Faculty members from the College of Fine Arts and Communications expressed their excitement for a new building dedicated to students and faculty in the music program.
Ed Adams, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, discussed plans for the new BYU School of Music building Thursday morning during a college meeting in the Madsen Recital Hall.
The Harris Fine Arts Center (HFAC) houses the School of Music, the Department of Theatre and Media Arts, the Department of Visual Arts, and the Division of Design and Production. It hasn’t undergone remodeling since its construction in 1964. Discussions for a new School of Music building have been ongoing for five years, but it wasn’t until the meeting that plans were confirmed and a rendering of the building was introduced.
Kory Katseanes is a former Director of the School of Music and came to BYU in 1999 as Director of Orchestras. He’s thrilled with the announcement and said they’ve been waiting for a new building for many years.
“It’s been evident for some time now that we’ve been bursting at the seams,” Katseanes said. “Acoustic design and classroom space that was adequate in the early ’60s no longer meets our needs.”
Katseanes expressed sadness in being separated from his colleagues in the other arts, but he knows having a new music building is a step forward for the School of Music and BYU.
“I’m excited for the students that get to be in that new building for the next half a century,” Katseanes said. “These spaces, if properly designed, help you become better as a musician. We look forward to a partnership with a new building that assists us in our efforts in a greater capacity.”
Stephen Jones is a Professor of Composition in the School of Music and former Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications. He said the unique process of creating music requires the support of a special facility.
“Each one of the arts takes specific spaces in order to communicate the truths, ideas and content of their messages,” Jones said. “I anticipate a tremendous surge forward in the quality of performances and quality of education we can offer our students because of these new facilities.”
Faculty members from other departments in college also reacted to the announcement. Chair of the Department of Art, Gary Barton, said he’s happy for the School of Music and hopes something will happen for the other academic units housed in the HFAC further down the road.
“Once the music building is underway, they’ll start opening up conversations about what will happen to the HFAC in the future,” Barton said.
Future discussions will focus on how spaces previously used for the music department will be utilized and how they’ll be converted to accommodate the needs of other departments in the college.
“We haven’t resolved those questions about how to use that space down the road,” Barton said. “But it is exciting there is that potential for art, for design, for theater and media arts.”