New School News

College of Performing Arts Cuts Ribbon on New State-of-the-Art Facilities

The soaring melodies and exuberant rhythms of Copland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man” filled the new Ernst C. Stiefel Concert Hall Wednesday evening, breathing life into a room that was, not a few months earlier, submerged in a cacophony of of saws, drills and hammers.

The song, which was performed by the Mannes Brass Ensemble, was a fitting soundtrack to the ribbon cutting of the College of Performing Arts’ new spaces. The result of a major gut renovation of 55 West 13th Street undertaken by The New School and Deborah Berke Partners earlier this year, the spaces—which, in addition to the Concert Hall, include the Glass Box Theater, rehearsal rooms and recording studios—comprise the new hub of the College of Performing Arts.

“For the first time in its 99 year history, Mannes has world-class facilities to match its world-class students, faculty, and programs,” Richard Kessler, Dean of Mannes School of Music and Executive Dean for The College of Performing Arts, told the gathering of New School trustees, deans, faculty members, students and New York policy makers. “The new facilities at Arnhold Hall provide our students with opportunities to pursue their education, artistry, and musicianship in a truly 21st century facility and in a space where they can work closely and collaborate with students pursuing degrees in jazz, acting, directing, writing, fashion, design, politics, creative writing, and so many other fields of study open to students at The New School.”

Glass Box 3


Among those in attendance at the ribbon cutting were New School Trustees Joseph R. Gromek, Linda Rappaport and Kay Unger, Parsons Board Member Sheila Johnson, Mannes Board Members Bebe Broadwater, Bill Schwatz, Bill Strizever and Elaine Parisier, New School President David Van Zandt, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Member Deborah Glick and New York State Senator Brad Hoylman.

Located on the fourth floor of Arnhold Hall at 55 West 13th Street, Ernst C. Stiefel Concert Hall is a custom-built, state-of-the-art performance space that will be used for everything from performances of dramatic works and large ensemble concerts, to jazz combos and chamber ensembles. The space is acoustically tuned and sound-proofed; the floor is suspended above a concrete slab and the ceiling hangs from springs.

In addition to the new Concert Hall, the School of Performing Arts recently opened the doors of the Arnhold Hall Glass Box Theater, a space Assistant to the Dean Matthew Sullivan describes as “black box theater meets concert hall.” Located on the first floor, it boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that face the street, giving passers-by a behind-the-scenes view of activity inside the space.

The foyer of the building features a mural with the names of New School luminaries, as well as classes that date back to the formation of the university. The project is capped off by a series of intimate concert spaces, recording studios and new practice rooms.

The opening of the new spaces follows the relocation of Mannes from West 85th Street to 55 West 13th Street, which has long been the home of the School of Jazz. The two schools, along with the School of Drama, joined forces last year to form the College of Performing Arts.

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