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Arkansas Symphony Breaks Ground On New Headquarters; Will Serve ‘Diverse’ Music Creators Across State, Officials Say

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Arkansas Symphony Breaks Ground On New Headquarters; Will Serve ‘Diverse’ Music Creators Across State, Officials Say


The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra broke ground in late August on its new $11.75 million Stella Boyle Smith Music Center in Little Rock’s East Village, creating a first-of-its-kind music-focused headquarters for the state. The new 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, slated to open in September 2024, is the Symphony’s first permanent home in its 58-year history. 

The new music center will be a welcoming hub of musical activity for all Arkansans, serving youth and adults of all ages with an array of musical offerings. The building will provide access to music education, music performances and music making to residents of all corners of the state through new spaces and a broadcast and recording studio. 

“Our new music center represents a defining moment for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and for the state,” said Brigita Gardner, chair of ASO’s Crescendo Committee. “Countless individuals in the community have dedicated their time, effort and passion to raise funds and meticulously plan for how this center can be accessible to all and a source of joy. We embrace the promise of this landmark home as it enriches the arts in our community and serves Arkansans for many generations to come.” 

The new music center will boast state-of-the-art features for children and adults who participate in the programs of the E. Lee Ronnel Music Academy, including music classrooms and practice spaces, ensuring a conducive environment for musical growth and creativity. The space will include Morgan Hall, named in honor of long-time ASO supporters Susie and Charles Morgan, which will serve as a versatile space for rehearsals and concerts, fostering an immersive musical experience. 

“Live music serves as a unifying force that connects us all, transcending all walks of life,” ASO Music Director Geoff Robson said. “Arkansas has a rich tradition of music creators, including Florence Price, Johnny Cash, William Grant Still, the Ozark Folk Tradition, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and many more. As we embark on this exciting journey, our vision is that this new center will inspire appreciation for all kinds of music-making, be an accessible resource for those learning the craft, and help cultivate the next generations of music creators. We look forward to ushering in this new era of possibilities.”

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