SF Conservatory of Music to Build New $80 Million Facility

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – The San Francisco Conservatory of Music has been educating and inspiring young musicians for more than 85 years. On September 29, the internationally acclaimed music school breaks ground on its new $80 million teaching, performance, rehearsal and practice facility in San Francisco's Civic Center taking its place in the nexus of the City's performing arts neighborhood and marking the newest addition in the area's cultural rejuvenation.

Located at 50 Oak Street within easy walking distance of the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet, the new San Francisco Conservatory of Music is scheduled to open in Fall 2006. Essentially doubling in size from its current 37,000-square-foot facility on Ortega Street in the Sunset District, the new Conservatory of Music at Civic Center provides dramatic improvements in classroom, studio and practice spaces. The new building will also feature several venues for performances, including a 120-seat Recital Salon, a 160-seat Recital Hall, and a 450-seat state-of-the-art Concert Hall.

"The San Francisco Conservatory of Music has been educating young artists and nurturing their musical potential for nearly a century," commented Conservatory president Colin Murdoch. "Our relocation to Civic Center will provide our students, faculty and alumni with even greater access to, and collaboration with, the City's performing arts community. Now is the perfect time-and 50 Oak Street the perfect location-to ensure the Conservatory's long-term growth, financial vitality, and international standing."

Engendering generous support from individuals, corporations, and foundations across the country, with nearly half of the $80 million project cost already committed, the Conservatory's move to Civic Center has been planned for more than three years. The current school — housed in a multi-unit building that the Conservatory has occupied since the 1950s — had become increasingly inadequate for accommodating the growing number of Conservatory students, faculty and public performances. The new, larger facility will serve a greater number of students and result in expanded programming, and most importantly, the Conservatory will continue to maintain its 6-1 student-teacher ratio at the new site.

Designed by the architectural firm Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Moris, the new San Francisco Conservatory of Music at Civic Center blends traditional architectural elements with modern facilities. Ensuring the acoustical integrity of the new Conservatory is Kirkegaard Associates, whose credits include projects for Davies Symphony Hall, Chicago Symphony Center and Barbican Concert Hall in London, among others. Originally built in 1914, the historic facade and ballroom of 50 Oak Street will be preserved, while non-historic parts of the eight-floor building and the adjacent structure at 70 Oak Street will be transformed into state-of-the-art educational and performance spaces.

Founded in 1917, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music offers music degrees to graduate and undergraduate students, preparatory and adult extension classes, community enrichment programs, and provides music curriculum support to the San Francisco Unified School District. The Conservatory presents more than 360 public performances each year, including the acclaimed BluePrint New Music Project, and the popular holiday "Sing it Yourself Messiah". –by Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

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