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Longtime Huskies drive Music Building Campaign forward

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on May 24, 2023 - 3:51pm
  • Steve and Sylvia Burges
    School of Music friends Steve and Sylvia Burges (Photo: Courtesy Meany Center for the Performing Arts).

The Music Building Campaign has received a generous leadership gift from School of Music friends Steve and Sylvia Burges, whose contribution will help fund crucial updates to performance and teaching spaces in the Music Building.

The couple has longstanding connections to the University of Washington. Steve Burges served on the faculty of the Department of Civil Engineering from 1970 through 2010, retiring as a Professor Emeritus. Sylvia earned master’s degrees at the UW in Educational Psychology Counseling and Civil Engineering. She spent much of her professional career with Region 10 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Avid supporters of education and the arts, the Burgeses are longtime supporters of the School of Music through their financial support as well as their regular attendance at School of Music performances. In 2018, the couple combined their love of chamber music and their desire to help students by donating funds to purchase a Baroque cello to be used by the UW’s Baroque Ensemble. In early 2020, the Burgeses added to the instrument collection by donating the funds to purchase a Baroque viola.

Their most recent contribution supports the School of Music goal of raising $2.5 million from private donations, with $1 million in private donations by June 30, to help finance modernization of the School’s in-house concert hall, Brechemin Auditorium, as well as the creation of a new recital hall, and rejuvenation of public spaces. Along with improving acoustics and technological capacities, the upgrades are intended to create a more accessible environment for all who use the Music Building, enhancing the student and audience experience.  

“We are deeply appreciative of Steve and Sylvia’s generous support for the Music Building Campaign,” says School of Music Director Joël-François Durand. “The success of the campaign to update and remodel School of Music performance and teaching spaces will be determined in large part by the generosity of our friends and supporters, which will activate matching funding from University leadership. Steve and Sylvia have joined with our community of supporters to help raise over $700,000 to date. We are immensely grateful to all who have contributed to the campaign so far.”

Learn more about the Music Building Campaign.

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