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UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys
Concert Hall Wins ‘Grand Orchid’ Award

Music venue earns recognition from the San Diego Architectural Foundation for its innovative design

Nov. 05, 2010

By Kristin Luciani

Community supporters saw their vision of a new, state-of-the-art music center come to fruition on the campus of the University of California, San Diego when the new Department of Music central facility was completed in May 2009, featuring what has been considered the finest small concert hall in the world. Now, the acoustically acclaimed Conrad Prebys Concert Hall at UC San Diego, which provides a local space for attendees to enjoy performances by renowned musicians from around the world, is being recognized as the 2010 Grand Orchid recipient—the highest honor of San Diego’s annual Orchids and Onions Awards. The award was announced at the Nov. 4 ceremony at Culy Warehouse in downtown San Diego.  

“We are delighted that the San Diego community is recognizing our Conrad Prebys Concert Hall with an Orchid,” said Aleck Karis, chair of the department of music at UC San Diego. “We are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with architect Mark Reddington, master acoustician Cyril Harris and the team from LMN Architects. From the beginning they were great listeners, and their innovative cutting-edge design of the music center is a perfect reflection of the department's aesthetic philosophy.”

“As we celebrate the university’s 50th Anniversary,” added Karis, “We are very grateful to our community supporters, from the dozens who have participated in our seat naming campaign, to parents Joel and Ann Reed, for whom the percussion suite is named, to Mr. Conrad Prebys, without whose generosity the building would not have been possible.”

San Diego community members, parents and families, local businesses and university friends provided critical support to bring the music center and world-class small concert hall to the university. When the project was imperiled by rising construction costs, San Diego philanthropist and developer Conrad Prebys stepped forward with a $9 million lead gift.

“I am thrilled and elated about the award,” said Prebys. “I am proud and extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to help fund such a magnificent musical facility.” 

The music center was designed by LMN Architects in collaboration with renowned acoustician Cyril Harris. The 400-seat concert hall features a stunning interior with an innovative design for astounding acoustical quality. An asymmetrical system of triangular bamboo panels wraps around the walls and ceiling to diffuse sound evenly throughout the space. In addition, a built-in 12-channel sound system with speakers camouflaged in the walls provides state-of-the-art audio for amplified and computer music. Located in the heart of campus, the concert hall is at the center of UC San Diego’s emerging arts district, an urban neighborhood of campus complete with culture, arts, live music, restaurants and shops.

The new music center serves both the university and the larger San Diego community. Since its opening, concert attendance has grown steadily, with music lovers coming from the far corners of the region for performances. UC San Diego's Department of Music presents more than 100 concerts each academic year, many of them featuring world-renowned players. For more information about the music department, including giving opportunities and upcoming performances, please visit www.musicweb.ucsd.edu.


MEDIA CONTACTS:  Kristin Luciani, 858-822-3353 or kluciani@ucsd.edu

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