What to expect from the new Music Center

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Scheduled to open at the start of next semester, the new Music Center will offer amenities to enhance the rapidly-growing program and honor and support those who have impacted the school’s music program.

Dr. Kristen Queen, the interim director of the School of Music, said TCU has long recognized the need for improved facilities for the music program as the program and school have increased in size.

Currently, the school is housed in Ed Landreth Hall, the Mary D. and F. Howard Walsh Center for Performing Arts, Music Building South and Jarvis Hall.

With an increased interest in music, the program has doubled in size over the last 15 years, Queen said.

In the last five years, the number of accepted students seeking a bachelor’s degree in the College of Fine Arts has increased from 1,055 in 2015 to 1,430 applicants in 2019.

“I am so excited for the new music center,” said Grace Griffin, a music major. “The School of Music and theater programs currently share a lot of rooms and space, and we are both growing programs and have expanded a lot.” 

After a decade-long effort to enhance and coordinate the facilities, TCU’s Board of Trustees committed to building the first phase of a comprehensive school of music facility in 2015, Queen said.

“Having the opportunity to educate and support the performances of TCU’s outstanding students and faculty in such a great environment will only elevate the program and its continued potential,” said Dr. Richard Gipson, the interim dean of the College of Fine Arts.

The new $53 million music center will serve multiple purposes, according to the TCU College of Fine Arts. It will primarily be used as an academic space to hold classes, rehearsals, lessons and meetings.

The music center will include a 700-seat concert hall named in memory of the legendary Fort Worth concert pianist Van Cliburn.

There have been discussions of limited performances and usage by other groups, such as the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

Renderings of the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU. Renderings from TCU College of Fine Arts

Queen said the hall has state-of-the-art, adjustable acoustics that will support and highlight a variety of performances.

The acoustics are adjustable electronically through “acoustical clouds” that hang from the ceiling inside the concert hall and can be raised or lowered.

In addition, the concert hall has a high ceiling to allow for more reverberation, and the walls near the stage have fabric between and somewhat behind the millwork (wood) in the space.

The music center will also have additional facilities, such as:

  • 5,000 square foot Band Rehearsal Hall (large enough to accommodate the entire Horned Frog Marching Band in seated formation)
  • TCU’s first-ever Orchestra Rehearsal Hall
  • Percussion rehearsal rooms
  • Individual practice rooms for students
  • Faculty teaching studios
  • Elegant lobby
  • Student lounge
  • Life & Legacy of Van Cliburn Gallery

Queen said the music center is designed as if it were several separate buildings in one. They did so by pouring separate concrete slabs and inserting foam separators between these slabs.

This allows the spaces to be acoustically separate, allowing multiple rehearsals to occur in the building at the same time without disturbing one another.

These designs were submitted by BORA, an architectural firm based out of Portland, Oregon.   

The new building will match the quality of the incredible music-making that happens daily. It will also be attractive to potential students with musical backgrounds, said Queen.

The center will be located near the Fine Arts Building in the middle of the proposed Creative Commons.

View of the Creative Commons section of TCU. Renderings from TCU College of Fine Arts

Gipson said this new building will continue TCU’s commitment to providing first-class facilities for study in all the fine arts.

“This and prior investments in such facilities manifest the university’s longstanding belief in the importance and power of the fine arts to enrich our lives,” Gipson said.

The first public performances will occur Sept. 21-24.

Most of these performances will feature TCU School of Music students and faculty as well as some special guests, including the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and a Cliburn Gold Medalist.