Background

In 2016, Edith Cowan University received an unprecedented and historic gift – the Stewart Symonds Keyboard Instrument Collection. Painstakingly and intelligently assembled by Australian collector Stewart Symonds, the collection is widely recognised as one of the most significant in the world, and is of immense cultural value. Now preserved for posterity at Edith Cowan University, the Collection comprises 140 instruments – including the First Fleet piano. It offers a wide selection of exceptionally rare – in some instances, unique – stringed keyboard instruments dating from 1736 to 1874. including an English bentside spinet, and breathtaking examples of square, grand and cabinet pianos.

We welcome special friends, donors and champions to be part of our incredible, multi-phase journey to establish the Centre for Keyboard Performance and Research (WAAPA). The Centre will not only be world-leading but inspirational and attract the best international piano and keyboard teachers, performers, researchers and students.

Through this program you will become our ambassadors and contribute to the restoration and future opportunities offered by instruments in this rare collection. Your involvement will deeply enrich the cultural life of Australia, now and for generations to come.