Plans have been announced for a new music building to replace Graves Hall in the coming years. Approved by the Board of Trustees last spring, the 30,000 square foot facility will house the existing music program and encourage members of the community to participate in music.
The question of a new music building has been circulating for many years, according to Christina Landolt ’02, Instructor and Chair in Music.
“I actually have been hearing about our need for a new music building since I was a student here. So I think it’s been talked about within the department for a long time, and then it started to get some traction in the last few years, probably two or three years,” said Landolt.
The building, part of the Campus Master Plan, is still in the process of gathering support and fundraising. Although architectural plans have not yet been created, an existing design concept gives a general picture of the facility, which will be approximately double the size of Graves. The new music center will be home to practice rooms, recital halls, and some additional spaces such as a recording studio, percussion studio, and technology labs — all of which are in an open-concept layout.
Kevin Kwong ’95, a donor and supporter of this endeavor, said that the future facility will also benefit musicians by being built specifically for the purpose of music learning and performance.
“Graves Hall was actually built in 1882 as a Chemistry building, so as a result, a lot of the layouts and acoustics was not made specifically for music. A lot of the practice rooms are too small and there is actually the need for a medium-sized performance space aside from [Cochran] Chapel. So I was extremely excited when I first heard about the project of a new music building, which can provide much more practice and rehearsal space for students with the latest infrastructure available,” wrote Kwong in an email to the The Phillipian.
Luke Henderson ’21, member of the Academy Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, emphasized this point, saying he hoped that the new building would encourage a new development of musical openness and expression.
“Studying music at Andover has given me an amazing perspective that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Music is about self-expression but also about self-understanding — and because of this learning experience I have a better sense of who I am and what I want to contribute to the world. The new music building will act as a catalyst for similar experiences throughout the Andover community, fostering collaboration and musical development at all levels.”
One issue that the new facility will solve is the lack of space for ensembles within Graves. Currently, students transport their instruments for each rehearsal back and forth from the Chapel to Graves, where they are stored. The new building will include dedicated practice and performance spaces, according to Landolt, so students will be able to conveniently store instruments in the same building that they practice in.
In addition to meeting the needs of those who are already involved in music, Landolt says she hopes that the new building will encourage those with other levels of experience to utilize the space. As interested students explore in a welcoming and creative environment, the building can accommodate them.
Kwong said he was motivated to contribute to the the new building because of his own involvement in music at Andover as a member of the orchestra and of Cantata Choir.
“One of the most memorable experiences was traveling to Puerto Rico over spring break with the Choir. It was one of the most diverse groups on campus with kids from many states and countries and resulted in many lasting friendships,” wrote Kwong.
Aside from its role in housing the music program, the building will also provide additional space for the community on campus. Kwong says he hopes that it will resemble the Snyder Center in its ability to both enhance its respective program as well as be a dedicated spot to do homework or meet with friends.
Kwong said he is looking forward to both specific parts of the building as well as its entirety.
“I think the building looks amazing architecturally with the large windows and the spacious courtyard. But I am most excited about the new concert hall and am really looking forward to attending a performance there once it opens its doors. I have also given specifically to the Technology Music room and am excited to see how students can utilize technology on their musical journey,” wrote Kwong.
Landolt says she is particularly interested in the recording studio and envisions it as the first impression a person will get when entering the building.
“My hope is that it’s actually going to be at least a half wall of glass so you can actually look in and see that work happening right when you walk in,” said Landolt.