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Shiva Shafii,
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Press Release:


Press Release:

Friday, 3 March, 2017

Funding to Launch Transformation of Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center

New Space Will Bring Young People, Communities and Audiences Together to Experience Music in New and Creative Ways

James and Sherry Raisbeck outside Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center Photo credit: Brandon Patoc

Seattle, WA–The Seattle Symphony and Seattle philanthropists James and Sherry Raisbeck announce the $2 million Raisbeck Matching Challenge to transform Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center from an education and workshop space to a new tech-enabled performance venue for the future. Soundbridge, a 2,000-square-foot space at the corner of Second Avenue and Union Street in Benaroya Hall, was opened in 2001 as the Symphony’s hands-on music education and exhibit space. The space will

be transformed acoustically and visually, creating opportunities for the Symphony to serve the community with an even broader range of programs including unique live performances, education and community projects, and distance learning.

“Sherry and I are excited to support this new space,” James Raisbeck shared. “This will be a nexus for education, live music, technology, and, of course, community and bringing people together through music.”

“We are thrilled at the possibilities for this space which will help our community to experience music in ever more creative ways,” Seattle Symphony President & CEO Simon Woods added. “We have enormous gratitude to James and Sherry for their generosity in establishing this matching challenge, which we hope will inspire others to join them in supporting this project. Soundbridge is already a hub for some of our most in-depth education and community work, and by removing the walls, raising the ceiling, and introducing some amazing technology, we will completely re-envision the space, turning this prominent location on the corner of Second Ave and Union Street into a destination for education, inspiration and engagement.”

The new venue will continue to accommodate many of the community events currently taking place in Soundbridge, and the space will have state-of-the-art sound and lighting capabilities as well as flexible seating for many different types of performances and events. The space will be built with distance learning in mind, as well as infrastructure and a fund for future technological upgrades. Visually, the space will go from a family-centered design to a space that reflects the design of the other interior spaces in Benaroya Hall, accommodating audiences of all ages. Other physical changes in addition to removal of interior walls and raising the ceiling height include enhancements to the entry to accommodate ticketing, and food and beverage capabilities. The space is being designed by LMN Architects, the original architects for Benaroya Hall.

The project budget including design, construction, technology for future upgrades and funds to support education, community and audience engagement activities is $7 million, of which $5 million has been raised. Once the remaining $2 million is raised through the Raisbeck Matching Challenge, the project will be fully funded. Soundbridge will remain open until fall 2017 when construction begins, and the space will re-open in early 2018. 

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