Voxman Music building

Voxman Music building

Abbreviation: 
VMB
Number: 
0205
Address: 
300 North Riverside Drive
Formal Name: 
Voxman Music building
Year: 
1971
Architect: 
Max Abramovitz of Harrison and Abramovitz, New York, New York
Historical: 

The School of Music was founded in 1906, but it suffered from a tenuous connection to the University. Instruction was in the form of private lessons, the fees for which paid the instructors’ salaries. Orchestra, band, choral groups, and glee club were all supported by concert tickets. Philip Greeley Clapp was hired by President Walter A. Jessup (1916–1934) and tasked with making music activities a new University department. That goal was achieved by 1921, but it would be fifty years before the School of Music had a single permanent home: Voxman Music Building (VMB), named after Clapp’s successor, Himie Voxman, who led the school for twenty-six years. Voxman’s namesake building gave architectural shape to the importance the School of Music plays in the instructional, academic, and cultural life of the University and state.
VMB includes the Rita Benton Music Library, Voxman Hall (band/ orchestra rehearsal room), Harper Hall recital room, and choral and opera rehearsal areas. VMB is physically connected to Hancher Auditorium and Clapp Recital Hall, establishing the functional bond with these concert venues and completing the performing arts end of the Arts Campus. The concrete building itself is a standardized composition with two extended rows of square office windows with frames, all capped with a jutting slab roof. The shadow cast by the cornice weighs down the building and makes it seem even more horizontal and flat to the ground, a sympathetic response to the flow of the nearby river. The powerful geometry of the monumental projections along the river façade mark entrance stairs and provide light to the stairwells. The back of Hancher Auditorium’s fly loft looms over the entire building. Voxman Music Building’s bold abstractions exemplify the New Formalism phase of Modernism championed by Abramovitz.