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A School of Music for the Next Generation

  • Music Building
    Music Building, University of Washington.

A Capital Campaign to Revitalize Spaces for Musical Study & Creation 

Campaign Overview

The UW School of Music is undergoing a transformation in the ways we engage students and the community in art making, scholarship, and musical exploration. Our mission is focused on discovery: revealing the music of the future, finding historical pieces that have not been performed for centuries, and amplifying voices that have been suppressed and are now being heard for the first time. As we engage with our musical and cultural past while forging a new path for musical performance and education in the years to come, we are committed to creating a meaningful experience with the arts for all students, regardless of their major. 

Through our public concerts and academic courses, we express our ongoing interpretation of treasured music from Bach to gamelan, while transporting our students and audiences into a fuller appreciation of the social and cultural significance of that music. We pursue historical musical innovation in all time periods and in concert works of composers of color, while we are also inventing new paths forward in jazz, in contemporary composition, and in ethnomusicological exploration. In this way, we are weaving the musical discoveries of our faculty, students and visiting artists into new concerts and recitals, while developing new approaches to musical education that will prepare students for success after graduation, regardless of their chosen path. 

We strive to open our doors wider than ever before, connecting UW students and community audiences from a broad spectrum of backgrounds to both new musical experiences and familiar sounds — whether their musical connection is to tribal songs, chamber music, popular music or a high school orchestra. 


As a top public research university, we have long been known for our excellence in science, medicine and engineering, and we are deeply committed to elevating our equally vibrant and excellent arts programs. Just like the sciences, the arts require cutting-edge and welcoming spaces to ensure that our students and faculty can continue to create, innovate and advance excellence in the arts at our University and beyond. 

Currently working in spaces designed for performance in the 1950s, our musicians envision revitalized spaces where students, artists, scholars and audiences will join together in state-of-the-art facilities to create and discover new avenues for music. We commit to ensuring that every student at the UW, regardless of major, has a meaningful experience with the arts during their time here. 

This vision, shared by University leadership, is one that we are well-positioned to carry out. We already have internationally-acclaimed faculty working across disciplines, engaging students in boundary-pushing creative research and practice. We attract a diverse and talented student body who go on to do amazing things when they graduate. And we are located in a thriving region for art and innovation. But the main limitation to fully achieving our vision is outdated spaces that cannot match the caliber of our students and do not adequately reflect our institutional value for the arts and their place in the student experience. 


Thanks to generous commitments from the Provost ($4M) and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences ($6M), who are providing a 2:1 match, the College of Arts & Sciences advancement team has been tasked with raising $5M from private support to revitalize key campus arts spaces. Together we can make the arts accessible to all students at the UW, while bringing in diverse voices from across our community in cutting-edge spaces that will be tailored to future performances and exhibits. 


With a strategic focus on the student experience and reach of the arts on campus, University leadership has identified the Art and Music buildings as top priorities for renovation and strategic enhancements. The Art and Music buildings, located at the apex of the Quad, are home to the two biggest schools in the Arts Division: the School of Art + Art History + Design and School of Music. These schools account for three quarters of the arts enrollments in the division, serving arts and non-arts majors alike. They were constructed nearly 70 years ago and since then much about the disciplines of art and music has changed. Both require significant updates to meet current and future research, teaching and practices demands. And both spaces present tremendous opportunities for increasing student and public access to the arts.


The School of Music offers a vibrant environment for arts education and practice within one of the world’s most innovative public universities. Faculty and staff work together to create a welcoming and inclusive community of artists and scholars and strive toward a shared mission of academic excellence and creative mastery. With world-renown faculty artists and scholars and deep ties to regional and national arts organizations, the School is a center for discovery and study of all forms of music performance, research.

But along with other arts buildings on campus, our physical spaces do not support the high caliber of our current work. As performance halls across the country grapple with the evolving needs of current and future musical forms, now is the time to reimagine our stages, our recital halls and our gathering places.

Through this capital campaign, we envision significant modernizations to Brechemin Auditorium, the creation of a new recital hall, and rejuvenation of public spaces. These updates will enhance the student and audience experience, improve acoustics and technological capacities of teaching and performance, and create a more accessible environment. Through University and donor investment in the School of Music, we will build adaptable and transformative performance spaces that will offer students, artists and audiences new encounters and experiences.


Our society has embraced the role of music: in revealing past and current cultures, in expressing artistic and intellectual resonance, and in providing space for reflection. This proposed renovation is an opportunity for our University leaders and community partners to commit to the power of the arts in a tangible way — to declare that the arts are critical to the experiences of our students and the work of our university. We are asking our generous community of donors to join in this commitment.

We have an opportunity to create spaces that will expand artistic representation and welcome a broader audience, fostering a bright future in and through the arts at UW. We hope you will join us.

For more information, contact: Stephanie Kornfeld, Director of Advancement for the Arts //

Brechemin Auditorium, proposed

Room 213, proposed

Above: Proposed music recital hall.

Above: Overhead schematic of proposed Music Building renovations.