January 27, 2003

Schwartz Center opening gala kicks off month of programs

By Sally Corbett

After two years of construction and nine years of planning the Donna and Marvin Schwartz Center for Performing Arts will open Feb. 1. The gala opening kicks off a three-and-a-half-month multidisciplinary festival celebrating Emory’s diverse and burgeoning arts programs and series that will run though May 12.

While tickets for the opening-night dedication and performance featuring Emory music, dance and theater students and faculty as well as the Feb. 8 performance of New York Philharmonic are spoken for, opening week offers many other free events featuring alumni, guest artists, faculty and students. First-week festivities include five free concerts, a multidiciplinary open-rehearsal night and choreography lecture, and several Brave New Works readings by Theater Emory.

The opening festival makes for an excellent opportunity for the Emory community to experience the superb acoustics of the center’s Cherry Logan Emerson Concert Hall. An array of five free concerts begins Feb. 2 when more than a dozen graduates return to campus for Alumni Musicians in Concert.

That’s followed by the Emory Performs series. Part I: Exhilaration is an evening of wind music (Feb. 3); Part II: Revelation (Feb. 6) features new works and the world premiere of Grammy winner Libby Larsen’s new song cycle sung by music faculty member Bonnie Pomfret; and Part III: Reverberation (Feb. 7) features sitar, guitar, Indian Classical voice, a Kuchipudi dancer and jazz.

On Feb. 4 the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta will be joined by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Robert Spano for the society’s tenth anniversary concert. Like the Emory Performs series, admission is free.

The Schwartz Center is part of a campus master plan and, as the most comprehensive Emory arts venue, it serves as a sort of town hall for the “Emory Arts Village.” Its construction was made possible through funding from Emory, an $8 million gift from Donna and Marvin Schwartz, and gifts from hundreds of individuals, including faculty, alumni and trustees, as well as numerous corporations and foundations.

Donna Schwartz, a 1962 Emory College graduate from New York, and husband Marvin, pledged the lead gift in 1999. In 2001 Atlantan Cherry Logan Emerson (’38C, ’39G) provided a multimillion-dollar gift to the facility. Later that year, the Kresge Foundation provided a $750,000 matching challenge, which was completed in December. A seat-naming campaign, which has received approximately 200 gifts, is ongoing as well. The fund-raising effort, which has the largest and most diverse donor base of any Emory College campaign, was chaired by alumna and trustee Laura Jones Hardman.

“It is gratifying to receive support from so many constituencies, from hundreds of individuals giving at all levels, to foundations, corporations and longtime friends and every member of the board of trustees.” said Bill Fox, senior vice president for Institutional Advancement.

“The Schwartz Center is the culmination of collaborations too numerous to name,” said Rosemary Magee, senior associate dean of Emory College and executive director of the Arts Project. “Dozens of consultants brought to life many, many ideas from faculty, staff and students. The opening of the center is the end of a monumental planning, fundraising and construction effort, but it is only the start of something more meaningful than we can even imagine for artists, scholars, students and the community.”

The center’ s largest public and academic spaces are the 825-seat Cherry Logan Emerson Concert Hall with choral balcony and orchestra pit, the theater lab for the nurture of innovative theater, and the dance studio, which will be a locus of new choreography and dance performance.

Other spaces include classrooms, artist affiliate studios, student lounges, a rehearsal hall, practice rooms, music studios, a performance library and an arts commons room.
“The study, creation and presentation of the performing arts at this new center will further invigorate the cultural life that Emory and Atlanta already enjoy,” said President Bill Chace. “As we prepare to celebrate the center’s opening, I welcome the many supporters who have profoundly influenced the development of the facility, and, thereby, all creative endeavor at Emory.”

A full festival schedule of film, music, dance, visual arts, art history, Carlos Museum, and theater events is posted at www.emory.edu/ARTS. To reserve free tickets
e-mail boxoffice@emory.edu.






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