Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras gain new music center

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 4:42 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2022 at 5:04 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - After almost two years without a home base, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras can finally say hello to a new music center.

The Orchestras held a ceremonial groundbreaking for their new WYSO Center for Music on Monday morning and featured performances from a student brass quintet, string quartet, and string choir of Music Makers violinists.

”Today’s ceremony represents not only the beginning of a new era for WYSO but also a new chapter in music education in this region. We are thrilled to be a part of this new arts corridor on East Washington Avenue,” said WYSO alumnus and board president Bruce Matthews.

They had been without a facility to call their own since the fall of 2020. To make up for that, the Orchestras spread out their programming in buildings across the Madison area, such as college classrooms, parking lots, churches, and a Monona Terrace ballroom.

Rehearsals throughout 2021 relied on very many large rooms at Madison Country Day School, such as their music rooms, gathering spaces, and gymnasium. Their performances were held throughout McFarland, Middleton, Waunakee, downtown Madison, the MyArts theater, and the Hamel Music Center on the UW Campus.

Their new Center of Music was made possible by two lead gifts totaling $18 million from donors Jerry Frautschi and Pleasant Rowland.

The new facility will help expand on WYSO’s vision to broaden instrumental music education and performance opportunities for young people around the state. Approximately 450 musicians from 19 countries currently participate in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. This new 40,000-square-foot building will help house all of these members, featuring three rehearsal halls as well as smaller private studios. Architects drew inspirations from musical instruments and local Wisconsin materials to design the building.

“This new building right in the heart of Madison will change the horizon for WYSO and the community. Young musicians will dream bigger and work harder. They will connect with others who love music and together create a culture of excellence for everyone,” said Rowland.

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