The Illinois State University Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts has had much to celebrate since fall 2019 when the College and School of Art were named in recognition of the generosity of alumna Wonsook Kim and her husband, Thomas Clement.
As a part of Wonsook Kim’s $12 million transformative gift, the School of Music was able to purchase three new Steinway concert grand model B and 11 new Steinway Boston upright pianos. With the acquisition of these pianos, Illinois State University met the criteria to be designated an All-Steinway School.
In celebration of this prestigious recognition, the Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts and School of Music presented a College Concert on Sunday, September 26. The concert included the All-Steinway School Presentation with remarks by Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts Dean Jean Miller and Interim Director of the School of Music Adriana Ransom, and featured music performed by the Illinois State University String Symphony, Concert Choir, Jazz Combo I, Wind Symphony, and piano faculty.
The Steinway initiative has been a visionary goal for the College and School of Music for decades.
“Wonsook Kim’s gift made it possible for us to purchase additional Steinway pianos that would support all of our undergraduate music majors and graduate students and raise the profile of music at ISU. Her gift also enabled the School of Music to be designated as an All-Steinway School, a distinction that fewer than 200 universities and colleges throughout the country can claim,” stated Dean Miller. “All-Steinway Schools demonstrate a full commitment to excellence by providing students and faculty with the best instruments possible for the study of music. The Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts and School of Music community are happy we can provide the best pianos for our students and proud of the All-Steinway School designation.”
In March 2021, School of Music Associate Professors of piano Tuyen Tonnu and Geoffrey Duce traveled to the Steinway Piano Gallery in Maryland Heights, Missouri, where they had the opportunity to spend an afternoon working with the many available instrument options, leading to the selection of the three new Steinway Model B grand pianos for Illinois State University. New upright pianos for classrooms and practice rooms were selected to replace aging pianos that were in poor condition. In addition, a new Roland digital keyboard was purchased for the School of Theatre and Dance’s Westhoff Theatre.
Wonsook Kim’s love and appreciation for not only the visual arts but for music and the performing arts is reflected in her willingness to include the Steinway initiative as part of her generous gift. The purchase of the Steinway pianos is only one of the many ways that Wonsook Kim’s gifts will impact the College of Fine Arts in years to come.