Historic Civil War-era piano donated to USF School of Music

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The USF School of Music has a new addition that's actually something old. The school recently was gifted a Civil War-era Steinway piano.

"We received the piano delivery about a month ago. It is a Steinway with a rosewood case. It dates from 1861," said Dr. Karen Bryan, director of the School of Music at USF.

"It is beautifully carved. It has a long history. It does sound different in that we're not able to repair it to a concert level," she added.

It was given to the school by Raxit Shah of Tampa. He is the founder of Liberty Group, a commercial real estate investment firm. The piano had been in his family for several decades.

Bryan said the school plans to preserve the historic musical instrument.

"We don't want it to be exposed to any more damage than what it already has. I think that's important for our students and public to know, because pianos have evolved over the last 150 years," Bryan explained. 

She added, "Students perform on mondern-day instruments all the time, but it's important for them to have a sense of the history behind those instruments so they know the types of instruments that were available in the 1860's, the longevity of the instuments, and how well they are preserved over time."

The piano is on display for the public to see.

"We have it housed in the atrium of our concert hall, so that it can be there for the public to see when they come to concerts, and we look forward to showing it off," Bryan added.