A Publication for the faculty, staff, administrators and friends of California State University, Chico
October 7, 2004 Volume 35/Number 2

Inside Stories

$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.”

—Kathleen McPartland



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