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,”
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
“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
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.
For more details on the Music Center, or to make a contribution, visit www.memphis.edu/musiccenter.