SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Members of the Skidmore College music department performed an overture Monday morning to usher in a new era of study on the campus.
They could have called it: movements for 22 pianos on a cold winter day.
"This opens up many new possibilities," said music department chairman Thomas Denny, standing inside the new $32.5 million Arthur Zankel Music Center as workmen orchestrated the relocation of the 22 pianos from the Filene Music Building to the newest building on the Skidmore College campus.
The 22 pianos - which include a Steinway & Sons grand piano valued at about $100,000 - were carefully carted atop dollies and transported the 100-yard distance between the two buildings.
The Filene building has hosted the college music program since its construction in 1968 and was built to support a five-member faculty and a student body of about 1,000.
Today, the music faculty includes 40 full-time and part-time educators and 2,400 students.
The new Arthur Zankel Music Center measures approximately 54,000 square feet, roughly double the size of the Filene building, Denny said.
The copper-trimmed, three-story building also boasts 14 practice rooms compared to the eight rooms previously available, ample rehearsal space for the university's orchestra, big band and jazz ensembles, and state-of-the-art digital recording and Webcast technology.
The center also includes a new 600-seat concert hall, considerably larger than the 235-seat hall in the Filene building will serve, at least partially, as a campus administration building.
The center is named in honor of the late financier Arthur Zankel, who bequeathed $46 million to Skidmore College after his death in 2005 -- a portion of which was used to finance the building's construction as well as to support the center's operating costs.
A $4 million state economic development grant secured by former Sen. Joseph Bruno was also used to fund the construction of the building.
Music classes are expected to be held in the new center later this month and the first ensemble production will be staged Feb. 5. Internationally acclaimed saxophonist Joshua Redman will be performing in the new hall on April 16.