College of Music introduces 2013-14 music season
Mid-Michigan is in for a treat this fall as the Michigan State University College of Music gears up to present an extraordinary season, with the added bonus of hosting the events in reinvented performance spaces.
In addition to the recently revamped Cook Recital Hall in the Music Building, the much-anticipated renovation of MSU Auditorium’s Fairchild Theatre is nearing completion and will provide state-of-the-art performance space for students, faculty artists and guest performers. The 462-seat theater will primarily be used by the College of Music for classes, rehearsals and performances, but will also be used by the Department of Theatre and student organizations.
The extensive $20 million renovation of Fairchild Theatre, with improved acoustics and attention to comfort and accessibility, will introduce a fresh musical life into the historic hall after a 16-month renovation. It promises to offer audiences a one-of-a-kind theater-going experience with its intimate connection to the performers. Improvements include ceiling clouds, an adjustable acoustic shell, sound-absorbing banners, a 47-seat orchestra pit, audio and visual sound reinforcement, air conditioning and a recording/visual control room.
A team of architects and acousticians from Kirkegaard Associates, based in Chicago, and Boora Architects in Portland, Ore., worked closely together to renovate the 75-year old theater. Kirkegaard, the acoustic design firm on the project, is a leading international company that has completed award-winning work on several well-known concert halls, including Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center and Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium.
Boora Architects, a national leader in creation of cultural and educational facilities, has designed several performing and integrated arts centers, including those at University of Texas, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, University of Oregon, University of Texas-Austin and University of California-Davis.
Besides the new rich look of the venue with the obvious visual upgrades, the acoustical improvement is most notable.
“Every surface of Fairchild has been carefully considered and shaped for excellent acoustics,” said Anthony Shou, principal consultant for Kirkegaard Associates.
According to Stephen Weeks, from Boora Architects, acoustic quality was the No. 1 goal of the project but the design teams were faced with significant sound challenges from the old venue. In addition, they wanted to provide visual intimacy to create a memorable experience for the audience.
“This new venue will be a first-class space for student learning,” said James Forger, dean of the College of Music. “It will also greatly enhance the patron concert experience with enhanced accessibility, superb acoustics, comfortable seating, great sight lines, air conditioning and excellent technical capabilities for operatic and theatrical performances.”
In addition, the renovation will provide much-needed convenient, free parking, which is located directly across the street from Fairchild Theatre in Lot No. 9. Further improvements for guests include more restrooms and improved accessibility for persons with disabilities.
Forger said that he, the College of Music faculty and other users appreciate the support from MSU and its leaders.
“The university has made a sizeable investment in the complete renovation of this Works Progress Administration-era landmark theater,” he said. “This transformation brings to the community a stellar facility that will showcase the performing arts on this campus on an entirely new level.”
For more information about the season and to buy tickets visit http://music.msu.edu/event-listing/20132014-season.