Piano and pianist reunited

By Costa Maragos Posted: January 19, 2018 6:00 a.m.

Judi Levesque (seated), Conservatory Head of Accompaniment with Katherine Dowling, Piano Instructor in the Department of Music and Floyd Gadd, Piano Technician for the Department of Music. Levesque and Dowling will perform on this restored concert grand Steinway piano.
Judi Levesque (seated), Conservatory Head of Accompaniment with Katherine Dowling, Piano Instructor in the Department of Music and Floyd Gadd, Piano Technician for the Department of Music. Levesque and Dowling will perform on this restored concert grand Steinway piano. Photo by Rae Graham - U of R Photography

It will be a special reunion when pianist Judi Levesque sits down to perform at the Music Department’s upcoming recital January 21.

Levesque will be reunited with an old piano pal she first met in 1969.

That ‘pal’ is a Steinway concert grand piano - purchased by the University nearly five decades ago. At that time, Levesque was in her second year of her Bachelor of Music studies and was the first person to give a recital on that very Steinway.

“That piano was in Darke Hall at the time,” says Levesque. ”I remember playing something from Liszt, a Hungarian rhapsody.”

That Steinway is still around and sounding as good as ever thanks to a recent restoration that has brought it back to its former glory.

Piano Steinway
The Steinway concert grand piano was purchased in 1969. “The piano has a lot
of life left it in. It’s well built” – Floyd Gadd – Piano Technician.

Now audiences have the opportunity to see and hear this revitalized Steinway in action at a recital on Sunday, January 21 at 3:00 p.m. at the University Theatre.  

The program will feature instrumental and vocal music from members of the U of R’s Music Department.

Levesque and Katherine Dowling, Piano Instructor at the Department of Music, will have the honour of being the only pianists to perform on the Steinway that day.

Levesque’s recitals on the Steinway helped her earn her Bachelor of Music degree and in 1980 her Master’s in music. She continued playing on that Steinway over the years. The piano was maintained conscientiously, but eventually reached a point where more comprehensive renewal was necessary.  

Levesque went on to teach piano at the U of R’s Conservatory for more than 25 years.  She’s currently Conservatory Head of Accompaniment.

The extensive repair job was done under the direction of Floyd Gadd, Piano Technician for the Department of Music. Gadd earned his Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1997.
Steinway 1 Steinway 2
Numerous scratches were repaired.....

For the repairs, Gadd worked closely with Nazarchuk’s Furniture Refinishing and Repair in Regina.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome,” says Gadd. “I see this as an opportunity for our students and our faculty to play a piano that is more musically responsive than it has been in recent years.

Extensive work was done to the Steinway’s exterior. A look at before and after photos tells the story. Gadd also worked on the piano’s interior to ensure the production of a “clean” sound.

“It’s very important that we have instruments in our hands that allow the students to explore the musical possibilities of their craft,” says Gadd.
Steinway 3 Steinway 4
 Before the repairs. After the repairs.

In addition to Levesque and Dowling, others performing at the event will be Tamsin Johnson, oboe; Hyonsuk Kim, clarinet; David Dick, trombone in a duet with Miles Newman, trumpet; Helen Pridmore, soprano; Dominic Gregorio, baritone; and, Brent Ghiglione, trumpet.

Donations will be accepted at the door and will go towards the Music Department’s undergraduate scholarships.

Event:      Department of Music Faculty Recital
Date:       January 21
Time:       3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Location: University Theatre – Riddell Centre