UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning today (May 4) recommended the final plan approval and expenditure of funds for a recital hall addition and renovations to Music I building. The projects will be presented to the full board for a vote on Friday, May 5.
The existing Esber Recital Hall in the School of Music, part of the College of Arts and Architecture, has substandard acoustics and the mechanical systems are aged and create excessive noise. In addition, the School of Music has outgrown its ensemble rehearsal spaces, and its largest ensembles are crowded into spaces that are not suitable acoustically or physically for these groups. The school currently serves 325 enrolled music majors plus an additional 2,000 students who enroll each semester in the high-quality academic courses designed to fulfill general education requirements.
The project includes renovation of Esber Recital Hall into a large ensemble rehearsal space with a 400-seat recital hall added to the east side of the building, offering an excellent acoustic environment for rehearsals and recitals. The seating in the new hall will be arranged in what is known as “vineyard seating,” allowing the audience to surround the musicians for a more intimate performance experience. This seating style also capitalizes on the natural circular distribution of sound waves, producing high-quality recital acoustics for performers in the School of Music.