Sonoma State University on Thursday announced the grand opening weekend Aug. 23 and 24 of Schroeder Hall, a 250-seat recital hall that will present intimate concerts by guest artists, year-round music classes and concerts and special organ recitals on its 1,248-pipe Brombaugh Opus 9 organ.
The recital hall, which complements the nearby 1,400-seat Weill Hall in the Green Music Center complex, represents the vision of the center's original founding donors, Donald and Maureen Green, who initially committed to build a $10 million choral hall. That idea later expanded into a performing arts complex comprising classrooms, concert hall and an outdoor entertainment venue.
"The opening of Schroeder Hall represents a 'coming full circle' for the Green Music Center," said Sonoma State University President Ruben Arminana. "We are all tremendously pleased that the dream of this recital hall is at long last becoming a reality."
Over 15 years of fund-raising, the Green Music Center grew into a $145 million project centered around the acoustically resonant Weill Hall, modeled after the Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood in western Massachusetts. When Weill Hall opened in September 2012, the university still needed $15 million to finish Schroeder Hall. Major donors Joan and Sandy Weill, whose donations helped push Weill Hall over the finish line, also helped finance the completion of Schroeder Hall.
In 2007, local philanthropist and contributor Jean Schulz named the recital hall in recognition of her late husband, cartoonist Charles Schulz, who was known for his piano-playing "Peanuts" character, Schroeder.
To honor Jean Schulz, jazz pianist David Benoit will give the inaugural performance on Aug. 23 in the recital hall, a private concert entitled "Tribute to Charlie Brown."
The Grand Opening festivities will take place throughout the weekend, with nearly a dozen free concerts that will showcase talent from the campus, community and beyond.
Special highlights include a concert by pianist Jeffrey Kahane, conductor laureate of the Santa Rosa Symphony, and recitals by SSU students and faculty. James David Christie of the Boston Symphony Orchestra will christen the hall's Brombaugh Opus 9 organ with a concert in collaboration with soprano Ruth Ann Swenson, conductor Julian Wachner and members of the Santa Rosa Symphony.
Beginning in September, the hall will feature up-and-coming musicians and celebrated guest artists through an ongoing series, "Sundays at Schroeder," which will explore various musical genres.
The 11-concert lineup continues through May 2015 with performances by pianist Juho Pohjonen, singer Storm Large of Pink Martini fame, Galician bagpiper Christina Pato, jazz vocalist Mary Stallings and violinist Ray Chen, among others.