Music Professor Named Steinway Artist
Music Professor Named Steinway Artist

by Karen Grava
Director of Media Relations

Eva Virsik, an adjunct professor of music, has been named to the Steinway Artists Roster.

The designation, issued by Steinway & Sons, the piano company, was given “in recognition of your distinguished career in music and outstanding commitment and loyalty to the Steinway piano,” the company told Virsik.

“The high standard that you have set with your artistic and professional achievements make it most appropriate that you are now formally included on the Steinway Artist Roster, a list of the most accomplished and discriminating artists in the world.”

Eva Virsik

One benefit of the designation is that when Virsik performs, the company will supply a Steinway “D” piano if one is not available.

“I am so honored to be included in this roster,” she said. “It is a distinguished group of artists.”

Virsik, who has performed all over the world, said she practices on a Steinway grand piano, which she purchased new when she moved to the U.S. from Germany, where she was teaching at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt. While there she met her husband, the conductor Toshiyuki Shimada, now music director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra.

“The first time I played a Steinway, I was six years old and recording at a radio station in my hometown, Bratislava,” she recalls. “It was a nine-foot-long stage grand piano (known as model D), and it was love at first sound.”

From that day on, Virsik hoped to own a Steinway but did not get her chance until she was 15. “I won an international piano competition,” she said, “and the first prize was a piano – Petrof, a Czech brand. I sold it four years later, along with the piano I had from my parents and bought my first Steinway.”

Steinway pianos are handmade, and the company has a long tradition of maintaining the highest standards, she said.  “Steinways have their distinct sound qualities, true personalities. They have superior range of volume and sound color, and the highest responsiveness.

“A piano is made of thousands of parts. When I play a Steinway piano, it is the only instrument where I feel the closest to the sound result and can best influence it. You know that you are playing a great piano if it almost ‘finishes’ your musical idea for you and if it inspires your artistic process, because the slightest difference in your touch or motion can make myriad of differences in the sound. For me, there is no other instrument that can do this. I encounter too many limitations if I play on other brands.”

Virsik began playing the piano at the age of three and debuted on Slovak television at age four.  She presented her own recital at age eight.

She received first prizes from four piano competitions while in her early teens and was named laureate of the Maria Callas International Piano competition in Athens and winner of the National Performing Artists of Slovakia. She also received the Prize of Czech Music Critics for outstanding performance of works of Smetana.

She has had solo performances with orchestras around the world and has played at Carnegie Hall and with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Her work has been recorded for the Slovak and Czech Radio, for German Radio SWR, and for several Public Broadcasting radio stations in the U.S. including Boston’s WGBH, Connecticut Public Radio, and the PBS Television network. Her latest CD album, Piano Encores, was highly praised in the classical magazine Fanfare.

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