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 Artist’s rendering of the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU (Courtesy of Bora Architects)
 Artist’s rendering of the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU (Courtesy of Bora Architects)

The Board of Trustees of Texas Christian University announced at their fall meeting that the concert hall in the new TCU Music Center will be named the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU to honor the memory of the beloved concert pianist and Fort Worth legend. The concert hall will be part of the new $53 million TCU Music Center, which is set to open in fall 2020.

Gifts totaling $10 million from a group of donors who were close with Van Cliburn made the naming possible.

“We are grateful to this group of donors for this historic gift to the School of Music to honor Van Cliburn and ensure the success of this important project,” said Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. “Van’s superb artistry will always have a place in the hearts of music lovers at TCU, Fort Worth and beyond.”

David and Dana Porter of Fort Worth led the fundraising effort to name the concert hall in support of the overall campaign to build a world-class music facility. “Dana and I are delighted to be part of the effort to name TCU’s new concert hall after Van Cliburn,” said David Porter. “It is fitting given the long association between Van and TCU dating back to the first Van Cliburn Competition hosted at Ed Landreth Hall. Fort Worth was blessed to be home to Van, and the Van Cliburn Concert Hall will be a continuation of that blessing for performing arts at TCU and in Fort Worth.”

Richard Gipson, interim dean of TCU’s College of Fine Arts, said, “Showcasing TCU’s commitment to excellence in music education, the hall’s uniquely intimate connection between performers and patrons will enable us to continue presenting TCU’s extraordinary talents as well as inviting internationally renowned musical artists to engage with the TCU and Fort Worth communities.”

This new intimate hall, with a little more than 700 seats wrapping fully around the hall, is designed acoustically as a grand concert hall, with similar acoustical volume to mirror concert halls with double to triple this seating capacity. The acoustical environment is adjustable, so it can be tuned, depending on the nature of the performance.

In addition to having a very wide range of adjustability in reverberation, the acoustical scale can be adjusted by lifting some of the suspended ceiling panels. The hall’s walls and roof are heavy masonry construction to support a rich warmth of tone and strong bass response as well as to ensure that noise from outside the hall will not be audible

inside the hall. The mechanical systems are designed to be silent in operation, allowing performers the greatest possible dynamic range of artistic expression, perhaps causing the audience to hold their breaths during particularly quiet and delicate passages.

The new Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU is designed to showcase the School of Music’s nationally recognized and award-winning student ensembles, including the TCU Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Concert Chorale, Percussion Ensembles and Jazz Ensembles, among others. The concert hall is the heart of the new TCU Music Center and the emerging TCU Creative Commons, which will create a dynamic presence not just for TCU students, but also as TCU welcomes performances from around the world.

The Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU will take its place as a unique concert venue in the city of Fort Worth with its size, scope and design. The concert hall will become a destination for extraordinary artistic experiences, immersing the audience in the performance, feeling as if they are participants in the world-class music-making occurring on stage.

Van Cliburn won the hearts of music lovers across the world in 1958 when he became the first American to win the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, in Moscow. He was awarded the 2010 National Medal of Arts for his contributions as a pianist in the history of music, and as an ambassador for American culture. Since his historic victory at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Cliburn reached across political frontiers with the universal message of beautiful music. The concert hall also will include a small, museum quality display of Cliburn’s life and music.

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