O'Neill Hall of Music

Exquisite Concert Venues

The Department's new home, O’Neill Hall, includes two exquisite performing spaces—the LaBar Recital Hall and the LaBar Performance Hall—unlike any other concert venues currently on campus.  Both have exquisite acoustics designed by the same acoustical firm responsible for the DPAC’s superb Leighton Concert Hall.  Leighton is a 900-seat hall, and is therefore too large for many of the performances the Department and Sacred Music at ND (SMND) sponsor.  Recitals and performances of music for small ensembles by students, faculty, and guest artists are ideally served by the intimacy and beauty of the new 175-seat Recital Hall. This performance space features a traditional stage, fixed seating, and a formal atmosphere suited to classical concert music.  The Performance Hall—an interdisciplinary performance space—has a similar intimate scale, but accommodates alternative types of musical events involving music in combination with other media, such as projected text and visual images, and other forms of artistic expression, such as acting, lighting, and dance.  It features flexible seating and staging options in a “black-box” style setting designed to support avant-garde performance and experimentation.

Sound Isolation and Climate Control

The Department/SMND’s teaching and research missions flourish in an environment designed with great concern for sound isolation and climate control.  In each space of O’Neill Hall—whether that space is a rehearsal hall, a private lesson studio, a faculty office, a seminar room, or a classroom—faculty and students hear only what they need to hear: the music they are studying within that space and not music from elsewhere.  Temperature and humidity also remain at constant levels ideal for the care and upkeep of musical instruments.  The principles are basic, but to achieve them required great care of planning by the architects.  The results continue to be transformational for scholarship, performance, pedagogy, and instrument maintenance.

Third Floor as "Nerve Center"

The architects ingeniously designed the building so that its third floor serves as a nerve center, drawing together, on a daily basis, faculty and students engaged in the diverse activities of a music program.  At the center of the third floor, sits the music library.  This location makes all of the library resources—musical scores and collected editions, scholarly books and journals, the audio-video collections, electronic resources, etc.—immediately accessible in support of the various activities housed in the other spaces on the third floor.  Professors teaching courses in the two third-floor seminar rooms, two mid-sized classrooms, and large lecture hall have the resources of the library close at hand.  Their pedagogy is further served by the presence of the most advanced audio-visual technology in all of these classroom spaces.  The same holds true for ensemble directors rehearsing with student performing ensembles in the two, third-floor rehearsal halls.  Between classes and rehearsals, the lounge spaces in the lobby areas and in the library encourage informal interactions among students and faculty, and help to keep all Department/SMND citizens in close proximity.  The multiple “noisy” and “silent” study areas (some open and others enclosed with advanced audio-visual technology) within the library itself—not to mention the sweeping view afforded by floor-to-ceiling windows along the library’s south wall—further foster the community of learning of the Department and SMND.

O’Neill Hall’s many other attractive features are too numerous to list.  Even just the three crucial ones enumerated here—exquisite performance spaces, sound isolation and climate control, and an overall design that supports a community of scholarship and learning—will be enough to make O’Neill a magnet for the most in-demand guest artists and scholars, the most stimulating conferences and performances, and the most outstanding students and faculty.