“‘If music be the food of love, play on – William Shakespeare,'” quoted Marta Week, namesake of the latest addition to the School of Music.
April ninth 2002 marked a historical day for the School of Music with the groundbreaking for the $10 million state-of-the-art Marta and Austin Weeks Music and Technology Center.
“It is an extraordinary gift from Marta and Austin Week and is part of a long tradition of generosity to the university,” said Luis Glaser, Executive Vice President and Provost.
Previous gifts included the L. Austin Weeks Center for Recording and Performance, home to the 145-seat Clark Recital Hall and a recording studio for music engineering students.
The couple are also responsible for assisting over 40 students through the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Scholarship Endowment. Mrs. Week is on the board of trustees.
“The Weeks legacy will continue to influence the music school through their generous contribution. We are deeply grateful to them,” said William Hipp, School of Music dean.
The Center, expected to be completed by Spring 2004, will include a 15,300 sq. foot music library and a 5,200 sq. foot advanced technology center, with six computer laboratories.
“For the first time in decades it will permit the school to house all its collections in one place,” said Dean Hipp.
Presently half the collections are stored in the Richter Library and the other half in the School of Music Library.
The six new labs will enable students to work with specialized hi-tech equipment.
“It will allow students to stay on the cutting edge of music technology,” said President Donna Shalala.
The groundbreaking, which took place behind the Clark Recital Hall, was a high profile, highly publicized event, with the appearance of President Shalala, Chairman and Vice Chairmen and Members of the Board of Trustees and Deans and Faculty of various UM schools.
It started off on a high note with a performance by the School of Music students and was followed by a welcome message from Dean Hipp and remarks on the occasion by President Shalala, Luis Glaser, Philip Frost (on the Board of Trustees), and Mrs. Week. Mr. Week could not attend the event due to ill health.
“Music isn’t important in the sense of food or shelter but it has provided me with countless moments of inspiration and made me think noble thoughts,” said Frost.
“The school has thrived as a leader in higher education and is a microcosm in today’s music industry,” acknowledged Shalala.
Marta Austin was honored with a standing ovation and a memento consisting of photographs and letters from students who have benefited from their scholarship fund.
“Without people coming before us and helping, a lot of us wouldn’t be here today,” Mrs. Week said.
“What better place to direct the money than roll it to the music school. I hope all of you students will one day try to pass along the same generosity to the next generation,” she said.
The lobby of the new music library will be dedicated to Mr. Week’s late mother, Una Austin Week. She entertained British troops during World War 1 and influenced her son’s love of music, they said.
“I am pleased to honor her love of music in the new library,” said Mrs. Week.
The students seem thrilled with the new additions and facilities.
“The School of Music is underdeveloped. It’s a good school but the facilities are kind of tough. So these new facilities will be great,” said Bonnie Lander, a freshman in that school.
“We are grateful for the Weeks’ unwavering generosity throughout the university,” said Shalala.