Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage

Henry Spinelli photoThe Henry Spinelli Story

A well-maintained high-quality used piano can be just as useful as a new piano. We are the recent beneficiaries of two such pianos, the result of the generosity of one of our most distinguished alumni.  

Pianist Henry Spinelli (A 1955), long-time professor at Chatham University and someone I am honored to know and to call a friend, has given us two beautiful pianos. Here’s a word about Henry:

Pianist Henry Spinelli is Professor Emeritus of Music at Chatham University where he also served as Artistic Director of the Laboratory School of Music.  He is an alumnus of the Department of Music at Carnegie Institute of Technology and has recently served as Artist-Lecturer in the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon. He has given innumerable concerts throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, and has performed repeatedly in New York City in Carnegie Recital Hall, Town Hall, and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. In Washington, D.C., he appeared under the auspices of the Washington Performing Arts Society in recital at the Kennedy Center. He has been heard frequently on classical WQED-FM in Pittsburgh and has been featured on the NPR radio show “Grand Piano”. In addition to traditional repertoire for the piano, Spinelli's programs have focused on 20th-century music. He has given many lecture recitals on composers of the Belle Epoque and the music of Olivier Messiaen, and he is well-known for his performances of Charles Ives' "Concord" Sonata.   

It gives me great pleasure to report that even as an octogenarian Henry is still practicing, performing, and recording, and sounds better than ever. As proof, check out the recording he did in 2013, Henry Spinelli – 80, a terrific disc of Scarlatti, Schubert, Faure, Irving Fine, Gershwin, and three etudes written by our own Earl Wild (who wasn’t a bad little pianist himself).

For many years Henry practiced in his home studio on two beautiful 7-foot pianos, a Baldwin and a Bechstein, which he always kept in pristine condition. Henry let me know that when the time was right, he would gift these gorgeous instruments to the Carnegie Mellon School of Music. The time is here, and these two instruments are now permanent fixtures in the two new chamber music rehearsal rooms in the Hall of the Arts.

I should hasten to add this doesn’t mean Henry is finished practicing and performing - not by a long shot. He continues honing his artistry on his new Steinway Model “B”.

I am sincerely grateful to Henry for his wonderful generosity and thoughtfulness, and continued engagement with his alma mater.

–Denis Colwell
Jack G. Buncher Head of the School of Music