Professor Kenn Willson Performs on the Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano

Kenn Willson performs German Dance # 1 in C-major by Ludwig van Beethoven

Imported from Vienna, Austria, the Bösendorfer “Imperial” grand piano has been called the “Rolls-Royce of pianos,” and for good reason – it costs about as much as a small house. Since September of 2005, its permanent home has been Bauman Auditorium on the George Fox University campus. It is the only concert grand piano in the world with 97 keys – including nine extra sub-bass notes – and the extra strings and length give the instrument additional resonance and richness. To put it simply, the Bösendorfer is far from your average piano.

Likewise, Dr. Kenn Willson, Professor of Music History and Keyboard Studies at George Fox, is far from your average musician. He was invited to perform in Bösendorfer Hall in Vienna, Austria, after receiving the honor of being named a Bösendorfer Educational Artist in 2006. The George Fox alumnus has also taken the stage at the Piano Academy in Recanati, Italy, and is known throughout the Northwest for his “Encounters with Beethoven” performances.

Willson recommended the university purchase the Bösendorfer after hours spent in the piano maker’s showroom. He says he was brought to tears by the rich Bösendorfer sound. “The Imperial blankets you in sound,” he says.

But it’s not just Willson who benefits from this rare instrument – George Fox music students get their turn at the ivories as well. “This gives our students the opportunity to practice and perform on a first-class instrument,” says Willson. “Performing on the Imperial in a facility like Bauman Auditorium truly is a rare treat for a pianist.”

If you’re in the mood for a musical treat of your own, plug in your headphones, turn up the volume, hit play and listen as Willson takes this “Rolls Royce” out for a spin, performing German Dance # 1 in C-major by Ludwig van Beethoven.