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A joyous day for music and all of campus

By Dave Jones on May 6, 2014 in University

New UC Davis Music Building Takes Off with Groundbreaking

The future of music at UC Davis never sounded better than during the groundbreaking Friday (May 2) for the Classroom and Recital Hall.

“The dream to build a recital hall has been around for many years,” Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi told the audience of about 250 people, gathered under a tent. “It is also something necessary for the music department to take the next step.”

She noted that even during a time of strict fiscal constraints several years ago the $15 million project was deemed critical and pushed forward.

While music students and faculty will benefit greatly from the facility, she pointed out that students in all areas take music classes and many also play in university music ensembles. The ceremony included a performance by a string quartet comprising students majoring in human development, biology and animal science as well as music. 

“The arts are a core pillar for everything we do, a glue that brings people together,” Katehi said.

The building will house classrooms and rehearsal and practice rooms with a 394-seat recital hall as the centerpiece. Construction next to the Music Building is scheduled to start this summer with the opening anticipated for the fall of 2015.

“This is a day a long time in the making,” said Jessie Ann Owens, dean of the Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies and a professor of music. “The building will be an asset for the campus, the community and the region.”

Along with the string quartet, the event also featured performances by the UC Davis Gamelan Ensemble and Korean Percussion Ensemble, and the university’s ensemble in residence, the Empyrean Ensemble, debuted music professor Ross Bauer's composition in the midst of it all, written specifically for the groundbreaking and as the first piece to ber played in the recital hall when it opens.

“We will keep the halls of this new building ringing with music and activities,” said Henry Spiller, associate professor and chair of the department of music. The recital hall will host about 100 concerts each year.

The project is being financed in part by $5 million in gifts, of which about $3.5 million has been raised. As announced at the groundbreaking, the donations include $250,000 from D. Kern Holoman, distinguished professor emeritus of music, and his wife, Betty.

The university will name one of the practice studios in honor of Holoman, who conducted the Symphony Orchestra for 32 years, and served as music department chair and the first dean of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies.

The lobby is being named for Davis arts patrons Grant and Grace Noda, who donated $1.5 million to the building project.

Tax-exempt bonds will finance the remaining $10 million, and no student tuition, fees or state funds will be used.

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,