Department of Music, Emorys oldest and largest arts program
and the one long considered to have the least amount of adequate
space, stands to gain the most from the Schwartz Center. The buildings
showpiece is the Emerson Concert Hall, an 825-seat auditorium
designed by architect Michael Dennis and Associates with acoustics
by Kirkegaard and Associates.
two hundred-member University Concert Choir and other choral
ensembles will now rehearse there on a regular basis. A large
orchestra rehearsal room and a number of smaller practice rooms
are also available, as well as ample storage for instruments.
this space is a welcome change for the eighteen hundred Emory
students who participate in the music program each year. The
department supports three primary choral ensembles and thirteen
instrumental ensembles, including the Emory Symphony Orchestra,
involving about eight hundred students. About the same number
of students are enrolled in a wide range of academic music courses,
while two hundred take private lessons from faculty or some
forty artist affiliates, many of whom are professional musicians
with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
now, for group rehearsals, the department has relied almost
solely on Glenn Auditorium, a church building not appropriate
for many kinds of music. A smaller performing arts studio in
the Burlington Road Building provides supplemental space.
is something that exists in time and space, and the kind of
building and room youre running rehearsals and performances
in will drastically affect the quality of the learning experience,
says Steven Everett, chair of the music department. Its
like a chemistry professor with no labs, having to teach chemistry
in regular classrooms.
the Schwartz Center has altered the culture of Emory arts programs,
says William Ransom, Mary Emerson Professor of Piano. Just
by the fact that they see they are being taken more seriously,
the students playing is already rising to a new level,
Ransom says. When theyre rehearsing on stage in
Emerson Hall, the new setting raises everyones hopes and
expectations to a new level of quality.
has really inspired me to practice more, says senior Tina
Lu, a music and creative writing major. The room I use
now has a big, open window and is just a nicer environment.
Its easier to concentrate.
Shah, a senior from Houston majoring in music and Asian studies,
says he came to Emory mainly because it had the rigorous science
track he was initially looking for but also offered a strong
music program. Shah plays the bassoon for four different Emory
ensembles and says he has benefited most from the wide variety
of music courses offered, from Asian and Middle Eastern music
to jazz, composition to music theory, and conducting to wind
music program is kind of like Emorys best kept secret,
because its always been in the corner, Shah says,
pointing out that most of the department offices are in the
Burlington Road Building, literally on the far corner of the
campus and removed from any central buildings. But now
that we will be more in the center, hopefully more people will
also has high hopes that the concert hall will bring Emory performers
together in fresh, unimagined ways. The interaction between
theater, dance, and music could mean we could put together a
full musical theater production, he says. I dont
think thats really happened much at Emory because we havent
had a space. But a lot of students have asked about it. More
people might become interested in Emory if thats important
enthusiasm is echoed by many who look forward to the artistic
collaboration that is sure to result when the performing arts
share one roof. For instance, while the Schwartz Center was
designed with only a black box-style directors lab for
the theater program, Theater Emory director Vincent Murphy says,
The most important thing for us about the Schwartz Center
is the opportunity for interdisciplinary work with the other
arts on campus. We are the most collaborative of the arts. There
are all kinds of collaborative projects I would like to do,
but until now there has been no real meeting place. If we did
something with people from both dance and music, I had to go
running all over campus.
love collaborations, says Lauren Gunderson, a junior majoring
in creative writing and theater, who performed in the opening
night event Inter-Play, so being involved
with musicians and dancers really epitomized why the Schwartz
Center is so urgently needed and appreciated: artists need other
artists. We need each other to inspire and be inspired. I was
definitely inspired that night.
Schwartz Center boasts the first studio and performance space
in Atlanta designed expressly for dance. > > >