October 23, 2000
Susan Beasy Latto, Director, Public Relations 218 726-8830
Wm. Robert Bucker, Dean, School of Fine Arts 218 726-7033
Judith Kritzmire, Head, Department of Music 218 726-8260
UMD Holds Groundbreaking for $6.5 Million Weber Music Hall
Designed by World-Famous Architect, Cesar Pelli
UMD held groundbreaking ceremonies Monday for the $6.5 million Weber Music Hall to be built on the UMD campus. The new 21,600 square foot building is named for Mary Ann and Ron Weber in honor of major gifts by the Webers toward the design and construction of the facility. The building was designed by world-famous architect Cesar Pelli, of Cesar Pelli and Associates of New Haven, Connecticut. The local Duluth firm is Stanius Johnson Architects Inc.
Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin said, "The new Weber Music Hall will provide the final arm of an "Arts' Triangle" on the UMD campus--joining the Tweed Museum of Art and the Marshall Performing Arts Center around the perimeter of Ordean Court. We know the Music Hall will become a campus and a community destination providing enrichment and enjoyment, and further defining UMD as an exciting regional arts center."
The building's public performance area will include a stage able to accommodate a 70-piece orchestra and seating for an audience of 350. A chorus loft behind the stage area will allow expansion of audience seating to over 400 which would totally surround the stage. The building will provide state-of-the-art acoustics for both live performances and high-quality audio-video recording of events. Accent lighting is designed to accommodate a large variety of performance and artistic needs. All of the building will be fully accessible including lobby, green room, box office, rest rooms, coat room, storage, elevator, physical plant, and audience, performance, rehearsal and media spaces.
While providing quality learning, rehearsal and performance space for UMD students, the Weber Music Hall will ensure that UMD also provides a "best practices" facility for K-12 performance training. The facility will accommodate the delivery of cultural and educational outreach to the entire area while attracting internationally recognized performance artists to the campus.
The UMD Music Department has more than doubled in size in the last six years with a significant increase in technological emphasis. Enrollment is just over 100 undergraduate music majors, with 24 graduate students, and 450 performing ensemble participants. Each year UMD music ensembles perform over 100 concerts, with a total attendance of 15,000 people. Approximately 5,300 undergraduate students from every college at UMD enroll in music department courses each year. UMD annually hosts 12,000 area high school students at high school jazz band, honor band, honor choir and honor orchestra festivities.
"The UMD School of Fine Arts is the only program in Minnesota which houses the programs of music, theatre, and art in one college. Despite the quality of these programs, it is also the only school in Minnesota without a performance space for music. With today's groundbreaking, that statement will become history, and UMD will be engaged in a wonderful new era of educational and cultural growth," said School of Fine Arts Dean Wm. Robert Bucker.