Historic Keyboard Collection


It is a little known fact that San Jose State University houses two unique collections of historic keyboards. The Historic Keyboard Collection in the School of Music and Dance has pianos dating primarily post 1840 including an 1841 Bosendorfer, 1861 English Erard, and 1868 French Erard, and an 1871 Viennese Streicher including three modern replica harpsichords, two Wilsons and a Sabathil. The Ira. F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies hosts an 1823 Broadwood, 1827 Jakesch, and a 1795 model Dulken made in 1985 by Paul Poletti and Janine Johnson. In addition they have a Speerhake clavichord and a Wilson harpsichord. These keyboard instruments are regularly featured in concerts presented by students and faculty.

  • Plucked or Strucked, a series of concerts featuring the clavichord, harpsichord, fortepiano and piano tracing the history of the keyboard held in the Beethoven Center and the School of Music.
  • French Piano Festival of piano music by Ravel and Debussy presented by students and faculty.
  • Three Historic Keyboard Concert presented by the School of Music and the Kurosawa Piano Music Foundation.
  • Brahms Faculty Concert featuring the 1868 Erard and 1871 Streicher (see blog and photos from this event).

Students perform and practice on these instruments in solo works as well as chamber music works. In addition, a special class on Beethoven Sonatas is regularly taught at the Ira F. Brilliant 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.Some of these pianos are also featured on two CDs recorded by Dr. Gwendolyn Mok, Coordinator of Keyboard Studies: Ravel Revealed, The complete solo piano works recorded on an 1868 Erard, and the recently released The Composer’s Piano, Brahms Late Piano Works, Opp 116-119, recorded on the 1871 Streicher and 1868 Erard both on Musicians Showcase Recordings.