thrilled and honored to host this unique event at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall that will enable DeVoe and Shirley Moore to share their treasured Steinway collection with the campus and Tallahassee community,” said President John Thrasher. “The superb craftsmanship of Steinway pianos is internationally known, and we truly appreciate the company’s generosity to make this idea come to fruition.”
Moore’s collection of eight Steinways is the finest private collection in the world and is housed at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum, which he established in 1996.
“When you’re a company with 163 years of history, there’s not many things that you can call ‘the first’ or ‘the best,’ however, I believe it’s safe to say that this is the most significant collection of Steinway pianos to ever be involved in a single piano performance,” Losby said.
In addition to the five Steinways to be played by The 5 Browns, two others in Moore’s collection will be on display in the lobby of Ruby Diamond Concert Hall during the event.
Moore bought his first Steinway, the Alma-Tadema replica, in 2006.
“The craftsmanship they put into that piano was incredible, and I bought the first one because I was struck with the beauty of it,” Moore said.
The Steinways that will be featured in the concert are:
- The Alma Tadema Steinway (replica): Commissioned in 1884, the highly acclaimed artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema designed an instrument so creative and finely crafted; it is considered the “grandest grand piano of all time.” True to the original, this magnificent re-creation captures the glorious elegance of the Victorian Era and introduced the new Legendary Collection honoring the history of the Steinway Art Case piano. Adorned with 2,200 inlay of mother-of-pearl, the piano features an exquisitely hand-carved case, top lid and legs. Above the keyboard is an elaborate rendering of Sir Edward J. Pointer’s classic oil painting, “The Wandering Minstrels.”
- The 1903 White House Steinway (replica): One of the most famous and ornate instruments created by Steinway & Sons, the first White House piano (serial no. 100,000) is the third instrument to be reproduced as part of the Legendary Collection — one-of-a-kind re-creations of the most historically significant Steinway pianos. The original is housed at the Smithsonian Institution.
- The Chihuly Steinway – Olympia (from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics): The Chihuly art case piano by Steinway & Sons, a one-of-a-kind design created by master American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. The Olympia Model D piano was originally unveiled by Steinway during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The piano’s striking design features winter images, bright Promethean colors representative of the Olympic spirit, a clear glass piano desk and a translucent glass top, the first ever designed for a Steinway piano.
- The Steinway Peace Piano: Created for UNICEF in 2004 and patterned after a historic Steinway concert grand piano that was first exhibited at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. The original piano was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, the renowned art deco designer from the early 20th century, and after being restored at the Steinway & Sons New York factory it was sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where it still resides. It is the second instrument produced as part of Steinway & Sons’ Legendary Collection.
- The 500,000th Steinway: Created by Wendell Castle in 1987, this piano debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1988 to celebrate Steinway’s 135th anniversary. The piano is decorated with signatures of the living Steinway Artists at the time the piano was built, executed in exotic wood veneers. Steinway Artists Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz and Roger Williams are among the 800 signatures on the piano.