On the evening of Saturday, September 17, the Washington & Jefferson music faculty showcased the newest addition to the family of W&J instruments: a sleek, beautiful Baldwin grand piano. The piano was donated by E. Ronald Salvitti, an ophthalmologist, music lover and alumnus of the class of 1959. To christen the piano in its new home, the music department hosted a dedication concert titled “Two Pianos are Better than One.”
Dr. Susan Medley, the W&J director of choral activities and professor of music, teamed up with dear friend Dr. Antonio Fermin, who operates The Piano School in Tribeca, New York. Together, the two musicians performed complex classical piano pieces on two neighboring pianos. One of these pianos was the new Baldwin, and the other was the department’s first concert grand piano, a Steinway. Dr. Medley and Dr. Fermin started the concert with Arensky’s buoyant “Waltz from Suite No. 1, Op. 15,” which was followed by a performance of Mozart’s “Sonata in D, K. 448.” After intermission, the musicians performed a piece by Russian composer Rachmaninoff, “Suite No. 2, Op. 17.” The third movement of the piece, “Romance,” was composed of sweeping scale-climbing and subtle intricacies, while the fourth movement, “Tarentella,” contained several suspenseful, dramatic flourishes and changes in dynamic. The concert closed with Prokofieff’s “March, Op. 99.”
However, as a special encore, two other members of the W&J music faculty joined the musicians for a performance that Dr. Medley dubbed “two pianos, eight hands.” The pieces that Dr. Medley and Dr. Fermin performed could be considered a sort of conversation between sets of ivory keys; with the musicians’ careful timing and natural intuition, the two piano parts perfectly complemented each other and illuminated the wide span of human emotion. After several rounds of thunderous applause at the close of the concert, the audience was invited to attend a catered reception in the Olin lobby.
“The concert was amazing,” said W&J student Kris Amundson ’19. “Being able to see such amazing talent right here on our campus is truly a great gift. The music was incredible, and having such a beautiful instrument added to our music department is really exciting.” At this concert, members of the local community and W&J students alike were able to celebrate a new addition to the music department. Dr. Medley and Dr. Fermin’s performance displayed their mastery of the instrument as well as their deep passion for musicality, which made an already exemplary performance transcendent.