New construction will ensure facility meets the needs of faculty and students
By Julie Cooper
The School of Music has a lot to sing about: Grammy-winning faculty and alumni, award-winning opera productions and musical performances, an impressive number of Bobcats working on national stages, a stellar placement record for music teachers, and home to the International Piano Festival for the past 12 years. As an encore to these bragging rights, Texas State bands are beginning their second century of providing the soundtrack for the university’s life.
The only thing missing from the successful composition is a facility worthy to mold the school’s quality of instruction, talent, and inspiration into the future. That deficit, which could hinder top student recruitment and future growth, is the impetus behind a new music building slated for the San Marcos Campus. When completed, the masterpiece will serve almost 600 music majors and 80-plus faculty who are currently spread across five buildings.
Since 1983, the Department of Music has been housed in a converted facility that was formerly Strahan Gym. Located at the corner of North LBJ and Sessom drives, the school was originally intended for 200 music students. Enrollment has flourished, far exceeding that expectation. Within the School of Music, there are now 30 music ensembles: the 350-member Bobcat Marching Band, Symphony Orchestra, six choral ensembles, opera, four jazz bands, a rock ensemble, two salsa bands, two mariachi groups, and 12 smaller instrumental ensembles.
For Dr. John Fleming, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the new music building will propel the achievements of the students and faculty it will hold. “We need a central location that can house and meet the demands of the students and faculty of the School of Music,” Fleming says. “The arts are like athletics; when recruiting top talent, facilities matter. This is an investment in our future for providing an even higher level of excellence in our instruction and performance preparation.”
The addition of a music building would add to what has been called a “new front door” for the campus. In 2014 the Performing Arts Center opened at the corner of University and Moon Street, across from the iconic round brick Theatre Center. The music building will be constructed alongside the Performing Arts Center and close to the Edward Gary Garage, completing an epicenter for creating, performing, learning, and gathering.
The proposed music building contains nearly 85,000 square feet of space for classrooms, labs, studios, music library, faculty offices, rehearsal and practice rooms, instrument maintenance room, piano technician studio, and a student lounge.
“We are being purposeful and strategic with space allocation. During summer 2019 we reviewed the planning document that had been developed in 2010 and adjusted the original allocations to match our current and future needs,” says Dr. Joey Martin, professor and interim director of the School of Music. “The new building will have rehearsal, instructional, and storage spaces specifically designed to meet the academic and artistic needs of a 21st-century school of music.”
Will Hensley (B.M. ’04), is a sound engineer who won a Grammy award in 2015 for “Best Children’s Album.”
José Antonio Guerrero Ortiz (M.M. ’13), is CEO and founder of Memoirs Classical Guitar Magazine.
Danielle “Dani” Stevens Nutting (B.M. ’14), received a Fulbright grant to conduct her dissertation research on classical flute tradition in Bulgaria. Nutting has performed with the National Repertory Orchestra (Breckenridge, Colorado), Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Sinfonia da Camera (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois). She is a doctoral candidate in flute performance & literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Eliud Garcia (B.M. ’15), a bass trombone player who released his second solo album “Versitos.” His Austin-based Eliud Band plays Latin music.
Dinah Menger (M.M. ’15), is the director of choral and elementary music for Fort Worth ISD.
Support the future
The project, estimated to cost $70 million, already has more than $30 million committed — and is on its way to create a new home for the School of Music. There are several ways for Bobcats and music lovers to support this project, including naming opportunities. For more information, contact Dr. Dan Perry at email@example.com or (512) 245-4055.