Marilyn & Ben Heyward gift a Steinway Concert Grand Piano

Ben and Marilyn Heyward with Roberta Rust

Please do not mistake Ben and Marilyn Heyward’s piano for any ordinary 88.

Roberta Rust plays Steinway piano
Roberta Rust plays the Steinway Concert Grand piano gifted to the Conservatory of Music

It is a 9-foot Steinway Concert Grand, built in 2005, played by Elton John, Billy Joel and Norah Jones. The Heywards fell hard for it at a performance of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (coincidentally, under the baton of our own Guillermo Figueroa). The Heywards had owned both a Baldwin and a Bechstein. Neither held a candle to that Steinway.

“I had to have it,” Mr. Heyward said.

“He had to have it,” Mrs. Heyward said.

The time has come, they have decided, for the Conservatory of Music to have it next.

“I believe classical music would die out without institutions like the conservatory,” said Mr. Heyward. “It felt like the right place for the Steinway.”

Roberta Rust, head of the piano department, visited the Heyward’s house in Vero Beach to play the Steinway—a little Chopin, a little Gershwin. “It will become the finest 9-foot concert grand in the Lynn collection,” she said. “We are so fortunate the Heywards chose to give this piano to Lynn.”

Mrs. Heyward was an elementary school teacher. Mr. Heyward, a retired executive for a credit union, was once a harpsichordist for a symphony in Alabama. He still plays the Steinway regularly.

“It’s wonderful to imagine someone with more talent than I have playing it,” he said.

“It will be taken care of and played and appreciated,” Mrs. Heyward said. “That means a lot to me.”

Because they have no children, Mr. Heyward considers the Steinway their legacy to the next generation. “And that’s a real honor for us.”

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