College of Communication and Fine Arts
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U of M Launches $40 Million Campaign for New Music Center

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey

July 9, 2014 - The University of Memphis has launched a campaign to raise $40 million toward construction of a new Music Center.

The proposed location on Central Avenue, near the U of M Holiday Inn, will align the Center with existing arts facilities, allowing students and visitors to easily enjoy the visual and performing arts offerings on campus, and reinforces the U of M as a destination for the arts.

An essential capital project in the Campus Master Plan, the new Music Center is a priority for President M. David Rudd and underscores the University’s commitment to the arts. “The arts are an essential element to a comprehensive and effective educational experience,” said Rudd.

At over 40,000 square feet, the Center will more than double the space in the 50-year-old building where the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music is currently housed. “From intimate recitals to full-scale opera, our diverse offerings will be experienced in a Music Center that is in keeping with our stature in the field,” said Richard R. Ranta, dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts.

Launched with a lead gift from the Rudi E. Scheidt family, more than 200 friends, alumni, faculty and staff have already contributed toward bringing state funding to the project. “We are blessed with some of the finest music students anywhere, and this will finally enable them to have an adequate rehearsal and performance facility,” said Scheidt.

The Center will feature a performance hall seating up to 1,200, an expansive stage and significant advancements in technology. It will enhance the U of M’s ability to compete for the highest caliber students, faculty and guest artists.

“I am confident the investments of our supporters will carry on the legacy of the Scheidt School, continuing to attract world-class students and faculty for years to come,” said Randal Rushing, director of the School of Music. The private fundraising goal is $10 million. Every dollar raised will be matched on a three-to-one basis by government funds.

“The new Music Center will add importantly to the cultural vitality of the Memphis community, and we greatly look forward to exploring ways that the Memphis Symphony may be a participant,” said Roland Valliere, president and CEO of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Ned Canty, general director of Opera Memphis, said, “This new venue will open up significant new opportunities for collaborating and performing, not only for Opera Memphis but also for a full spectrum of other arts organizations.”

The Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music offers bachelor’s through doctoral degrees in 29 areas of concentration, including the only doctoral program in music in Tennessee. The more than 400 students enrolled in the school are drawn from around the country and more than two dozen nations. With more than 250 performances each year, most free to the community, the School of Music enriches the arts for the entire Mid-South region.

Visit the Music Center online for more details or to make a contribution. 

Music Center

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