Campus: Sonoma State University -- November 9, 2000

Music Center - architect's renderingGroundbreaking Held for Premiere Cultural Destination

Imagine sitting in an intimate room-one built especially for music. A setting that is warm and inviting, yet grand-as grand as the most magnificent music halls in Europe. Imagine a center for music that will draw people from far and wide: performers, educators, and patrons of the arts. This vision will soon be a reality in Sonoma County.

To begin work toward that vision, a groundbreaking ceremony for the Donald and Maureen Green Music Center at Sonoma State University took place on Friday, Oct. 20. The event was held at the Center's site located at the corner of Rohnert Park Expressway and Petaluma Hill Road in Rohnert Park.

"The Music Center is the pinnacle of achievement for our community's arts. The level at which we create and experience the arts will be profoundly enhanced by this wondrous gift we are giving ourselves and future generations," said Ruben Armiņana, SSU President.

Construction begins this fall on the Green Music Center, which will open in 2003. The facility will put Sonoma County in the heart of musical culture on the West Coast. The Santa Rosa Symphony will make the Center its new home.

The $41 million Center's design is patterned after the renowned Seiji Ozawa Hall, home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Tanglewood, Massachusetts. The Green Music Center will blend a majestic indoor concert hall with outdoor seating offering 3,000 lawn guests a view of the stage. Lawn seating will provide an additional 7,000 guests the opportunity to enjoy the sounds emanating from within the building. Outdoor monitors will provide a view of the performers.

SSU named Ozawa's architect, William Rawn and Associates to work with executive architects A.C. Martin Partners of Sacramento on the design of the Center. The acoustics of the hall, being designed by Larry Kirkegaard who designed the acoustics at Ozawa Hall, will be outstanding, ensuring that the exquisite music played at the Center will be heard in exactly the way it is intended.

"The Santa Rosa Symphony Association is thrilled to be part of this landmark project that will have a long-lasting impact on the quality of music and education that our Symphony provides. We look forward to performing in such a high quality facility as the Green Music Center," said Marne Olson, President, Santa Rosa Symphony Board of Directors.

The Santa Rosa Symphony has more than 80+ musicians in its ranks. The orchestra, founded in 1928, is one of the oldest symphony orchestras in the western United States. Conductor and virtuoso pianist Jeffrey Kahane is one of the gifted performers who excels as a soloist and on the podium. He has been music director of the Santa Rosa Symphony since 1995. The Symphony's and the University's commitment to education is strong; the Symphony's five youth ensembles and a music academy continue to grow. The Green Music Center will be used extensively for music education of the University's students.

Sonoma State University has consistently focused attention on bringing high-quality music programs to Sonoma County, such as guest artists, chamber musicians, and the University's award-winning jazz program, among others.

The Donald and Maureen Green Music Center was named earlier this year after benefactors Donald and Maureen Green kicked off the fundraising efforts with a $10 million donation.

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