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University of Iowa Foundation Release


Jan. 22, 2007

Photos: Stephen West (left) and Pamela Trimpe (right)

West Music Helps Bring Antique Grand Piano To Old Capitol Museum

Through a generous gift-in-kind donation of $73,200, Iowa City's West Music Company has helped bring live music back to the University of Iowa Old Capitol Museum with an 1878 Steinway and Sons grand piano.

The 1,500-pound antique piano is the latest piece to be added to the collections at Old Capitol Museum and is located in the museum's recently renovated Senate Chamber.

"Old Capitol Museum always has been an important place for community and university gatherings," said Pamela J. Trimpe, director of the UI Pentacrest Museums. "We plan to begin a regular concert series here at Old Capitol Museum, thanks to this piano. It will help us fulfill our mission of offering quality programming in the arts and humanities."

In addition to his company's gift-in-kind donation, Stephen L. West, president of West Music Company, also has committed $2,000 toward funding the inaugural season of a 2007 piano concert series, to be held in Old Capitol Museum's Senate Chamber.

"This is a very unique, historic piano with great value, and it belonged in a unique, historic building like Old Capitol Museum," West said. "It's a pleasure to bring music to this fabulous, refurbished setting, which offers such an intimate venue for sharing music with the UI community and the public."

Founded in Iowa City in 1941 by Iowa native Pearl L. West, West Music Company is one of the leading musical instrument retailers in the Midwest. It has seven retail locations in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, as well as a nationally distributed product catalogue focusing on childhood instruments and teaching tools.

Dan Knight, a renowned Iowa City pianist, was the first artist to perform on Old Capitol Museum's grand piano with a free performance of classical and jazz music on Sunday, Nov. 5.

Dr. C.H. Whiting, a physician and philanthropist from Burlington, Iowa, originally bought the burled rosewood piano in 1878 from the New York-based Steinway and Sons.

Old Capitol served as Iowa's first state capitol from 1846 to 1857. When the state government moved to Des Moines in 1857, Old Capitol became the university's first building and the founding place of many UI departments. In 1976, Old Capitol became a National Historic Landmark and public museum. After four years of recovery from a devastating fire in 2001, Old Capitol Museum reopened-thanks in part to generous gifts raised during the university's seven-year, $1 billion comprehensive campaign-as a cultural and educational resource in May 2006.

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information, visit the foundation's web site at




STORY SOURCE: UI Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550

CONTACT: Jen Wyatt, assistant director, special university initiatives and gift planning, the University of Iowa Foundation, 319-335-3305 Writer: Leah Klevar