MU gives first look at proposed School of Music and Performing Arts Center

Monday, March 3, 2008 | 10:15 p.m. CST; updated 4:30 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Before the Chancellor’s Concert at Jesse Auditorium on Monday, Michael O’Brien, dean of the MU College of Arts and Science, gave audience members an idea of what a new School of Music and Performing Arts Center might look like. The presentation featured a fly-through video, giving the public a first look at the proposed building.

The project, estimated to cost $100 million, would involve a renovation and face-lift of the current Fine Arts Building and a new School of Music that would be built at the northeast corner of Hitt Street and University Avenue, the location of the Fine Arts Annex. The renovated Performing Arts Center would house the art and theater departments, while the music department would move to the new building.


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The video showed floor plans of the proposed five-story School of Music that would house a 350-seat recital hall and a 1,000-seat concert hall. According to O’Brien, the red brick and white stone structure would hold around 90 percent of the music program.

O’Brien emphasized the need for the project by invoking the words of Gordon Lamb, former UM System interim president, who said, “It is a disgrace for Missouri to have the type of performing arts center that we have now.”

The current Fine Arts Building was constructed in 1961 when MU had three theater and six art faculty members . At present, each of the two departments employs about 20 faculty.

O’Brien also announced that after two years of looking for a qualified candidate, Robert Shay has been hired as the new director of the School of Music. Shay is the vice president for academic affairs and dean of the conservatory at The Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Mass.

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