Auburn University Chooses Bösendorfer 280VC for New Gogue Performing Arts Center

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The grand piano by Bösendorfer, a subsidiary of Yamaha, will be a central, permanent feature of the Center’s musical instrument collection

The Auburn University delegation to Austria to select a Bösendorfer 280VC Vienna Concert grand piano for the Gogue Center

“I was blown away by what Bösendorfer has achieved in the 9-foot grand piano market, and in the 280VC we got exactly what we needed: an instrument that can do everything, and that any artist would be happy to play," said Christopher Heacox, executive director of the Gogue Center.

The Bösendorfer 280VC Vienna Concert grand piano will grace the performance space of Auburn University’s Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at its Grand Opening Festival this weekend.

The Gogue Center, a new facility encompassing more than 85,000 square feet of space with several multipurpose venues, is due to mark the opening of its doors with a four-day festival starting Thursday, August 22. The grand piano by Bösendorfer, a subsidiary of Yamaha, will be a central, permanent feature of the Center’s musical instrument collection, residing on the Sergio Marentes Stage in the Walter Stanley and Virginia Katharyne Evans Woltosz Theatre.

Christopher Heacox, executive director of the Gogue Center, travelled to Vienna personally with director of development Leah O’Gwynn; dealer Sam Bennett of PianoWorks in Duluth, Georgia; the family of Auburn donors Bob and Julie Broadway and close family friend Nick Davis to select the piano. Heacox said the facility needed a piano with a sound capable of filling a precisely engineered and demanding performance space.

“When we built this facility, we operated on only one stipulation: that it be as acoustically perfect as possible,” Heacox said. “As our architects, theater designers and sound specialists created the Gogue Center, we knew we had to have incredible instruments to show off the acoustics.”

Heacox’s conversations with Yamaha representatives and dealers, as well as his experience in Vienna with the Bösendorfer 280VC itself, convinced him not only that this piano had the power and purity to match the advanced acoustics of the Gogue Center, but also that it is versatile enough to capture the nuances and subtleties of a broad range of musical types.

“We knew the center’s program would include a wide array of musical genres, and we needed a piano that could cover everything for soloists and ensembles alike, from chamber music to full orchestra to jazz and back to chamber music again,” Heacox continued. “I was blown away by what Bösendorfer has achieved in the 9-foot grand piano market, and in the 280VC we got exactly what we needed: an instrument that can do everything, and that any artist would be happy to play.”

The Bösendorfer 280VC features an incomparable sound, wide spectrum of tonal colors, dynamic range and expressiveness ideally suited for modern concert halls and performance venues, as well as for any genre of music, including chamber, classical, contemporary piano concertos, jazz and beyond. The piano has been heard in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York and Strathmore Hall in Maryland, as well as Vienna’s Musikverein and Konzerthaus and the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.

Along with the Bösendorfer piano, Auburn University has outfitted the Gogue Center’s various venues with a wide variety of cutting-edge sound equipment made by Yamaha and its subsidiaries, including the company’s CL5, QL5 and TF-RACK mixing consoles; Yamaha stage boxes; NEXO amplifiers and more than three dozen NEXO loudspeakers and subwoofers. The facility’s star dressing room will also feature a Yamaha TransAcoustic upright piano for practice and warm-up.

The Gogue Center’s Grand Opening Festival will begin Thursday, August 22 and continue through Sunday, August 25. The Bösendorfer 280VC will be dedicated at a black-tie fête on Saturday, August 24 featuring Great American Songbook master Michael Feinstein, songstress Storm Large and bel canto tenor Santiago Ballerini.

For more information about the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center, visit https://www.goguecenter.auburn.edu.

For more information about Auburn University, visit https://www.auburn.edu.

For more information about Bösendorfer, visit https://www.boesendorfer.com/en/.

For more information about Yamaha Corporation of America, visit https://usa.yamaha.com/.

About Bösendorfer
Bösendorfer was founded in 1828 in Vienna, Austria and has been the instrument of choice for many of the world’s most famous artists and composers. This limited production, handcrafted instrument remains one of the most sought after instruments for musicians, institutions and piano enthusiasts worldwide.

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Peter Giles
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