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In 1913 the University of Utah's School of Music started its first program of piano instruction.
The School of Music will mark the program's beginning 100 years ago with a year-long celebration, beginning tonight with an all-alumni concert at Steinway Hall in New York City. The University of Utah was the first to be awarded the prestigious distinction of being an All-Steinway school in the Intermountain West and has seven Steinway Artists on faculty, among the highest number in the country. "Music holds a special place in the cultural language of Utah," says David W. Pershing, president of the University of Utah, in a press release. "And the university's outstanding piano faculty, facilities and program attract gifted students from around the state and the world to perfect their skills, explore their natural gifts and create music that endures." "Generations of piano students have benefited from the piano program's start 100 years ago, which has grown to the largest division in the School of Music," says Susan Duehlmeier, chair of the piano area, in the release. "The program's legacyand its futureare graduates who become outstanding piano performers and teachers, well prepared for careers in music and leadership roles in their communities." Celebrating the milestone is a series of concerts that will be held throughout the centennial year, including home recitals in Salt Lake City featuring outstanding alumni and university piano faculty, and culminating next year with a concert in Libby Gardner Hall on April 13, 2014. Tonight's performance in New York features Utah alumni Whitney Pizza, Michael Stewart and Karén Hakobyan. Pizza graduated with a master's in music in 2010, and is currently pursuing a doctorate at the Manhattan School of Music. Stewart received a bachelor's in music and is pursuing a master's degree in music at Mannes College's The New School for Music. Hakobyan was born in Armenia, studied piano and composition at the U where he received a master's in music in 2008. He recently completed postgraduate studies in performance at the Manhattan School of Music.