$50,000 gift to go toward equipment, infrastructure
Brian Ahern, Contributing writer
In September of 2013, the Music Department received an anonymous donation of $50,000 for the improvement of its infrastructure and equipment. Since then, the music department has used the money to purchase new equipment and expand its sheet music, audio and DVD libraries, according to department head Kristen Van Cleve.
“[The donors] really love music, and they love UD …. [T]hey want to see music flourish at UD, and they felt like this was something they could do to help the music department,” said Van Cleve. “They would really like to see the music department grow and continue to expand what we offer.”
The department currently hosts workshops, guest artists and faculty recitals — programs that the department plans to expand in the coming year. In the past, it has hosted internationally acclaimed British countertenor Ryland Angel. Adjunct professor and award-winning pianist Andrey Ponochevny performs at UD recitals from time to time. Van Cleve said other exciting concerts and recitals are in the works for this semester.
The department also endeavors to expose its students to the thriving musical arts scene in Dallas, providing visits and sometimes backstage tours of the symphony and opera.
Van Cleve said that the future of the music department depends on other generous donors. She said that in addition to its concentration, she would like for the department to expand and offer a music major, an option that could attract more students to the university.
She also emphasized the importance of music education within the liberal arts curriculum.
“It’s part of the great Western tradition,” she said.
Students are in agreement.
“I think that the music department helps UD’s education all-around because we learn about the great pieces of music from around the world. It’s been one of the most positive influences [on my education] …. The things that I’ve learned at the music classes at UD have poured into aspects of other classes,” said Mary Fougerousse, a junior earning a concentration in music.
Fougerousse said she would like to see the university invest in better facilities for music performance.
“It would be great if … we were able to expand our facilities and have a real performance space on campus. There are endless possibilities, because the talent is here, and [the] interest,” she said.
The university currently has no facility formally intended for music performance. Many performances take place in Lynch Auditorium and upstairs Haggar, but neither of these locations has the logistical or acoustic properties of a performance space.