$6 Million Gift from Philanthropist
Conrad Prebys will make UC San Diego's
Vision for New Music Center a Reality

State-of-the-art concert hall  destined
to become one of the best small concert halls in the world

May 25, 2007

Conrad Prebys
Conrad Prebys

Local philanthropist Conrad Prebys’s nascent music career came to a halt at the age of 13, when after performing a less-than-flawless piano concerto during a competition he realized he had neither the talent nor the dedication to be a career musician.  Fortunately for the University of California, San Diego, although Prebys left musical endeavors behind and went on to become a successful contractor, he never lost his love of music itself.  Now, his recent gift of $6 million to UC San Diego’s new state-of-the-art music center will enable the university to build on the already renowned reputation of its Department of Music as well as share music with the greater San Diego community.

“With this new Music Center, UCSD gains an exceptional new venue for the arts, which will have a significant cultural impact on our campus and our community,” said UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. “Conrad Prebys’s generous gift will ensure that the Department of Music will continue to be a magnet for renowned artists and a resource for our region.” 

“Music has been a great part of my life and my love for it is stronger today than ever before,” said Prebys, a native of South Bend, IN, who has lived in San Diego since 1965. “I was very excited when I saw the plans for the music center.  I could see that San Diego would be gaining a fantastic new venue, the likes of which it had never seen before, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it all.”

The UC San Diego Music Center—which will be named The Conrad Prebys Music Center in honor of Prebys’s gift—is currently under construction and slated for a Fall 2009 opening.  The facility will feature a world-class, 400-seat concert hall designed by LMN Architects of Seattle and Cyril Harris, one of the most respected acoustical engineers in the world.  The Music Center will also include:  a black box theater; a 150-seat lecture/recital hall; professional recording studios; a large courtyard that doubles as a performance space; numerous practice rooms, teaching studios and offices; a large orchestral rehearsal room; percussion studios; and cutting-edge computer audio, video and networking technology throughout the Center.

“Thanks to Mr. Prebys and his support, we will finally have facilities that are equal to  the quality of music-making that goes on here,” said Rand Steiger, chair of the UCSD Department of Music in the Division of Arts and Humanities. “Our department is already an acknowledged leader in the contemporary, cutting edge music world and the new center will inspire us to an even higher level of excellence.”

UCSD's Department of Music is internationally recognized as the West Coast's premier center for education and innovation in new music. The department attracts students from around the world who wish to study with distinguished, world renowned faculty including Pulitzer Prize winner Roger Reynolds, Guggenheim Fellow Anthony Davis, and Steven Schick, director of the department’s celebrated percussion program.  Along with MIT, Princeton and Stanford, UC San Diego is among the acknowledged inventors and pioneers of digital audio and computer music.

With the building of the Music Center underway, Steiger says the department has plans to add eight new faculty members and is looking at a variety of new ideas and programs that can be implemented upon the building’s completion.

“The opening of the Music Center will open a new chapter in our relationship with the community,” said Steiger. “We’ll have wonderful spaces to share all of our music making—from the great historical works of the classical tradition, through contemporary works that engage the newest technologies.”

The Music Center has been years in the making, relying on funding from several sources including state and university funds, as well as private donors.  In addition to Prebys’s gift, the Music Center has received support from John J. Moores, Regent of the University of California and co-chair of The Campaign for UCSD, and his wife Rebecca, and Elaine Galinson, Chair of the UC San Diego Foundation, and her husband Murray.  While the building itself is now funded, there are still many ways to support the new Music Center.  An initiative is now being launched to raise additional philanthropic support to fill this new facility with the most promising students, the most talented faculty and the most innovative educational and research programs.

Joel and Ann Reed, parents of a current UCSD graduate student and a UCSD undergraduate student, have already made a lead gift to the new Music Center initiative, which will be used to help fund graduate fellowships.

“Support for graduate students is a critical area of need for the department,” said Ann Reed. “Fellowships help recruit the most talented students and can make the difference between a student choosing UCSD or another university.”

There are many ways to support the new Music Center, including naming opportunities for the following:

  • 400-seat concert hall; $3 million
  • WLH Recording Studio; $1.5 million
  • Black Box Theater; $1 million
  • Orchestral Rehearsal Room; $500,000
  • Chamber Music Rehearsal Studio; $60,000
  • Individual Faculty Studios; $20,000 to $50,000 per room
  • Student Practice Rooms; $10,000 to $20,000 per room

More information on these opportunities is available online at: http://campaign.ucsd.edu/musiccenter/.

Media Contact: Laura Margoni, 858-822-2485

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