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July 11, 2022

Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra’s New Home

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The WYSO Center for Music Breaks Ground on East Washington Avenue

Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra recently broke ground on the construction of its new 40,085 SF rehearsal and performance space. The building will feature three state-of-the-art rehearsal halls, eight studios, nine practice rooms, administrative offices, and a music library. The music center is set to be fully operational early 2024.

Strang Project Team: Larry Barton, Drew Martin, Tim Crum, Erica Ostendorf Mullins

More than 500 young musicians aged 5-18 currently participate in WYSO. After years of growth and practicing in schools, churches, and parking lots, this building will be the first permanent space they can call their own. The facility will have the capacity to hold all of WYSO’s current orchestra and Music Makers students, with room to grow.

Bridget Fraser, WYSO Executive Director

WYSO Student Musicians

The groundbreaking ceremony saw WYSO members, sponsors, trustees, and project partners in attendance and featured a special performance from WYSO student musicians. Speaking at the event, Executive Director of WYSO, Bridget Fraser described the future music center as a triumphant “new day” for WYSO moving forward.

Check out a virtual flythrough of the new WYSO Center for Music!

The striking design of the WYSO music center is inspired by the shapes of musical instruments. Sweeping curved roofs reflect the contour of a cello and the landscaped gardens mirror the shape of a bell and trumpet. Ceiling patterns and acoustic panels echo the shape of sound waves. The copper material used throughout the building imitates a timpani drum.

 The large rehearsal halls will each hold a 100-musician orchestra with balconies that offer viewers the opportunity for bird-eye observation. Because acoustics were of central importance, the building implements creative sound design in order to block busy street noise and isolate sound within each hall. Local Wisconsin materials were also used as a source of inspiration and the exterior will be sourced from local Wisconsin limestone. The building will also meet energy efficiency best practices, satisfy Madison rain-water-runoff goals, and include a partial green roof.

Drew Martin, Lead Design Architect

As Drew Martin, Lead Design Architect from Strang Inc., stated,

The WYSO Center for music will be a world-class educational facility as well as an iconic fixture for the arts in the East Washington Corridor. WYSO is such a wonderful, community-driven organization, and it was a joy to work on this project with them.”


WYSO’s new home on East Washington Avenue joins a flourishing youth arts neighborhood
and will serve as a real cultural jewel for the city of Madison and its young musicians.

About Strang

Established in 1935, Strang is an award-winning architecture, engineering, interior design,

and planning firm with offices in Madison and Waukesha. Our inclusive project
approach allows us to provide exceptional design for projects within the performing
arts, science and technology, commercial, higher education, and civic +
cultural sectors. Strang has been awarded InBusiness Magazine’s Number ONE
Commercial Architecture award for 8 years running (2013-2021) and is
responsible for many of Madison’s iconic cultural and performing arts spaces
including the Hamel Music Center, Art + Lit + Lab, and the Sylvee.

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