Newly expanded music building opens March 6

EUGENE, Ore.-(March 3, 2009)-Gone are the days when University of Oregon music majors jockeyed for rights to rehearse in unlikely places like restrooms due to a shortage of practice rooms.

Thanks to a $19.3 million expansion funded by private gifts and state bonding, the UO now has spacious new music facilities equal to its standing as one of just four comprehensive professional music schools on the West Coast. It is the only one in the Oregon University System.

To celebrate, the university is hosting a public dedication and open house at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 6, at the MarAbel B. Frohnmayer Music Building, Room 190, the Hull Rehearsal Hall, 961 E. 18th Ave.

Special music will include a trumpet fanfare written for the occasion by Robert Kyr, American composer and UO music professor. Performances also will be given by the UO Faculty Wind Quintet with pianist Alexandre Dossin, the UO Chamber Choir and a jazz ensemble. Afterward, UO music students will lead guided tours until noon.

The building was named in 2005 to honor the late MarAbel B. Frohnmayer '32 of Medford, an avid supporter of the arts throughout her life, at the request of UO benefactor Lorry I. Lokey, one of the expansion's many supporters.

"The University of Oregon has a strong national reputation for training exceptional music educators and performers," said President Dave Frohnmayer. "At long last we have facilities that truly reflect the talents of our music faculty and students. This new building stands as an incredible legacy for future Oregonians, and my siblings and I feel honored beyond words that it bears our mother's name. She believed that music was as essential to life as oxygen and water."

The project increased the size of the music facility by about 50 percent. It took 10 years from the start of fundraising to completion.

"This opens a new era for our students, our faculty and staff, and our many constituencies in Oregon and beyond," said Brad Foley, dean of the UO School of Music and Dance. "We have gone from having one of the nation's least adequate music facilities for a school of our size to one of the best."

The music building was among the top three capital priorities of the UO's record-setting Campaign Oregon: Transforming Lives, which ended in December and raised more than $853 million.

The UO School of Music and Dance surpassed its original campaign goal of $10 million to raise a total of $17,508,638 for the music building, equipment and instruments, scholarships, and programs.

A total of $10.3 million in private gifts helped to leverage the Oregon Legislature's allocation of $7.6 million in state bonds for the project. The remaining $1.4 million came from deferred maintenance funds, interest earnings on the gifts and an allocation from the UO administration.

"Especially in light of the current economic situation, we feel incredibly fortunate," Foley said. "This investment has transformed our building to create better opportunities for students to create and to collaborate."

Previously, the UO's 100-member music faculty and staff served nearly 500 music majors and 5,000 other non-major students annually in worn, cramped facilities built to handle about 300 people. (The dance department has its own facilities nearby, in Gerlinger Annex.)

The expansion, designed by BOORA Architects of Portland, created two new wings and enabled the reallocation of older spaces for better and more appropriate purposes, renovation of the original 1920s wing of the building as well as portions of the other older wings, and upgrades for the electrical and climate control systems throughout much of the complex.

The new academic wing, named for donor Leona DeArmond '51 of Central Point,
provides new teaching studios, a new music education lab that doubles as a 65-seat classroom and high-tech recital space, two new 35-seat classrooms and a new suite of practice rooms.

The new performance wing, named for donor Thelma Schnitzer '40 of Portland, features a symphony-sized rehearsal hall along with dedicated teaching, practice, and rehearsal studios for the jazz and percussion programs.

The new instrumental rehearsal hall is named for Audrey "Avis" Aasen-Hull '39 and her husband, Byrne Hull, of Menlo Park, Calif. With ceilings soaring to 40 feet and enhanced technology and recording facilities, the hall enables the school to expand its training programs for students headed for the creative services industry and serves as a key link between the university and the local arts and Northwest communities.

The new wings join with renovated sections to form a unified whole surrounding a beautiful central courtyard named for the late Florence "Penny" Vanderwicken Duprey, a UO voice professor.

The courtyard features an installation of three large metal sculptures, "Cadenza," "Calypso," and "Fandango," which artist Richard Swanson describes as musical phrases. Funding for the artworks came from the State of Oregon One Percent for Art in Public Buildings Program.

The project also created an expanded lobby area adjacent to Beall Hall, where students, faculty and patrons can relax and enjoy refreshments before or after performances. It is named for Dave and Lynn Frohnmayer's daughter Katie. She died in 1991 at age 12 from complications caused by Fanconi anemia.

Donors have given the school 20 new pianos so far, including two Steinway D-series concert grands from Hamburg, Germany. The UO now belongs to an elite group of music schools in the nation with instruments of this caliber.

The UO music school offers more than 200 performances each year, many featuring internationally acclaimed artists. Major national annual events include the Oregon Bach Festival and the Music Today Festival. The school also hosts many state and national meetings and conferences for music educators.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 62 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contacts: Julie Brown, 541-346-3185,; Scott Barkhurst, 541-346-1163,

Links: Quick Facts: UO School of Music and Dance; Renovation and Expansion At-a-Glance: MarAbel B. Frohnmayer Music Building