Archived News | Return to News Center

Feb. 20, 2003

ULM Announces Opening of Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall at Press Conference

The University of Louisiana at Monroe announced the opening of the new Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall and newly renovated Biedenharn Hall at a press conference on Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. in the lobby of the recital hall.

The newly built Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall was completed this year and is currently open for use. The new recital hall will be for all music recitals and concerts. The recital hall boasts a state-of-the-art interior with a complex lighting and sound system allowing for superior quality sound. It also has a 284 seating capacity.

The $5.4 million renovation of Biedenharn Hall has brought many exciting changes to ULM's Division of Music. Along with the new recital hall, there are also new, state-of-the-art, studios and offices, classrooms, a listening center and music computer laboratory.

At the press conference, the President of ULM James Cofer praised the new addition saying it was a much-needed improvement.

"We are excited to announce the opening of the Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall and the renovations to Biedenharn Hall. The faculty, students, and entire arts community will benefit from them. ULM is now poised to be on the cutting edge in music education. We are pleased to have these fine facilities now available."

The ULM School of Visual and Performing Arts and Division of Music and Dance, formerly The School of Music, was temporarily housed in Sandel Hall while renovations to Biedenharn took place. Music classes will move from Sandal as soon as furnishings allow. The entire move including faculty offices and classes should be complete by April 1.

Interim Director of the School of Visual and Performing Arts, Dr. Roger Jones, told media at the press conference how he was delighted to open the doors of the new recital hall and the refurbished Biedenharn Hall.

"These renovations bring the ULM Division of Music and Dance on par with the best in the south. We now have a state-of-the-art recital hall and teaching facilities, along with excellent teaching faculty and two of the finest pianos in the south. This is a wonderful recruiting tool for students and faculty," said Jones.

Two Fazioli grand pianos are part of the new building.

"The wood for parts of these piano's is taken from a particular valley in Italy and it's the same valley that Stradivarius used to get wood to build his violins. Fazioli is considered one of the best piano manufacturers is in the world," said Jones.

ULM has eagerly anticipated the state-funded improvements to the building as well as the building of a new facility for many years. Dr. Richard Worthington, former Director of the ULM music school started drawing plans for the restructuring 25 years ago. The task was then handed to the next Director, Dr. Larry Edwards who worked on the project for 15 years.

"Biedenharn Hall was one of the original buildings built on campus and had not been affectedly renovated since the 1950's. People who had seen the old building, don't recognize it now. Though the outside (facing Desiard Street) has not changed, the inside has changed drastically, which is pleasing to us." said Jones

Now that the project is complete, there is reason to celebrate. ULM will be rolling out the red carpet for its first ever Gala. The black tie event, a fundraiser for the School of Visual and Performing Arts, costs $100 a person and is by invitation only. The Gala Opening of the Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall is set for March 15 beginning at 6 p.m. A cocktail buffet will be served from 6 to 7 p.m. in the University Library Conference Center, 7th Floor. The Concert will begin at 7:45 p.m. in the new Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall. Immediately following the concert will be a champagne reception and tour of Biedenharn Hall. Proceeds from the Gala will benefit the ULM Scholarship and Enhancement Fund.

"The gala is an exciting event for us at ULM. It will be an opportunity for us to reach out to those who are interested in the arts both on and off campus. We had searched for a way to showcase our extremely talented faculty while opening the Emy -Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall. The gala, a black -tie affair, is the perfect way for us to do both. We hope the event is a huge success and are encouraged by the unfailing support from the arts community," said Cofer.

The ULM Concert Series, a series of performances by ULM faculty, will be held throughout the year to commemorate the opening of the new recital hall. The first performance will be held on Feb. 24 and will feature the Baerman String Quartet and ULM music professor Dr. William Nichols on clarinet. Future performances can be found on the ULM web calendar.

In addition to the ULM Concert Series, ULM also has a full schedule with the ULM Season of Performances. The Season of Performances features several musical events performed primarily by students from the ULM Division of Music and Dance.

Find this and other ULM News at

Photos of this event are available upon request.

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.