The Wait is Over: Hamel Music Center

Modern. Vibrant. Innovative. Expansive. State-of-the-art.

These are just a few ways one could describe the brand-new, long-awaited Hamel Music Center*. It started as an idea almost 15 years ago. If you walked, drove, or biked down University Avenue in the last couple years, you witnessed the Center being built from the ground up. From it’s thought-out color scheme to it’s advanced technology, the Center is already a gem on campus.

Outside of Hamel Music Center

For years, Mead Witter School of Music students practiced and performed in Morphy Recital Hall and Mills Concert Hall in the Mosse Humanities Building. While these spaces proved trusty for music students, there’s a good chance that these students didn’t have the opportunity to perform in a venue that makes their music sound the way it’s intended.

The acoustics in the Hamel Music Center are arguably the most impressive of the Center’s traits. The building’s three performance halls were designed with one thing in mind – for students and audiences to hear music in a holistic way. Electric, moveable curtains line the performance halls, soaking up sound as to eliminate standing sound waves. Since music is so diverse, each performance group on campus is able to come into the space and press their ensemble-specific button, which configures the room’s curtains to best amplify their sound.

Located on one of campus’ busiest intersections, it was extremely important for the building to be constructed in a way that, while shutting out all outside noise, remained airy and open. What’s more – each performance hall is audibly isolated from all other spaces in the building.

Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall

The main performance space, the Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall, is larger than any that the UW–Madison has seen before. Until this point, no designated music venue has the ability to accommodate the entire UW–Madison Marching Band or UW–Madison Symphony Orchestra. The Hamel Music Center can. The Center also houses a recording studio equipped with high quality production technology including mixing boards and monitors. The studio even comes with cameras, allowing those in the space to interact with artists in the performance halls.

The Hamel Music Center Opening Celebration Weekend will officially open its doors on Friday, October 25 at 7:00 p.m, beginning with a ribbon cutting ceremony with Chancellor Rebecca Blank and School of Music Director Susan C. Cook. A Student Collage Concert will follow, featuring performances throughout the concert hall from elite student musicians. A vibrant reception with concert attendees takes place after the performances.

On Saturday, October 26 at 7:20 p.m., the night kicks off “Emeritus Faculty Unbuttoned,” a pre-concert performance. The main event is a concert featuring the UW–Madison Symphony Orchestra, chorus, faculty and soloists – some of the most well-known ensembles on campus.

On Sunday, October 27 at 1:00 p.m., a concert featuring eight Collins Fellows will wrap up the Hamel Music Center’s exciting opening weekend. The Collins Fellowships are designated for graduate students and attract outstanding students with offers that are competitive with prestigious private institutions. The concert will feature Ilia Radoslavov (piano); Iva Ugrcic (flute); Elias Goldstein (viola); Jamie-Rose Guarrine (soprano); Todd Hammes (percussion); Satoko Hayami (collaborative piano); Jamie Ryan (percussion); and Dylan Chmura-Moore (trombone).

While ticketed, opening weekend events are free. Event and ticket details are available online.

*The Hamel Music Center is an inclusive space, with gender neutral and accessible bathrooms on the main and upper floors.