Stetson Law Welcomes Liberace Piano
On June 13, the Stetson University community welcomed a piece of history to the Gulfport campus. Interim Dean Kristen Adams of the College of Law and Dean Timothy Peter of the School of Music held a special dedication to celebrate the donation of a piano previously owned and played by Liberace himself. Marco A. Jimenez, son of Stetson Law professor Marco J. Jimenez, capped off the dedication by taking a seat at the piano and filling the Mann Lounge with melodies by Liszt and Chopin.
Donated by the parents of a current Stetson student, the piano is more than 100 years old and carries with it decades of musical history. Liberace came to know the piano in the 1930’s before his monumental rise to fame. After playing a small gig in a Milwaukee bar, he asked the owner if he could buy the old six-legged grand piano. The piano changed hands, and the rest is history.
The piano was delivered to the Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia (now the James Brown Arena), at the special request of Liberace whenever he played there. Before his first Augusta performance, he had the piano shipped from a warehouse in Chicago where it had remained since his purchase. It is said that the first time Liberace played the old piano after so long he shed a tear at the familiarity and comfort of the instrument. Despite having access to the most pristine pianos of his time, Liberace insisted that this piano be delivered each time he played in Augusta. It was a treasure to him and it will remain a treasure to our community.