Historic Keyboard Collection


San Jose State University’s School of Music and Dance houses two unique collections of historic keyboards. The Historic Keyboard Collection features post-1840 pianos including an 1841 Bösendorfer, 1861 English Erard, an 1868 French Erard, an 1871 Viennese Streicher, and an 1875 Broadwood. In addition, the School owns three modern replica harpsichords: two Wilsons and a Sabathil. The Ira. F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies features an 1823 Broadwood, an 1827 Jakesch, and a 1795 model Dulken created in 1985 by Paul Poletti and Janine Johnson. In addition the Beethoven Center owns a Speerhake clavichord and a Wilson harpsichord. These keyboard instruments are regularly featured in concerts presented by students and faculty including:

  • Plucked or Strucked, a series of concerts featuring the clavichord, harpsichord, fortepiano and piano tracing the history of the keyboards held in the School of Music and the Beethoven Center.
  • French Piano Festival of piano music by Ravel and Debussy presented by students and faculty.
  • Historic Keyboard Concerts presented by the School of Music and the Kurosawa Piano Music Foundation.

Students perform and practice on these instruments in solo works as well as chamber settings. In addition, a unique class on Beethoven Sonatas is regularly taught at the Beethoven Center located in the Martin Luther King Library where students study first editions and manuscripts of sonatas and learn to play these pieces on the Broadwood and Dulken. 

A selection of the University’s keyboard collection are featured on CD, including:

            Beethoven, Period: Sonatas and Variations for Cello and Fortepiano recorded on the 1823 Broadwood by Christopher O’Riley (piano) and Matt Haimovitz (cell0, Pentatone Label).

           Ravel Revealed, The complete solo piano works recorded on the 1868 French Erard by Dr. Gwendolyn Mok, Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at SJSU (MSR Classics, 1070).   

           Brahms Late Piano Works, Opp 116-119, recorded on the 1871 Streicher and the 1868 French Erard by Prof. Mok (MSR Classics, 1420) .