The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) at Edith Cowan University (ECU) seeks to lead the world in historical keyboard instrument teaching and research.
In 2016 ECU received an unprecedented and rare gift of 140 keyboard instruments of historical and cultural significance – including the First Fleet piano that arrived in Australia on board the HMS Sirius in 1786. This collection known as the Founding Pianos, is considered one of the most significant historical keyboard research projects undertaken in Australia.
Recognising the extraordinary importance of historical keyboard restoration and conservation and the preservation of a rare and dying skillset the Feilman Foundation created The Feilman Foundation First Fleet Restoration PhD Scholarship.
In a world-first, this scholarship will provide valuable research to document the current methods of maintaining the instruments’ vitality. The scholarship offers students the ability to ‘intern’ with the world’s master piano restorers and makers to record their processes and techniques.
Supported by the international piano community, the Founding Pianos project has solidified WAAPA’s position as the leading authority on historical keyboard instruments, and allowed cross-disciplinary collaboration between universities, continents and experts to guarantee the longevity of these significant and beautiful instruments.