At first Durango, Colorado might not seem like a hotbed of culture and piano lovers, but maybe we should take a closer look. When Steinway decided to tour The Horowitz Piano around North America, they received a request from Lisa Campi-Walters at Fort Lewis College and the rest, as they say, is history.

A lot of people wanted to see, hear or maybe just touch Vladimir Horowitz’s piano. The nine-foot black Steinway grand, known as CD 503, came to Fort Lewis College as part of an unusual American tour. After Dallas, Houston, Milwaukee, New York, Detroit and a number of other big cities, the piano took an unexpected detour – to Durango.

The Horowitz Piano was the focus of the final program in the college’s Life Long Learning Lecture series. Lisa Campi-Walters, associate professor of music at FLC, made the arrangements and prepared a talk about Horowitz’s life, personality and music.
“He was one of the most important pianists of the 20th century,” Campi-Walters said, “and I wanted people to know about him, his style of playing and to see and possibly play his piano.”

But the talk wasn’t the end of it. Audience members got to touch and play the historic instrument.

When it was her turn, Lillian Wakeley, a retired geologist from Dolores and organist at First Methodist Church in Cortez, settled on the piano bench and took a moment to grasp the situation. She played part of a Bach suite, then, seemingly emboldened, launched into Chopin’s plaintive prelude, the same both Campi-Walters and Horowitz on film had played earlier.