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SFCM Unveils Multi-Genre Voice Curriculum and Immersive Digital Theater with Joyce DiDonato

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New immersive digital experience amplifies student performance opportunities and supports expanded SFCM Vocal curriculum.

January 24, 2024 by Mark Taylor

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) is pleased to announce a dynamic expansion of its Voice curriculum coupled with upgrades to its largest concert hall. These dual investments are designed to multiply opportunities for young singers and transform performances at SFCM into an immersive and uniquely innovative and beautiful experience. These investments will provide limitless opportunities for creative staging while increasing full-scale performance opportunities for singers. 

SFCM's Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall.

An example of SFCM's immersive digital theater.

Launching in the Fall of 2024, SFCM's expanded Voice curriculum will continue to focus on the highest standards of professional training while repertoire and technique will openly embrace opera, musical theater, and multi-genre performance with microphone. Students will have access to a highly diverse ensemble program, one that continuously generates the unique performance opportunities that now define the modern musical economy. 

During SFCM's fundraising celebration January 16 featuring Joyce DiDonato, guests got a preview of the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall's transformation into a digital opera hall. The renovations feature dramatic technical upgrades and a full digital proscenium creating a multimedia immersive experience that takes concerts to new heights. DiDonato is an Askonas Holt Artist, part of the alliance that SFCM leads across the music industry, also consisting of Opus 3 Artists, and recording label PENTATONE.

Joyce DiDonato at SFCM.

Joyce DiDonato performs with SFCM students January 16.

"This new installation for this beautiful hall will open countless new opportunities for the young singers here at SFCM," said Joyce DiDonato, "The more chances artists have to perform onstage, the more they can refine and develop their craft, and this bodes brilliantly for their futures. Like my project EDEN suggests, the creative force is a powerful one, and the unification of music, drama, education and creativity encouraged here at SFCM will bring endless possibilities.”

"We are building on our already strong curriculum and giving our students options to explore all kinds of genres in the vocal arts world through new offerings in coursework, training, and performance opportunities," said Chair of the Voice department Catherine Cook, "Opening up these options allow more freedom for emerging singers."

SFCM's Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall.

President David H. Stull inside the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall.

Upgrades include mobile hall trusses, lighting infrastructure changes, and mounted projectors that display vast, colorful, and detailed images across the concert hall. These projections and upgrades will also be utilized for orchestra performances, baroque opera, historical performance and technology and applied composition student performances, heightening the educational and performance experience across every music genre at the Conservatory. 

"These investments will transform our program and expand the creative realm of digital production that will certainly define the performances of tomorrow.”  said SFCM President David H. Stull. "Our objective is to prepare our students for success, and this innovative curriculum coupled with the embrace of advanced technology is the pathway to maximizing artistic potential while facilitating the opportunity for highly creative work in the future.” 

SFCM's Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall.

Another dynamic immersive digital set in SFCM's Concert hall.

SFCM concert goers will start to see parts of these upgrades as early as SFCM's 2024 spring Opera and Musical Theatre showcases. This multi-million dollar investment in the Concert hall will take two years to finish. Upgrades will not affect classes or performances.

By diversifying the Voice curriculum into a multi-genre program, this will enable SFCM to deliver a unique education experience by enhancing learning opportunities, and preparing students for their future careers in an ever evolving musical landscape.  

These upgrades to Hume Hall will allow for heightened experiences for both the student musicians on stage, and those in the audience. These advances in design and expansion of the voice program will continue to provide unparalleled access to excellence for students at the Conservatory as they create the future of music at SFCM and beyond. 

Learn more about studying Voice at SFCM.