By Elizabeth Aguilar
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
The University of the Incarnate Word’s new state-of-the-art Music Building is a revolutionary change for both students and faculty.
Russ Berger, a world master acoustician, and his team at the Russ Berger Design Group who specialize in acoustical and architectural design, designed the interior of the new building from floor to ceiling. Russ Berger Design Group’s clients have included the NFL Network, Studio Records, and National Public Radio, just to name a few.
On the first floor of the new music building is a choir room, a room especially designed for UIW’s Cardinal Chorale to practice in. There is also a small recital hall – named for Irene Seddon — across the way that seats 100 people, a percussion studio and a band/orchestra rehearsal hall, each equipped with special sound diffusers unique to the Russ Berger Design Team. In nearly every room in the music building, visitors will find it is filled with different types of special unique-looking sound diffusers.
What might look like decorations on the wall and ceiling are actually intricately engineered pieces of technology that control the noise and vibrations, providing each and every room the most perfect-sounding acoustics.
Also on the first floor, a new student instrument storage room now gives students a safe, easy and secure place to store their instruments while going to other classes.
The new building also includes 18 practice rooms on the second and third floors. Each student practice room is furnished with upright pianos and is soundproof so students are able to practice their instrument without disturbing any classes around them.
In addition to the student practice rooms are slightly bigger professor instruction rooms equipped with various grand pianos. These rooms allow instructors to work more one-on-one with an individual student or a small group of students outside of the classroom.
The new music building will have a catwalk that leads to the new Fine Arts Concert Hall next door. The new concert hall, which will be named after the late Sister Maria Goretti Zerr, is planned to seat around 500 people. .
A new top-of-the-line recording studio includes a control room, cutting room and two isolation booths (isobooths). The studio is unique in that, each room in the studio is built on what is known as a “floating” floor, which essentially means each room is built on its own slab of concrete that does not touch one another which prevents any sound waves from traveling between the other rooms, providing perfect sound isolation for recording.
The recording studio will also include high-end microphones, as well as new kinds of cutting-edge recording technology, unlike any the university has had before. The recording studio is equipped with a Solid State Logic AWS 924 Mixer, one of the top name-brand studio mixers available, along with the highly revered Pro Tools HDX system.
A 7-foot-6-inch Yamaha Bisklavier covert grand piano, a piano that has the ability to play back what you play on it, also has been purchased to furnish the inside of the recording studio.
“The university has been very generous with what we are trying to do here, which is create something that is as good as anywhere,” said Jim Waller, coordinator of the Music Industries Studies program and director of the Jazz Ensemble. “We want to be able to compete with anybody, and I think we can now.”