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One Enchanted Evening: Spectacular Concert Marks the Debut of New Steinway Piano

Pianist plays new Steinway grand piano in the Stanley Library for a gathered audience

Music enthusiasts of Girton College were thrilled by the opening of a new chapter in Girton's cultural landscape – the arrival of a magnificent new grand piano.

The purchase of the new Steinway & Sons Model B was made possible thanks to a generous bequest from Irene Wainwright-Snatt (1940 English). The beautifully crafted piano was selected under the guidance of the Director of Music and the Austin and Hope Pilkington Fellow, Dr Martin Ennis, who travelled to the Steinway & Sons Hamburg factory to choose the perfect instrument. This arrival marks a significant milestone as it is the first new grand piano acquired by the College in nearly three decades. The piano, with its exquisite sound and craftsmanship, promises to usher in a new era of musical excellence at Girton.

Irene Wainwright-Snatt (1920–2021)

Black and white image of Irene Wainwright-Snatt as young woman

Irene's bequest is enhancing the College's cultural life, reflecting some of her life-long interests, in a multitude of ways. Not only has her gift enabled the purchase of this magnificent piano, but her generosity has also underpinned the Jane Martin Poetry Prize (a national poetry competition run and hosted by Girton College), and facilitated the production of Girton Time, an art-poetry book (Irene won the Chancellor’s Medal for Verse while at Cambridge, and later the Seatonian Prize, the first woman to do so).

Music and poetry are just two of Irene's passions. Her intellectual curiosity knew no bounds, and now her bequest will help Girton to continue its mission of providing an exceptional educational experience in an inclusive environment with an enhanced cultural life for generations to come.

To learn more about Irene and her remarkable life, see the latest edition of The Girtonian.

Installing the Steinway & Sons Piano in 25 seconds...

The Inaugural Concert

The new Steinway's inaugural concert took place at this year's Summer Guest Night on Friday 23 June 2023. With the stunning Stanley Library providing the venue, the concert featured a captivating performance by Girton alumnus Mateusz Borowiak (2006 Music).

For the inauguration of the new piano, Mateusz demonstrated its versatility and wonderful sound by performing Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in A flat, Op.110, and works by Chopin and Bach–Busoni. It made for an unforgettable evening.

Mateusz Borowiak (2006 Music)

Mateusz spent his formative years studying piano and composition at the Junior Guildhall and Music at Girton. Since beginning full-time piano studies at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice (AMiKS), he has been awarded top prizes at international piano competitions including Queen Elisabeth, Gawon International Music Society, Maria Canals, Rina Sala Gallo, Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe, as well as the Harriet Cohen Memorial Award.

He has been active on the performing scene, as a soloist in major venues throughout Europe and as far afield as New York and Seoul, appearing with distinguished orchestras and ensembles and collaborating with conductors of renown. Many of his concerts have been broadcast on radio and television in Europe, Oceania and North America.

He has given masterclasses and lectures at Shanghai Music Academy, Nanning Arts Institute, Girton College, Piano LAB Belgium, Ignacy Jan Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań and the Junior Guildhall, and is currently assistant professor at AMiKS.