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Harvard Pianists Celebrate Sanders Theatre Restoration

By Amita M. Shukla

Generations of Harvard pianists performed for a full house at the Great Sanders Restoration Recital last night to celebrate the latest and most extensive renovations made to Sanders Theatre.

"We tried to plan an evening that would be a celebration of the restoration of the hall and that would be a reunion of generations of student and faculty who have a connection to the theater," said Eric C. Engel, producer of the recital and director of the Memorial Hall/Lowell Hall complex.

The recital, titled "Playing for Keeps," was introduced by Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles and Office for the Arts Director Myra A. Mayman.

"This is our largest classroom and our most coveted space for performances," Knowles said in his introduction.

As part of his introductory remarks, Knowles dramatically pointed out the latest improvements to the theater.

"Look up," he said, as the large chandelier in the center of the theater was simultaneously illuminated for the audience.

Among the performers at the 118-year-old theater were: Stephen Drury '77, Randall Hodgkinson, Igor Kipnis '52, Robinson Professor of the Humanities Robert D. Levin '68, Christopher Taylor '92, Luise Vosgerchian and a number of undergraduates.

The evening began with performances by Drury and Hodgkinson, which were followed by a joint performance by Vosgerchian and Levin of "Eight Variations on an Original Theme" in A-flat major.

The night concluded with a grand finale performed by 32 students on eight grand pianos: Gioacchino Rossini's "Overture to the opera semiramide."

The restoration of Sanders Theater was the final part of the nine-year, multi-million dollar renovations performed on the Memorial Hall/Sanders theater complex.

Improvements made to Sanders in the latest round of renovation include: new voice reinforcement audio systems; improved house and stage lighting systems; addition of a production communication system; improved wheelchair access; a new concert grand piano; and, fully restored woodwork.

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