Northwestern rolled out the purple carpet for a very special event on September 24 in honor of the Bienen School’s new Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts. Approximately 800 members of the Northwestern community filled Pick-Staiger Concert Hall for the dedication ceremony, which began with a trumpet fanfare by master’s students Michael Hawes and Zack Thomas and undergraduates Lindsey Fraizer and Aaron Schuman.

“We are here to celebrate the opening of a momentous new chapter in the life of the Bienen School of Music,” said Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery. “The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts is an incomparable facility—the very finest academic center for music training in the nation.”

In her remarks, Dean Montgomery recounted the school’s long journey to finally opening a facility worthy of its excellent faculty, students, and alumni. Said Dean Montgomery, “In celebrating the new building, we are also celebrating the important role of music in society, in our lives, and in the work of a research university like Northwestern.”

President Morton Schapiro spoke about the many ways Pat and Shirley Ryan have positively affected Northwestern, from the arts and athletics to campus facilities and scholarships.

“This recognition is especially appropriate because of the Ryans’ close friendship with president emeritus Henry Bienen and his wife, Leigh,” said Schapiro.

Bienen, Northwestern’s president during Pat Ryan’s tenure as Board of Trustees chair, echoed Schapiro’s sentiments.

“Leigh and I are so grateful for Shirley and Pat’s support and friendship over many years. We are thrilled that the Ryan and Bienen names will be linked through the music school at Northwestern.”

Following the dedication, guests gathered outside the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony and a reception. Student ambassadors offered tours of the building, and a new Bienen School video was screened. The video features stunning footage of the Ryan Center and includes performances by and interviews with Bienen students, architectural insights from James Goettsch, and commentary from Dean Montgomery about the building’s transformative effects on the school’s future.

Designed by Chicago-based Goettsch Partners, the architecturally striking building includes teaching studios, classrooms, practice rooms, faculty and administrative offices, and choral and orchestral libraries, as well as three state-of-the-art performance venues—Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, David and Carol McClintock Choral and Recital Room, and Shirley Welsh Ryan Opera Theater.

See more highlights from the dedication ceremony

View full album on Flickr.

  • Toni-Marie Montgomery
  • new building