Published: Sept. 30, 2021 By

Dean's Downbeat




Dean DavisThe future of artistry

“We are home.”

That’s how doctoral student Raul Dominguez describes the spirit and function of the newly opened, 64,000-square-foot expansion of the CU Boulder College of Music’s Imig Music Building.

I couldn’t agree more. 

In addition to imparting a more welcoming sense of place and belonging, our $57M expansion enhances the college’s standing as a national leader in comprehensive music education, performance, composition and research.

As we innovate the future by developing what I call the “universal musician,” students now have access to dedicated spaces for our Musicians’ Wellness Program and Entrepreneurship Center for Music, as well as access to the Waltz Music Library and the American Music Research Center—one of the largest and most important music research collections in the country. Our expanded facility also includes the choral department from Macky Auditorium, where rehearsal spaces had become too small and acoustically challenged, as well as space for the Department of Theatre & Dance. And our new classrooms and a state-of-the-art recording studio further create new opportunities for interdisciplinary partnerships and cross-campus collaborations, expanding the definition of artistry for our students and faculty. 

The upgraded Imig building has already enhanced learning and performance experiences for our students by accelerating our momentum to leverage various technologies in ways that elevate College of Music offerings well beyond our immediate campus community. With new learning and performance spaces and tools, we’re not only expanding the reach and range of what’s possible as scholars, composers and performers, we’re also adding to our students’ skill sets and paving the way toward greater diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do.

Among our 330 undergraduates, 24% are pursuing a second degree outside music (double degree)—a percentage that I expect will increase as the College of Music more actively emphasizes our students’ preparedness for the challenges and opportunities awaiting them beyond our halls. Predictably, with the COVID-19 pandemic as an accelerant, enrollment in our certificate programs in Arts Administration, Music Entrepreneurship, Music Technology, Music Theory and Singing Health is on the rise.

Our building expansion further enhances the college’s ability to meet demand from non-music majors for increased class offerings and additional practice facilities, and new concert spaces create additional opportunities to connect with our community.

What a difference a year makes

Despite pandemic-related budget restrictions, changes in college-going behaviors and family economics, changes in ticket buying behaviors and currently depressed demand for cultural events, technological requirements for remote learning and performances, generalized anxiety and other lingering challenges, COVID-19 has also quickened our momentum toward increased digital engagement with many positive impacts, including on our environment. And with the university returning to a more traditional in-person experience with COVID-19 safety protocols firmly in place, we’ve pivoted and nimbly turned the corner from remote to flexible, in-person learning and experiences. 

As I reexamine and redefine College of Music-relevant metrics for leadership with open eyes—to expand student and faculty diversity and representation, strengthen student-centered innovation, better support the development of our dedicated pedagogues, and rethink our programming, repertoire and other activities through the lens of inclusivity—I’m unflinchingly confident that the future of artistry lives here. And that our collective recovery—emphasizing transparency, empathy, and mental and physical well-being with every step—is a springboard to a brighter, more beautiful future.