NNU has had the distinct honor to purchase the exclusive Steinway Spirio Piano that was featured during Homecoming 2019. Dr. Walden Hughes’ family provided a final generous gift, completing the $120,000 fundraising campaign launched by NNU’s Department of Music during the fall of 2019 in his honor. This unique instrument will make its debut during Homecoming 2021 in the foyer of the Brandt Performance Center.
"It was the dream of the late Dr. Walden Hughes that NNU join the ranks of the All Steinway universities,” Dr. Philip Miller, Chair of the Department of Music, said. “To join this prestigious listing, 90% of the instruments on campus must be from the Steinway line. Dr. Hughes’ tireless efforts in fundraising and purchasing pianos brought NNU close to that finish line. This latest addition to our Steinway lineup is perhaps the most special.”
The Steinway Spirio is a high-resolution player piano capable of capturing live performance and playback through the mechanical action of the piano rather than simply recording audio. Playback performances on the Steinway Spirio are so precise that they are almost indistinguishable from the original performance.
Dr. Hughes saw the incredible pedagogical value of having an instrument like this on the NNU campus for students’ learning. A student can play their composition and then hear it played back immediately, exactly as they performed it. They can then compare their performance to other professional performances and identify strengths and areas for improvement.
“We are thrilled to be able to honor Dr. Hughes’ memory in this way,” Miller said. “We see this piano as a physical symbol of the legacy Walden created during his time at NNU that will have a lasting impact on the future of music at NNU.”
Dr. Walden Hughes was a beloved music professor who served the University and its students for more than 40 years. He passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. A devoted husband and father, an accomplished pianist and dedicated professor at NNU, his legacy will live on in the hearts of those who loved him.