In the coming months, Emory’s new Donna and Marvin Schwartz Center for Performing Arts will welcome world-renowned artists, including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. But when the long-awaited building opens its doors to the public for the first time February 1, its spaces will be brought to vibrant life by those who have anticipated it most eagerly: Emory performers.

The dedication of the Schwartz Center will feature “Inter-Play,” an opening ceremony and performance produced under the artistic direction of Theater Emory’s Vincent Murphy. The evening will showcase Emory dance, music, and theater performers, including both students and faculty.

This event launches the four-month Schwartz Center Opening Festival, which is to continue throughout the spring semester. The February 1 dedication will be followed by a week of University-based performances, such as Alumni Musicians in Concert February 2, the Emory Chamber Music Society with guest pianist Robert Spano February 4, and an “Emory Performs” series of thematic offerings from a variety of music ensembles and faculty soloists February 3, 6, and 7. Many of these events and those throughout the spring are free. The week concludes with a ticketed concert by the New York Philharmonic February 8.

“The opening festival offers something for every taste,” says Schwartz Center Managing Director Robert McKay. “Over the course of four months, it provides a vivid snapshot of permanent Emory programs, ensembles, and performance series. It will be inspiring for those who are passionate about the arts at Emory while intriguing new audiences to explore and discover us.”

Designed by the internationally recognized Michael Dennis and Associates with acoustics by Kirkegaard and Associates, the $35 million Schwartz Center, begun in fall 2000 with an $8 million lead gift by Donna Schwartz ’62C and Marvin Schwartz, is nearly complete. The building, centrally located at the corner of Clifton and North Decatur roads, is fashioned after the historic Quadrangle buildings conceived by Henry Hornbostel. During its construction, its unfinished front wall was temporarily decorated with musical notes, comedy and tragedy masks, and other symbols of the arts, to remind passing community members of its purpose; now gracious, gleaming vertical windows stretch nearly from the ground to the roof. In just a few more months, its multiple classrooms and practice rooms will be lively with learning and rehearsals, and its performance spaces will be put through their paces.

Of these, the showpiece is the newly christened Cherry Logan Emerson Concert Hall, an 825-seat concert space with a choral balcony and flexible stage designed for performances ranging from a string quartet to a 190-member chorus. Created with acoustic perfection in mind, its multifaceted stucco and concrete wall and ceiling panels are meant to absorb and deflect sound waves for the highest possible musical quality. The concert hall was recently named for Emory benefactor Cherry Logan Emerson ’38C-’39G, who has given more than $1 million to support its construction.

Emerson, a third-generation scientist credited with numerous patents and products developed through the family chemical and engineering firm, is well-known at Emory for his steadfast support of his two enduring passions: art and science. A familiar face at Emory concerts and performances, he is a longtime member of Emory’s Friends of Music and recently endowed the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta’s annual Emerson Series as well as the Mary L. Emerson Chair of Piano Studies. Emerson also has supported a science professorship, science lecture series, and the establishment of a scientific computation center, all leading to the naming of the Cherry Logan Emerson Hall chemistry building last year.

“Cherry’s commitment to his two lifelong passions, art and science, is a model for Emory students,” says Senior Associate Dean Rosemary Magee, executive director of Emory’s arts center project. “Our most popular double major happens to be chemistry and music.”

Among the available ways to lend support in the final stages of the Center's fundraising are the Kresge Challenge and Seat Naming campaigns. The Kresge Foundation will award $750,000 to Emory if the balance of the Center's campaign goal is raised by December. More than 150 families and individuals have given to the Seat Campaign. Each $2,500 contribution enables the donor to designate a seat in honor of someone special. Many faculty members who have touched the lives of former students have been honored in this way.

Emory has always hosted about a hundred arts events each year, a number that won’t change significantly, says Schwartz Center Managing Director Robert McKay. But many 2002-2003 season performances that coincide with the opening of the Schwartz Center will take place there and be part of, or tied to, the center’s programming.

The annual Candler Series, for instance, offers three classical performances in the fall, including the Sao Paulo Orchestra on November 13 in Glenn Memorial Auditorium. But the fourth, violinist Sarah Chang with Lars Vogt on piano, on March 4, will be in the Schwartz Center’s Emerson Concert Hall. Other Candler Series events include the Dave Brubeck Quartet on October 4, in the Glenn auditorium, and Doug Varone and Dancers, February 28 and March 1, in the Schwartz Center’s dance studio. These performances are made possible by the Flora Glenn Candler Endowment.

Other highlights of the upcoming season include:

Noontime, Family, and Emerson Series concerts celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta

Emory Jazz Festival and Dave Brubeck Festival

This year's Journeys Series features artists from India, Sri Lanka, and Turkey as well as leading percussionists

Emory faculty recitals and ensemble performances

Theater Emory Brave New Works readings this spring in the Schwartz Center's new Theater Lab

An Emory Dance season with four productions in the Schwartz Center Dance Studio

The Creative Writing Program Reading Series featuring six award winning authors

Dozens of special events, open houses, and free concerts

To receive a complete brochure of the upcoming Emory arts season, call 404-727-5050, or visit, or Alumni under 30 receive 10% off most ticketed events.

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