Construction of Cutting-Edge Music Facility Nears Completion

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    The state-of-the-art music center will feature professional-quality recording studios and the proper symphony hall acoustics that Mandeville lacks. The facility’s crown jewel, a 400-seat concert hall, will be used to showcase everything from classical works to student compositions. The center will also include two smaller halls for lectures and recitals, and will double as a gallery for multimedia and music-theater pieces. Other notable features include rehearsal rooms with specially refined acoustics and a courtyard with potential as a performance venue.

    ‘I think the most important thing is the concert hall, at least in respect to what we do,’ music professor John Fonville said. ‘Having a proper acoustical venue to showcase work, and that includes the work of the students as well, is important.’

    On-campus artists and educators will receive preferential treatment in using the facilities, though campus officials said that nonaffiliates could seek performance space in the new facility as well.

    ‘Ninety percent of its use will be from students and faculty,’ Steiger said. He added, however, that groups outside the music department, such as ArtPower!, have expressed interest in the new center.

    World-renowned acoustician Cyril Harris partnered with Seattle-based LMN Architects to create the facility, which was partially inspired by Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. The team designed specially angled walls and ceilings as well as a concrete, aluminum and glass ‘curtain wall’ to achieve the perfect sound envrionment. According to Steiger, proper acoustics will allow sound to be heard clearly in one room while another room is completely silent.

    ‘You won’t hear an F-14 fly over from Miramar,’ he said.

    The project has proceeded almost without a hitch, only slightly affected by the recent construction halt created by a lack of state funding. Although the music center will still open relatively soon after its originally projected unveiling date, a quarter of the music department’s funding is currently frozen, which may slow the opening of some rooms within the building. Main problems hindering the completion of the project are a lack of equipment funds for recording rooms, pianos and other instruments vital to the department.

    The total cost of construction for the Conrad Prebys Music Center was $53 million, funds which Steiger said came almost exclusively from state, which the exception of roughly $7.5 million from private donors recruited in the face of rising inflationary costs. Steiger said this extra money was provided by three primary donors, including Point Loma developer Conrad Prebys, who contributed $6 million and thus became the building’s namesake.

    Though the facility remains incomplete ‘mdash; the classrooms and offices are unfurnished, new equipment needs installing, instruments need to be imported and security procedures must be perfected ‘mdash; members of the music department have already begun celebrating, their dream finally materialized after a 20-year struggle.

    ‘We’ve gone from the worst facility to the best facility of any major music department,’ Steiger said. ‘When everyone sees it, they’ll see what a remarkable building it is. I’ve been working on this for 20 years, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped build not just any building, but a really great building.’

    Readers can contact Sarah Smith at [email protected].

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    The Conrad Prebys Music Center, a long-anticipated component of the music department currently under construction near Gilman Parking Structure, is slated to open to the public in Spring Quarter 2009.

    According to music department chair Rand Steiger, the new facility is 99.9 percent complete, with the building’s administrative offices ready to be opened by the end of the month, and the remaining majority of the facility’ to be finished next quarter.

    ‘We’re going to start moving into it in a couple of weeks,’ Steiger said.

    Though the concept for the project has been floating around the music department for the past 20 years, construction officially began roughly two years ago, due in part to complaints about the inadequate location of the department’s current home in Mandeville Auditorium.

    The state-of-the-art music center will feature professional-quality recording studios and the proper symphony hall acoustics that Mandeville lacks. The facility’s crown jewel, a 400-seat concert hall, will be used to showcase everything from classical works to student compositions. The center will also include two smaller halls for lectures and recitals, and will double as a gallery for multimedia and music-theater pieces. Other notable features include rehearsal rooms with specially refined acoustics and a courtyard with potential as a performance venue.

    ‘I think the most important thing is the concert hall, at least in respect to what we do,’ music professor John Fonville said. ‘Having a proper acoustical venue to showcase work, and that includes the work of the students as well, is important.’

    On-campus artists and educators will receive preferential treatment in using the facilities, though campus officials said that nonaffiliates could seek performance space in the new facility as well.

    ‘Ninety percent of its use will be from students and faculty,’ Steiger said. He added, however, that groups outside the music department, such as ArtPower!, have expressed interest in the new center.

    World-renowned acoustician Cyril Harris partnered with Seattle-based LMN Architects to create the facility, which was partially inspired by Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. The team designed specially angled walls and ceilings as well as a concrete, aluminum and glass ‘curtain wall’ to achieve the perfect sound envrionment. According to Steiger, proper acoustics will allow sound to be heard clearly in one room while another room is completely silent.

    ‘You won’t hear an F-14 fly over from Miramar,’ he said.

    The project has proceeded almost without a hitch, only slightly affected by the recent construction halt created by a lack of state funding. Although the music center will still open relatively soon after its originally projected unveiling date, a quarter of the music department’s funding is currently frozen, which may slow the opening of some rooms within the building. Main problems hindering the completion of the project are a lack of equipment funds for recording rooms, pianos and other instruments vital to the department.

    The total cost of construction for the Conrad Prebys Music Center was $53 million, funds which Steiger said came almost exclusively from state, which the exception of roughly $7.5 million from private donors recruited in the face of rising inflationary costs. Steiger said this extra money was provided by three primary donors, including Point Loma developer Conrad Prebys, who contributed $6 million and thus became the building’s namesake.

    Though the facility remains incomplete ‘mdash; the classrooms and offi
    ces are unfurnished, new equipment needs installing, instruments need to be imported and security procedures must be perfected ‘mdash; members of the music department have already begun celebrating, their dream finally materialized after a 20-year struggle.

    ‘We’ve gone from the worst facility to the best facility of any major music department,’ Steiger said. ‘When everyone sees it, they’ll see what a remarkable building it is. I’ve been working on this for 20 years, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped build not just any building, but a really great building.’

    Readers can contact Sarah Smith at [email protected].

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