The University recently received a $10 million donation from a currently unnamed University alumnus and his wife that will be used to finance the new music building thatis a part of the Princeton Arts and Transit Project.
The Arts and Transit Project, which is expected to cost around $330 million, is expected to be completed in 2017.
The new three-story, 23,000 square-foot building, which will eventually be named by the donors, will contain a 3,500-square foot performance and rehearsal room, acoustically advanced practice rooms and teaching studios, as well as a digital recording studio, University spokesperson Martin Mbugua said.
The new building is essential to accommodate a vibrant performing arts scene on campus,Steven Mackey, chair of the Department of Music, explained.
“We are bursting at the seams in our current music building primarily because performances have grown so much,” Mackey said. “Going back to President [Emerita Shirley] Tilghman’s arts initiatives, we’ve gotten a lot more students who are passionate about music and want to keep studying it.”
For example, the Princeton University Orchestra has been constrained for a long time by the “very limited spacing in Woolworth,”Mackey said.
The new building will also be used for performance activities like vocal instructions, rehearsals for large ensembles like the jazz band and the orchestra, as well as performances for chamber music, he noted. Classes in music theory, composition and history will continue to be held at the Woolworth Center of Musical Studies, he explained.
The possibility of this new building was first explored at a meeting with the formerPrinceton Township counciltwo years ago, Mackey said, adding that this was because of the University's need to obtain zoning permits.
Mbugua said that though he could not disclose the precise time at which the donors made their decision or whether the donors had participated in the University's academic or extracurricular music programs, the endowment was specifically dedicated to the construction of the Music Building.
The new building, along with others in the forthcoming Arts and Transit Neighborhood, will feature architectural components that promote sustainability, including green roofs made of sedum and geothermal wells to provide energy to heat and cool the complex,Mbugua added.
“The community will benefit by attending performances that will take place in the building and by enjoying walking through or gathering in the nearby plaza,” he said, adding that the University's expectation is that the entire arts complex will become a cultural destination in the region.
The unnamed donor said in the University's press release that he believes the arts should be accessible to all students at the University.
“I’m personally excited about the addition because as a Forbesian in the orchestra, it has not been easy to travel with my instrument to rehearsals in central campus,” Demi Fang ’17, a member of Princeton University Orchestra, said. “I only regret that it will be completed long after I move out of Forbes.”
The new building is especially welcome because there are so many performing arts groups on campus and not enough performance spaces,Savannah Du ’18, a member of the Princeton Pianists Ensemble, said.
“Additional space for practice rooms and rehearsal would definitely be really helpful,” Kathy Zhao ’17said. “My classmates and I sometimes find it difficult to find rehearsal spaces because there’s just so much activity in New South and Woolworth.”