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Performing Arts

SMTD Receives $2.5 Million Gift for Music Technology Innovation Suite

William K. and Delores S. Brehm

The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) has received a gift from William K. and Delores S. Brehm to provide for a Music Technology Innovation Suite. It will be housed in the new wing of the Earl V. Moore Building, named the William K. and Delores S. Brehm Pavilion, which is currently under construction. The Technology Suite will also be supported by a $500,000 contribution from the Office of the Provost.

The $2.5 million gift is in addition to the $8 million catalyst gift that the Brehms made in 2013 to launch the $24.83 million project, providing for a major expansion and renovation of the 50-year-old Eero Saarinen-designed building.

The new gift will create a multi-functional technology center designed to provide students with the technological literacy and skills required to become fully creative, entrepreneurial, and inventive 21st century artists.

The Music Technology Innovation Suite will contain:

  • Music Technology Lab (MTL), providing space for instruction in electronic music composition and performance, developing music and sound for film, and for independent student project work
  • Technology Innovation Space, to be known as M-PIRE (Multimedia Performance Innovation and Research Environment), to provide a flexible, immersive, multimedia environment for innovative uses of technology in performing arts, including space for interdisciplinary collaborations, installations, video recording, performance, and rehearsal
  • Control Room/surround-sound space, for the teaching and practice of sound recording
  • Workshop, for prototyping and developing interactive, electronic music devices
  • Editing Labs, providing rooms for editing and mixing audio and video
  • Machine Room, providing comprehensive audio/video connectivity between the Tech Suite and other spaces in the Moore Building

Occupying the lower level of the new Brehm Pavilion in the Moore Building, the Technology Suite will provide a critically needed component to the School. It will complement the extensive upgrades being made to the building, including many new spaces, such as a large rehearsal hall; classrooms, studios, and faculty offices; a percussion and jazz percussion suite; a state-of-art lecture hall; and a welcoming atrium lobby.

“We are profoundly grateful to Bill and Dee Brehm for their incredible generosity and for their expansive and forward-thinking vision in helping us create the best possible facility for the study of the performing arts in the 21st century,” said Christopher Kendall, SMTD dean. “This important gift will have a major impact on students from a spectrum of disciplines, preparing them for dynamic performing arts careers in which they harness technology and maximize their entrepreneurial skills.”

The Brehms are significant, long-time donors to the University of Michigan. Among their many gifts, they created the Brehm Scholars Program, providing full resident tuition, four-year undergraduate scholarships for students from Fordson High School, Mr. Brehm’s alma mater in Dearborn, Michigan. They later added additional support for Brehm Scholars to attend four years at the U-M Medical School. In 2004, with a $44 million gift to the U-M Health System, the Brehms created the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research, to accelerate the pace of finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. In addition, at SMTD the Brehms have funded an endowed scholarship for graduate choral conductors, the Brehm Prize in Choral Composition, and a fund to commission new works for the Chamber Choir.

The new Brehm gift is part of the University of Michigan’s comprehensive Victors for Michigan campaign, which includes all schools and units on all three U-M campuses. It seeks to raise $4 billion for student support, engaged learning, and bold ideas. SMTD’s goal for the campaign is $90 million, 75 percent of which has been raised to date.

Story via the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

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