New Piano for Orkney

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St Magnus International Festival has raised £115,000 to buy Orkney’s first ever Steinway ‘Model D’ concert grand piano which arrived on the Islands on 7 June.

The piano was selected from Steinway’s workshops in Hamburg by the Festival’s Artistic Director, Alasdair Nicolson, and world-renowned Scottish concert pianist, Steven Osborne earlier this year.  The piano has made its way on a journey of over 1200 miles from Hamburg to London, and on Monday 30 May, will set off on the final leg of its journey from London to Orkney, arriving in Kirkwall on the morning of Tuesday 31 May.

The fundraising began in 2010 when composer, Alasdair Nicolson, became Artistic Director of the St Magnus International Festival and identified the need to for a new, top of the range, concert grand piano.

Alasdair Nicolson said, “I knew that we could attract some of the finest pianists in the world to come to perform at the festival, but only if we had the right piano. St Magnus has never owned its own piano before, and as Steinway Model D pianos are generally the instrument of choice of international concert pianists, this is what we aspired to own. I think it’s probably the most expensive piano on any of the Scottish islands.”

The piano’s inaugural concerts will be at this year’s 40th birthday festival, and just one of the piano highlights will be international Russian pianist, Alexei Volodin in both recital and with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2.

The funds were raised over a six-year campaign and around half came from grants from Creative Scotland, Orkney Islands Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The rest came from a total of 264 private donations including contributions from Nexen Petroleum and local craft firm Judith Glue.

The piano will belong to the St Magnus International Festival and will be housed in the mediaeval St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall when not being used at the festival. 

St Magnus Festival has become an integrated and pluralistic festival and a precious element of Scotland's cultural landscape
Herald Scotland

St Magnus International Festival, 13 Albert Street, Kirkwall, KW15 1HP

T: +44 (0)1856 871445


St Magnus Festival is a charity registered in Scotland. Scottish Charity No SC011666. Company Number SC073825.

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