Sonoma State University set to open New Music Hall

SBO Staff • ChoralNews • September 27, 2012

Last spring, Sonoma State University received a $12 million gift for the Green Music Center from philanthropists Joan and Sanford I. “Sandy” Weill, enabling the University to complete a spectacular concert hall and adjoining lawn and commons performance venues. This is the largest single cash gift in the University’s history, setting the stage for the official opening of the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, Lawn, and Commons for the 2012-2013 Season with a grand celebration this weekend.

The idea for the Green Music Center was conceived when the director of choral music for Sonoma State University, over lunch with telecom entrepreneur Donald Green, noted that the campus didn’t have a great venue for choral performances.

Robert Cole, a well-known arts presenter and conductor who led UC Berkeley’s Cal Performances for 23 years, is the artistic consultant and will work with Jeff Langley, artistic director of the Green Music Center and director of Sonoma State University’s School of Performing Arts, to lead programming for the Center focusing on the finest international performing artists in a broad range of disciplines.

Designed by architect William Rawn, working closely with acoustician Lawrence Kirkegaard, the 1,400 seat Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall is modeled after Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood and was designed to replicate the intimacy and acoustics of Vienna’s Musikverein and Symphony Hall in Boston. In addition to the concert hall, the Weill’s generous gift will support the completion of two additional performance venues. The south end of the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall is designed with a back wall that can be fully opened onto a beautifully landscaped and terraced lawn, similar to Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, expanding the reach of the concert hall to an additional 3,000 guests. The Weill Commons, an area directly to the east of the main concert hall, will be transformed into an amphitheater with a 10,000 seat capacity for large-scale outdoor events.

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