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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Replacement of Workhorse Musical Keyboard Instruments for Research and Performance


The mission of the Keyboard Arts Research core is to provide faculty and graduate students with a diverse range of healthy, high-quality keyboard instruments. The collection includes historical keyboards (harpsichords, organs) and modern pianos, such as alternatively sized keyboard actions, and the unique double-manual Steinway concert grand. These instruments allow soloists, collaborative artists and scholars to engage in cutting-edge research, exploring innovative performance practices and applications.

This initiative provides funds for the purchase of replacement pianos in faculty studios and practice rooms (essential for the healthy functioning of all aspects of a music school) and also includes the acquisition of a portative organ, used heavily in historically informed choral, chamber music, and opera of the 18th and early 19th centuries and before. The current piano and harpsichord inventory dates back mostly to the 1970’s and is wearing out due to overuse.

The portative organ is unusable and irreparable. All of these deficiencies compromise the research of our performance faculty and students, as well as their work in choirs, the Early Music Festival at the Division of the Arts and in the pursuit of early music performance.

This step toward improving the health of the keyboard inventory will have a lasting impact on current students and faculty alike, and will positively influence the Mead Witter School of Music’s ability to recruit the best keyboard artists of the future.


Martha Fischer, professor of music


John Stowe, professor of music


Jessica Johnson, professor of piano and piano pedagogy

Christopher Taylor, professor of piano

Cheryl Bensman Rowe, artistic director of the Madison Early Music Festival

Johannes Wallman, associate professor of jazz studies


Keyboard Arts Research Core