Bienen School of Music Exceeds Campaign Goal

Thanks to the generous support of alumni, friends, and benefactors, the Bienen School of Music surpassed its $70 million fundraising goal for We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern.

Campaign By the Numbers

Campaign Goal
Amount Raised
Campaign Goal Reached
Total Donors
Bienen Alumni Donors
Non-Alumni Donors
New Endowed Merit Aid Scholarships and Fellowships Established

Campaign Highlights

Merit Aid

Merit Aid Scholarships and Fellowships


Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts


Bienen Naming Endowment

Asia Tour

2018 Asia Tour by the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra


Bequests supporting scholarships, special programming initiatives, and Pick-Staiger Concert Hall operations

Academic & Artistic Funds

Institute for New Music

Academic & Artistic Funds

Dover Quartet Residency

Academic & Artistic Funds

Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance

Academic & Artistic Funds

Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series

A Historic Milestone

The campaign has funded a number of initiatives that are critical to the school’s success:

The school’s top priority for the campaign was increasing the availability of merit aid scholarships, which will support the school’s ongoing efforts to recruit and retain the most outstanding music students. A commitment from a member of the school’s Music Advisory Board will establish the first merit-aid scholarship for undergraduates that provides full tuition, room and board, and a stipend for music expenses. Numerous donors contributed to an endowment established in 2008, when the school was named to honor former Northwestern president Henry Bienen and his wife, Leigh. Undergraduate merit aid is a main area supported by this endowment.

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, another campaign priority, immediately brought positive changes to the Bienen community when it opened in 2015. Reuniting all music students and faculty on the east side of campus for the first time in decades, the building solidified the vital role of music and the performing arts at Northwestern. Its three exceptional performance venues—the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, Shirley Welsh Ryan Opera Theater, and David and Carol McClintock Choral and Recital Room—are widely recognized for their beauty and excellent acoustics.

Gifts have supported several important academic and artistic initiatives, including the Bienen School’s Institute for New Music, the appointment of the acclaimed Dover Quartet as quartet-in-residence, the Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series, and residencies by winners of the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance. The campaign also funded the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra’s 2018 Asia tour, which highlighted the school on a global stage through concerts and events in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.


Student Experiences

Brannon Cho“Without the merit aid I received, I would not have had access to the highest caliber professors, rigorous and rewarding musical training, and the opportunity to practice in a world-class facility.”

- Cellist Brannon Cho ’17, a prize winner in the Paulo, Queen Elisabeth, Naumburg, and Cassadó International Cello Competitions

Layne Hartman“Nothing compares to the feeling of communicating with so many people through music. The applause after each and every concert was overwhelming. Not only do I feel like we were able to show off NUSO, but we also received some unforgettable experiences and friendships. Many thanks to everyone who made this trip possible.”

- Bassist Layne Hartman ’20, who performed on the Asia Tour

Kitra Razin“The rehearsal process was really fun. It’s always very exciting to hear your music come to life after listening to it on your laptop.”

- Composer Kitra Razin ’20, whose work premiered by Chicago-based new music ensemble Zafa Collective in an Institute for New Music collaboration

Quinn Middleman“It was an invaluable experience to be coached by someone who has been such a high-level opera singer for so many years, and to benefit from her vast knowledge. I’ve known the name Renée Fleming since I was in elementary school, and being on stage and singing for her was a singular moment in my life.”

- Mezzo-soprano Quinn Middleman ’16 MMus, who participated in the Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series

"I am especially gratified that our campaign total includes major donations toward the school’s top fundraising priority—increased merit aid. Thanks to these enhanced resources, the school can more effectively compete with our peer institutions in attracting the very best music students from around the world."

Toni-Marie Montgomery, Dean


Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Bienen School students will continue to receive a musical and academic education of the highest caliber.

We are grateful to all who have made contributions to the Bienen School of Music. More than 5,000 donors made gifts totaling $1,000 or more during the course of We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern. We thank our many valued donors and friends who made gifts of less than $1,000 during the campaign.

See all Campaign Donors


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