Earl "Fatha" Hines piano auction to benefit UC Berkeley's Young Musicians Program

By Caryl Levine, Young Musicians Program



WHAT:The unveiling of a recently restored, one-of-a-kind 1904 Steinway grand piano belonging to the late jazz legend Earl "Fatha" Hines and the announcement of a star-studded gala and Christie's live auction this fall, of which the centerpiece will be the Hines piano.

The gala and auction benefits the University of California, Berkeley's Young Musicians Program, an outreach program for musically-gifted, low-income junior high and high school students. A wine reception will follow.

WHEN: 4 p.m., Tuesday, July 13

WHERE: Sherman and Clay Pianos, 647 Mission Street, San Francisco

SPEAKERS: Olly Wilson, UC Berkeley music professor, personal friend of Hines and co-administrator of his estate; Marsha Jaeger, director of the Young Musicians Program; Anthony Thomas, district manager, Sherman and Clay Pianos.

PERFORMERS:The Hines piano will be played by Bill Bell, a UC Berkeley adjunct professor of music and nationally-known jazz pianist and by Hitomi Oba, a Berkeley High School freshman and fourth year Young Musicians Program student.

BACKGROUND: Hines, who died in 1983 at age 78, helped pioneer modern jazz in the 1920s. His music influenced some of the 20th century's greatest artists, including Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughn and Dizzy Gillespie. Hines had a profound interest in nurturing young talent and specified in his will that a portion of his assets be used for music education.

The Regency-style piano, custom-built for Leander Clay, co-founder of Sherman and Clay Pianos, features a unique structural design, intricate baroque-style wood carvings inlaid with gold, lyre-shaped pedals and a sculpted music holder.

The piano was a gift to Hines from Scott Newhall, former managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, to honor his life-long musical contributions. Hines used the piano, which he kept in his Oakland apartment, on several recordings, including "Earl 'Fatha' Hines at Home."

The 95-year-old piano, in storage for the last 12 years, has been restored to mint condition, courtesy of Sherman and Clay Pianos, one of several auction sponsors. The piano will be on display at Sherman and Clay Pianos' San Francisco store until the auction this fall.

It is believed the piano could fetch up to $1 million at the tribute and gala auction. Proceeds will help secure the future of the Young Musicians Program, which has spawned such musical greats as Joshua Redman, Benny Green and Yellowjackets drummer Will Kennedy.


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