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CalArts to unleash 'The Wild Beast'

Officials estimate completion of music pavilion by spring

Posted: January 29, 2009 9:16 p.m.
Updated: January 30, 2009 4:30 a.m.

The California Institue of the Arts' new pavilion, "The Wild Beast," under construction on Thursday.

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California Institute of the Arts received a $500,000 grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation this week, to help with completion of the Valencia art institute's $3 million innovative music pavilion, named "The Wild Beast."

CalArts officials estimate construction on the pavilion, named for contemporary American composer Morton Feldman's metaphor for creative energy, will be complete in the spring, giving CalArts music students and the Santa Clarita Valley community another venue for concerts.

"The S. Mark Taper Foundation Courtyard, together with The Wild Beast music pavilion, will become CalArts' largest and most attractive setting for concerts meant for both the CalArts community and the general public in our region," said CalArts President Steven Lavine.

The 3,200-square-foot pavilion benefits the growing number of CalArts music students and the community in two ways.

When enclosed, the auditorium serves as rehearsal and recital space for music students and can seat 140 people.

When the front wall opens, the audience capacity expands to hold more than 1,000 in an open-air stage.
"We can do a very basic thing or we can support a national act," said John Baffa, assistant production manager for the Herb Alpert School of Music.

CalArts officials consider the building to be light and innovative in its design.

"Beyond being visual, I'm really excited because it can move and do so much itself," Baffa said.

The campus constantly hosts up to nine student recitals a week and organizes faculty and guest events in its existing performance hall.

"To have the capability to have multiple venues going, it's going to be a good thing," Baffa said.

College officials expects to host free year 'round programming at The Wild Beast for performances by students, faculty and visiting artists.

The Wild Beast will serve as a music venue for hundreds of middle and high school students.

Santa Clarita area youth in the CalArts Community Arts Partnership will perform their end-of-the-year recitals at The Wild Beast.

High school students in Innerspark, the California State Summer School for the Arts hosted by CalArts annually, will also use the venue for instruction, rehearsals and performances.

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