Rendering of orchestra in new music building
June 24, 2021

Building the Future

What a new home for music will mean to Andover

Planning continues for the Academy’s state-of-the-art music building, which reaffirms the central role music plays in student life. With donor support from the Knowledge & Goodness campaign, the $34 million purpose-built structure—offering numerous investment and naming opportunities—will house versatile rehearsal and performance spaces, as well as an electronic music studio, technology labs, and an expansive music library.

Abbey Siegfried, current chair of the Department of Music and school organist, shares why she’s so passionate about this project and what it will mean for Andover students.

What most excites you about this proposed building?

The 250-seat performance hall and the ensemble rooms! Graves Hall is full every day, crammed with students who are rappers, violinists, or songwriters, kids in a cappella groups. We just don’t have space for everyone, so we’re separated into different spots across campus. It will be the most phenomenal experience to be able to play and sing together and partner more easily. All of these kids could have a real place to pursue whatever musical or artistic dream they have, and that’s amazing.

What else is especially compelling from your perspective?

The electronic music studio, recording facilities, and other technologically enhanced spaces will continue to transform the way art can be made and shared. We’ve seen this past year how our students have been all over the globe, but have still been able to produce music together. Giving them greater tools to do just that—in a collaborative environment on campus—will spark new opportunities for creativity and growth.

How will the building make Andover more competitive in attracting the nation’s most musically talented students? And how will it impact every PA student?

We are one of the only schools in our peer group that doesn’t have a modern, purposefully designed music building, even though we’re still admitting incredibly talented students. Our entire student body is brimming with artistry. To actually be able to say to them all, look, here’s this amazing space that you can make music in, is really powerful. Each and every PA student engages in music study in some way, so the impact can’t be understated. Additionally, I envision our new building will draw music instructors from around the world as well—further enhancing our distinguished faculty.

This will be the first new academic building at Andover since Gelb Science Center, nearly 20 years ago. What does this mean to the Academy and its commitment to academic excellence?

The core of what we do at Andover is teaching and learning. The proposed building is an incredible Academy endorsement of a liberal arts education and the role that the arts play in the human experience. We’ll have three new classrooms for instruction and other ensemble rooms. Plus 19 practice rooms, so we can offer more 1:1 lessons in acoustically excellent spaces—rather than in the basement of Graves Hall, which was built for science in 1882. In so many ways, this new space is a very long time coming.

What would you say to those who wish to invest and make the building a reality?

I think it would be so exciting to contribute to something that you know will change the trajectory of the school and its students for generations. Donors who make leadership gifts would be forging a future for music and arts on campus—and would really make our entire program what it’s meant to be. Most importantly, I would say thank you! This building can’t happen without you!

To start a conversation, please email Nicole Cherubini, director of development, at [email protected].

The new music building will be located on Phillips Street, adjacent to the Peabody Institute, and will become the western anchor of a newly defined “cultural corridor” on campus.

Originally printed in The Vista: Views from the Knowledge & Goodness Campaign, spring 2021

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