Washington Conservatory of Music
At Glen Echo Park
New resident music program of the
Glen Echo Park Partnership
for Arts and Culture
Saturday, August 1, 2009
South Arcade Studio
Glen Echo Park
7300 MacArthur Blvd.
Bethesda, MD 20812 | directions
Doors Open — instrument demonstrations
Michael Adcock, piano — music of Spanish and South American composers
About Glen Echo Park
Formerly a popular amusement park, today Glen Echo Park is a vibrant arts and cultural center presenting festivals, exhibitions, and dances, as well as children's theater, music programs, nature programs, and art classes to over 400,000 visitors each year. The Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, a nonprofit organization, oversees these and other activities, including renovating and preserving the historic structures in the Park. Glen Echo Park, part of the National Park Service, is located in Glen Echo, Maryland, six miles northwest of Georgetown along the scenic Potomac River palisades.
About pianist Michael Adcock
Washington Conservatory faculty member Michael Adcock, winner of the 1998 Lili Boulanger Memorial Award and prizewinner in the Washington International Competition and Chicago and New York Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competitions , has cultivated a versatile career as both a soloist and chamber music collaborator, appearing with notable musicians including Denyce Graves, Ani Kavafian, James Buswell, and the St. Petersburg String Quartet, and as soloist with orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony.
About the New Space
The Washington Conservatory will reside in the Park's Arcade Building, which also houses Adventure Theatre, the Art Glass Center at Glen Echo, the Glen Echo Park Partnership offices and classrooms, the Puppet Co., and National Park Service visitor information.
The Washington Conservatory's new facility is the result of a collaboration of the Conservatory, the architecture firm of Wnuk Spurlock Architecture, and the builder - K3 Construction Group. The architect and builder donated a significant portion of their services and fees.
The design of the space creatively addresses several requirements. Because the space is located in a former amusement park, now a cultural and arts center, the Conservatory desired to have the space feel playful, while also feeling inspiring and appropriate to students and audience members of all ages. The Conservatory's plan to hold a variety of music classes and performances required a design with versatility. And because the timeline did not allow for a capital building campaign, the budget was limited.
To maximize the 1800 sq. ft space, an upper level open mezzanine with three office/multi-use rooms was created over slightly less than one-half of the main floor area.
On the main level, the architects designed two moveable partitions in a performance room that seats 75 audience members; the partitions give the option of setting up one, two, or three rooms within the performance space.
Certain high-tech elements are incorporated. The performance room has acoustically treated walls and is equipped with a surround sound audio system and a large retractable screen to allow for the Conservatory's plan to show live simulcasts of the Philadelphia Orchestra and other video performances. Next to the performance room is space for a modular sound isolation room with recording and changeable virtual acoustic capabilities.
The main level also includes a reception area, two additional separate sound-blocked classrooms, and a kitchenette, restroom, and storage areas.
The entire space reflects the Conservatory's desire to reuse and recycle. Many items were donated from the builder, such as plumbing fixtures and accessories. The existing light fixtures were reused and repositioned. The recycled rubber-tire flooring used throughout the main level consists of overruns from the manufacturer.
The architect proposed floor to ceiling musical graphics in the performance space and the reception area hallway. The graphics add visual interest and draw the eye upward. They are placed on a 17-foot tall curved wall. The curved wall creates an inviting reception area and maximizes the performance space. The graphics overlap the mezzanine and a perforated metal screen railing that is evocative of the railing located elsewhere in the park. Reused 2x4 standard light fixtures imply motion and new pendant lights rise and fall like a line of music.
At Glen Echo Park, the Washington Conservatory will offer innovative classes, summer camps, group ensembles, lectures, weekend immersion sessions, and concerts for children, teens, and adults. The Conservatory will also continue to maintain a site on Westmoreland Circle at Westmoreland Church in Bethesda where in 2008-09 it installed seven modular sound isolation rooms with recording and changeable virtual acoustic capabilities, and rents ten other rooms, to teach music to students of all ages and levels, and where it presents a series of pay-as-you-can public concerts.