Feb. 1, 2020
Contact: Eric Stann, 573-882-3346, StannE@missouri.edu
University of Missouri officials gathered today to celebrate the grand opening the $24 million Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Music Center, a new facility for the School of Music.
Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright said this new era for the performing arts on Mizzou’s campus will bring tremendous benefits to students and the arts in Missouri and beyond, thanks to the generous support of Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.
“I am grateful to Jeanne and Rex for their longstanding support of music and the arts at MU,” Cartwright said. “Their passion to assist our music students with opportunities such as the New Music Initiative, the Sinquefield Composition Prize and this new center of music is providing Mizzou students the resources they need to create world-class music for generations in Missouri and beyond.”
Inside the 47,000-square-foot facility are dedicated vocal and instrumental music ensemble performance spaces, 26 practice rooms, and a recording studio large enough to fit an 18-piece jazz band. Each musical space is acoustically designed to provide musicians with the best sound quality — such as balancing high- and low-pitch sounds, reverberation and echoes.
School of Music Director Julia Gaines is excited that students now have a space to experiment with creating music using dedicated resources, much like in a scientific laboratory.
“This gives our music students a creative ‘lab’ space that we’ve needed for a long time on this campus,” Gaines said.
A $10 million gift by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, founded by philanthropists Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, helped kickoff planning for the new building in 2015. Groundbreaking began in spring 2018.
“Missouri has a long history of being a place for new music,” Jeanne Sinquefield said. “A lot of music that people think is American music came out of Missouri territories. Let’s think about a few of those — jazz, country, rag, St. Louis blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and Kansas City hip hop. My goal is to make Missouri a center for musical composition. Remember, the joy of life is music.”
Prior to the completion of the music center, the School of Music used five different buildings on campus, including a converted gymnasium and an old student dining hall. Now, the School of Music is housed in only two buildings — the Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Music Center and the Fine Arts Building.
Officials said the completion of the new music center is the first of two expansion phases. The second phase includes creating additional space within the music center to bring the entire school under one roof — including plans for a 500-seat concert hall and additional performance spaces. There is no timetable yet for the construction of phase two, which is dependent on additional funding.
Patricia Okker, dean of the College of Arts and Science, is looking forward to the collaborations with the community that will happen from the new space.
“The Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Music Center is not exclusively for students and faculty in the School of Music or even in the College of Arts and Science,” Okker said. “This new music center belongs to all of us, and I am excited to imagine the kinds of new community-university collaborations that will arise because of this beautiful facility.”
Editor’s Note: For more on this story, please see: Raising the baton