Arthur Zankel Music Center

Why - About Arthur Zankel Music Center

Music Program Outgrows Its Space

Skidmore College’s Music Department has grown dramatically since 1967, when the Therese W. Filene Music Building opened its doors on what was then Skidmore’s “new” campus. The College was in the midst of relocating from its charming but antiquated downtown campus to a 650-acre wooded area on North Broadway, about one mile from downtown Saratoga Springs, a move that would be substantially completed in the mid-1970s.

The Filene Music Building was built to support a faculty of five and a student body of some 1,000. As enrollment grew, so did the music offerings, broadening and deepening to meet the needs of a student body that now stands at 2,400. With nearly 40 full- and part-time faculty, the Music Department now offers more than 50 courses in such diverse areas as the Western classical tradition; electronic- and computer-based musical composition; non-Western musical forms and traditions; jazz, pop and rock; and West African drumming, as well as individual instruction in a wide variety of instruments and vocal genres. Students may pursue their musical passions at a level typically seen at a music conservatory, engaging in close interaction with faculty who are accomplished performers, scholars, and composers.

This steady growth strained the capacity of the Filene Music Building on all fronts, from practice rooms, to office space, to storage space.  The capacity of the Filene Recital Hall was a particular challenge-with seating for only 235, it often overfilled, forcing the College to turn away potential audience members.

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