Diving into Music: Curtis Pool to be renovated into Concert Hall

Story posted July 06, 2005

David Gamper ’67 majored in mathematics, but he spent a good deal of time at Bowdoin making music and performing. In fact, he later became a professional composer and musician. Professors Robert Beckwith and Elliott Schwartz stoked David's passion for these arts, and David has remained committed to supporting the music department through gifts to the Alumni Fund since his graduation.

"It was through the music department that I began the process of discovering that music was actually my calling," explains David. Elliott Schwartz’s senior seminar on 20th century music exposed me to the world of contemporary music, which fascinated me. One important part of the seminar involved close contact with several visiting composer/performers. Over the years I naturally focused my donations to Bowdoin on the music department and their efforts to bring important new music practitioners to the campus so that students could be exposed to them as I was."

The renovation of Curtis Pool for musical performance is the next major step the College will take to support excellence in its performing arts curricula and facilities. Rehabilitating Curtis Pool will draw a greater number of talented students to the College to major in music, to take music courses, and to perform music.

The concert hall project, which has a total cost of $15 million, will create a 300-seat, state-of-the-art musical performance space for small- to medium-size performances. Among Bowdoin’s current stage spaces, there is no acoustically satisfactory space for instrumental music performance—Kresge has acoustics for lectures, the chapel acoustics are specific to its organ, and Wish and Pickard Theater acoustics are designed for vocal performance.

The concert hall’s design will specifically enhance instrumental acoustics and muffle the spoken word, and will include practice and rehearsal spaces, office space, dressing rooms, appropriate storage, and a public lobby and box office. The concert hall is the next logical step in Bowdoin’s significant commitment to music already highlighted in student and programmatic support. With the generosity
of alumni such as David Gamper, the College features two professorships; 10 scholarship funds; and 17 endowments that support the programs and needs of the music department, including the Robert K. Beckwith Chair in Music, the A. LeRoy Greason Chair in the Creative Arts, the Cornelius R. Love III and Carole Love Musical Trust, and the George L. and Geneva G. Hill Fund.

Bowdoin has begun securing the important lead gift for the new concert hall and additional funding will be sought from a variety of sources, including alumni, parents, corporations and foundations. The target opening date for the concert hall is fall 2007.

At press time, the College learned, with great pleasure and gratitude, that it had secured lead funding for the concert hall. Further details will be shared as they become available.

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