Peabody Johns Hopkins University Magazine

Musical Gifts

Musical Gifts

Photography by Richard Anderson, Marshall Clarke, Will Kirk
Written by Margaret Bell

The Peabody Ensembles Office has a collection of hundreds of instruments available for use by Peabody Conservatory students and faculty, many of which have been donated to the school. Some are quite valuable. Here are stories of a few of those instruments.

maggini pose 4 RNA_141118_162This violin, made by Giovanni Paolo Maggini in 1620, was donated to the Peabody collection in 2010 by Karl Kostoff, a former professional musician and longtime employee of the university’s Applied Physics Laboratory. One of only 60 made by Maggini in his lifetime, the instrument was owned by the three most important collectors in violin history: Luigi Tarisio, Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, and Royal de Forest Hawley. Valued at more than $350,000, the Kostoff Maggini had its Peabody premiere shortly after its donation by faculty artist Keng Yuen Tseng, pictured below, and is offered each year to be played in concert by the winner of Peabody’s William Marbury Prize Competition for Violin.

Alsop pose 3 RNA_141118_064In 2014, faculty artist Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, donated a 16-inch Iizuki model viola, #44, built in 1991 by her late father Clif Alsop. He played violin in several orchestras, including the Utah Symphony; founded Cook-Alsop Lumber Co.; and became a master violin-maker. The instrument is modeled after a Hiroshi lizuka viola and is housed with the baroque instruments in Peabody’s Early Music Department. It is on loan this year to GPD student Aik Shin Tan. Tan studies baroque flute with Gwyn Roberts and plays the Alsop viola in Peabody’s student baroque orchestra, the Baltimore Baroque Band. Mark Cudek, early music program director, says, “It is not uncommon for early music performers to be multi-instrumentalists, but Aik Shin is exceptional for not only the number of instruments he plays but also for how well he plays them.

bechstein pose 2 _JHU7805This C. Bechstein Model B, 6-foot, 9-inch grand piano, originally manufactured in 1927 and fully restored by Alexander G. Keylard & Sons in 1998, was donated to Peabody by Gabrielle Hill. The rosewood/ebony instrument is a recent addition to Peabody’s Leith Symington Griswold Hall. Founded in 1853 by Carl Bechstein, C. Bechstein manufactures pianos in Seifhennersdorf, Saxony, Germany. Rieko Tsuchida, a junior studying with Boris Slutsky, said she’d never seen a piano like this at Peabody before. “I love the naturally singing tone of this Bechstein, which makes it really unique,” she says.

yamaha play 1 RNA_141120_269Former president of Johns Hopkins University William Brody and his wife Wendy Brody donated a Yamaha CF 9-foot concert grand piano in 2009. The satin ebony instrument, built in 1980, is the centerpiece of Joe Byrd Hall and is used for most jazz concerts. Brody is a music lover who continues to travel from his home in California to take piano lessons at the Preparatory. Double degree sophomore Noah Dion, who studies political science at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and jazz piano with Tim Murphy, was photographed playing the instrument.

fleta play clarke_140128_0332_proofIn 2013, this Fleta guitar was gifted by David Paulsen and his wife, Claude Duvernoy Paulsen. A television screenwriter, director, and producer, David Paulsen studied violin in the 1950s at the Peabody Preparatory, where his mother, Mildred Pelovitz, taught piano. Once he began studying guitar, his teacher Rodrigo Riera recommended he visit Ignacio Fleta in Barcelona. Paulsen paid $150 for the 1958 guitar, which is now appraised at $38,000. Faculty artist Manuel Barrueco, photographed here, says, “Ignacio Fleta is one of the most admired guitar makers of all time, and this particular 1958 Fleta possesses a very rich and beautiful sound. We are all grateful that our students now have the opportunity to play on such a magnificent instrument.”