Looking ahead: Music Building in our future

Looking ahead

New construction will ensure facility meets the needs of faculty and students

By Julie Cooper

woman playing violin
The School of Music’s impact reaches beyond the San Marcos Campus with community outreach programs that include musical ensembles for children such as the Texas State String Project, the Hill Country Youth Chorus, Mariachi Infantil, and the FunKey Piano Project. Public events include the International Piano Festival, the Eddie Durham Jazz Festival, and Feria del Mariachi.

The School of Music has a lot to sing about: Grammy-winning faculty and alumni, award-winning opera productions and musical performances, an impressive number of Bobcats working on national stages, a stellar placement record for music teachers, and home to the International Piano Festival for the past 12 years. As an encore to these bragging rights, Texas State bands are beginning their second century of providing the soundtrack for the university’s life.

The only thing missing from the successful composition is a facility worthy to mold the school’s quality of instruction, talent, and inspiration into the future. That deficit, which could hinder top student recruitment and future growth, is the impetus behind a new music building slated for the San Marcos Campus. When completed, the masterpiece will serve almost 600 music majors and 80-plus faculty who are currently spread across five buildings.

Since 1983, the Department of Music has been housed in a converted facility that was formerly Strahan Gym. Located at the corner of North LBJ and Sessom drives, the school was originally intended for 200 music students. Enrollment has flourished, far exceeding that expectation. Within the School of Music, there are now 30 music ensembles: the 350-member Bobcat Marching Band, Symphony Orchestra, six choral ensembles, opera, four jazz bands, a rock ensemble, two salsa bands, two mariachi groups, and 12 smaller instrumental ensembles.

For Dr. John Fleming, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the new music building will propel the achievements of the students and faculty it will hold. “We need a central location that can house and meet the demands of the students and faculty of the School of Music,” Fleming says. “The arts are like athletics; when recruiting top talent, facilities matter. This is an investment in our future for providing an even higher level of excellence in our instruction and performance preparation.”

digital rendering of building
An artist's rendering of the proposed Texas State Music Building indicates the location - along Moon Street next to the Performing Arts Center. The final design of the Music Building is still under consideration and will be unveiled at a later date.

The addition of a music building would add to what has been called a “new front door” for the campus. In 2014 the Performing Arts Center opened at the corner of University and Moon Street, across from the iconic round brick Theatre Center. The music building will be constructed alongside the Performing Arts Center and close to the Edward Gary Garage, completing an epicenter for creating, performing, learning, and gathering.

The proposed music building contains nearly 85,000 square feet of space for classrooms, labs, studios, music library, faculty offices, rehearsal and practice rooms, instrument maintenance room, piano technician studio, and a student lounge.

“We are being purposeful and strategic with space allocation. During summer 2019 we reviewed the planning document that had been developed in 2010 and adjusted the original allocations to match our current and future needs,” says Dr. Joey Martin, professor and interim director of the School of Music. “The new building will have rehearsal, instructional, and storage spaces specifically designed to meet the academic and artistic needs of a 21st-century school of music.”

A Who's Who of TXST Music

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Vocalist with the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

She has been a featured vocalist with performers that include Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers.

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Operatic Soprano

Named a 2020 Young Artist with the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco.

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Bass-baritone opera singer

Twice nominated for Grammy awards. He performed with the Washington National Opera for 14 years. His repertoire includes more than 90 roles.

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Trumpet player, member of the Austin-based latin band Grupo Fantasma

Formed in 2000, Grupo Fantasma won a Grammy for El Existenial and their music has been featured on television and films.

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Adam Schroeder (B.M. ’00)

Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

He toured with Ray Charles and trumpeter Clark Terry. He performs on multiple Grammy-winning and Grammy-nominated albums.

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Assistant Professor of Flute and Music History at Texas lutheran University

She earned a doctor of musical arts degree in flute performance from Ball State University.

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Opera singer with the Arizona Opera Studio

In 2022 she will appear with the San Diego Opera, the Virginia Opera, and the North Carolina Opera.

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Founding member of Blue Water Highway

Formed in 2013, the band also includes Texas State alumna Catherine Clarke.

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Assistant Professor of Flute at Prairie View A&M.

He works regularly as a studio musician in orchestral and commercial settings, fusing Western classical traditions with ethnic sounds.


George Oldziey (M.M. ’92)

Award-winning Composer

He has worked with film director Robert Rodriguez since 2002. Oldziey’s credits include music for “Spy Kids2,” “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” and “Kill Bill Vol. 2."

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Lt. Col. Leonel Peña (B.M. ’02)

Deputy Commandant and Director of Training for the U.S. Army School of Music in Virginia Beach, Virginia He was formerly the executive officer of the U.S. Army Band Pershing’s Own in Washington, D.C.

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Steven Vogel (B.M. ’15)

Primary trombonist of Woodlands Symphony Orchestra

He tours nationally with the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass, and is a regular performer with the Texas Brass Ensemble.

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William “Billy” Henry (B.M. ’92)

Part-time faculty member in the Texas State Sound Recording Technology program

He writes and performs music for TV, radio, and film. He frequently tours with The Chicks and the Court Yard Hounds.

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Dr. Wayne Oquin (B.M. ’99)

Composer and Chair of Musicianship at The Juilliard School

His work has been commissioned and performed by the Danish National Symphony, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Pacific Symphony.

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Dr. James Polk (M.M. ’91)

Grammy-nominated songwriter

Polk lectured on music history and jazz studies at Texas State, retiring in 2006. He was named a Texas State Distinguished Alumnus.

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Jeremy Branson (B.M. ’02)

Associate Principal Percussionist for the Pittsburgh Symphony

He also serves as the chair of percussion at Carnegie Mellon University.

Will Hensley (B.M. ’04), is a sound engineer who won a Grammy award in 2015 for “Best Children’s Album.”

José Antonio Guerrero Ortiz (M.M. ’13), is CEO and founder of Memoirs Classical Guitar Magazine.

Danielle “Dani” Stevens Nutting (B.M. ’14), received a Fulbright grant to conduct her dissertation research on classical flute tradition in Bulgaria. Nutting has performed with the National Repertory Orchestra (Breckenridge, Colorado), Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Sinfonia da Camera (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois). She is a doctoral candidate in flute performance & literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Eliud Garcia (B.M. ’15), a bass trombone player  who released his second solo album “Versitos.” His Austin-based Eliud Band plays Latin music.

Dinah Menger (M.M. ’15), is the director of choral and elementary music for Fort Worth ISD.  

Support the future
The project, estimated to cost $70 million, already has more than $30 million committed — and is on its way to create a new home for the School of Music. There are several ways for Bobcats and music lovers to support this project, including naming opportunities. For more information, contact Dr. Dan Perry at dperry@txstate.edu or (512) 245-4055.