“Beth El is a cultural center as well, not just a house of prayer,” said Eyal Bor, director of education at Beth El and The Rabbi Mark G. Loeb Center for Lifelong Learning. “When we have a concert we should have a professional-level instrument.” With this thinking, Bor set out to find a worthy piano for the downtown synagogue.
Six months ago, four donors pitched in to purchase a Bechstein piano.
“It’s a piano that is placed in concert halls, and played by top-notch musicians in symphony orchestras and music halls. This particular name brand has a bright and warm sound, which will encourage top-notch pianists to come to Beth El and perform,” Bor said. “When we invite musicians, the first question they usually ask is what kind of piano you have. If you say Bechstein, they know we’re serious and really value music.”
The nine-foot grand piano was originally made in 1965 but was recently restored by Lindeblad Restoration. It debuted at Beth El last Wednesday during a concert by Yulia Lipmanovich. The concert will be rerecorded due to technical difficulties so that it may be posted on Beth El’s Facebook for all to enjoy.
In November, the congregation will hear it played again in a variety of ways, including by a jazz musician, a classical artist and someone who will play Broadway showtunes. You can also hear the piano at the monthly concerts Beth El provides, free, every first Wednesday of the month. More information on these will be posted online soon.
“It has always been a problem providing a piano of quality for our concerts and for the professionals who come from near and far to perform at Beth El. No longer do we have this problem,” said Ellen Marks, coordinator at The Rabbi Mark G. Loeb Center for Lifelong Learning at Beth El Congregation.