$25,000 Gift Saves Steinway
Earl R. and Marilyn Kruschke Underwrite Restoration
Earl R. Kruschke, professor emeritus of political science, and his
wife, Marilyn Ann Kruschke, have presented the Department of Music
with a $25,000 gift that will underwrite the cost of rebuilding
a 1921 Steinway D concert grand piano long owned by the University.
The piano, sometimes called the Rachmaninoff piano because the famous
composer is said to have performed on it, was trucked to New York
City for rebuilding this spring and will be back for the Golden
Sounds concert on March 25, 2005, in Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall.
Representatives from Steinway say the restored nine-foot concert
grand from the “Golden Era” will sound better than a
new piano. The wood in the sound box is no longer available for
the construction of new pianos. “The cost of a new Steinway
is prohibitive,” said James Bankhead, chair of the Department
of Music. “A new Steinway D would cost approximately $125,000.”
The Kruschkes are avid supporters of the music department and its
keyboard program. In 1999, they created the Earl R. and Marilyn
Ann Kruschke Prize in Piano Performance for an outstanding piano
student, determined by a yearly piano competition. The $2,000 prize
can be used however the student chooses for the enhancement of his
or her education or career in classical piano music. It is one of
the largest piano prizes in the country.
The Kruschkes have also given generous financial support to the
North State Symphony for many years. Earl Kruschke served on the
North State Symphony board of directors when the Chico and Redding
symphonies merged. Marilyn Kruschke is an active member of the Chico
Guild-North State Symphony and has had a major role in its fund-raising
activities for the symphony orchestra.
Both of the Kruschkes have a lifelong love of music. Earl said that
his interest began when he was 7 or 8 years old while listening
to grand opera on the radio on Saturday mornings. He studied the
piano under Bertha Winters, noted German pianist.
“The college and the music department so appreciate how generous
Earl and Marilyn have been,” said Sarah Blackstone, dean of
the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. “They award a prize
each year to the top piano performer, and now they have funded the
restoration of our very valuable Steinway. We are deeply grateful
for their ongoing support of our students and programs.”