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May 04, 2016

Eastman School of Music receives $700,000 to renovate Kilbourn Hall

Refurbishments to seating and lighting and stage upgrades will take place this summer

students playing cello and piano
Pedro Sanchez ’16E performs during an event announcing two gifts to support the renovation of the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall.

Two gifts totaling $700,000 will provide support for substantial renovations to the Eastman School of Music’s historic Kilbourn Hall.

The Avangrid Foundation has committed $400,000 to the project, and the Kenneth and Myra Monfort Charitable Foundation Inc. will contribute $300,000.

“We are so grateful to the Avangrid Foundation and to the Monfort Foundation for providing the critical funding we need to appropriately and carefully upgrade this historic theater,” says Jamal Rossi, the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music.

The Avangrid Foundation, on behalf of its subsidiary Rochester Gas and Electric, supports projects and organizations that enhance the quality of life in its local communities. In recognition of the gift, the lobby of Kilbourn Hall will be named in honor of the Avangrid Foundation.

“We are pleased to support the arts in Rochester and at the Eastman School of Music,” says Robert Kump, president of the Avangrid Foundation. “Kilbourn Hall is one of Rochester’s cultural jewels, and this renovation will ensure that the community can enjoy it for years to come.”

In addition to serving as the primary location for Eastman’s faculty, student, and guest artist recitals, the 444-seat hall plays host to the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival and the First Niagara Fringe Festival. It has welcomed legendary artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Ron Carter ’59E, and Dave Brubeck. Considered one of the finest chamber music halls in the world, Kilbourn’s outstanding acoustics also make it a frequent choice for commercial recording sessions.

Support from the Monfort Charitable Foundation comes from longtime Eastman School of Music patrons Myra Monfort and her husband, William Runyan ’73E (MA), ’83E (PhD). In recognition of their gift, the stage at Kilbourn Hall will be named in their honor.

The renovation plans will preserve Kilbourn Hall’s acoustics while enhancing the audience experience through seating, lighting, and stage upgrades. Refurbishments will take place in the summer of 2016 and the hall will reopen for the 2016–17 academic year.

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