UCLA’S Herb Alpert School of Music Debuts WSDG-Designed Theater

UCLA’S Herb Alpert School of Music Debuts WSDG-Designed Theater

$3 Million Renovation Re-Christened “Lani Hall”

Los Angeles:  Grammy-Award winning vocalist Lani Hall has a new namesake, a $3 million,135-seat “Jewel Box” theater.  The “Lani Hall” will play a key role in the UCLA campus Herb Alpert School of Music.  Featuring impeccable architectural and acoustics created by WSDG Walters-Storyk Design Group, the venue was completed in December 2019.  Totally renovated, the former Jan Popper Theater (circa 1950) in the Schoenberg Music Building on the UCLA campus, will now provide a superb setting for musical and theatrical presentations.

Side view of Lani Hall, the new Jewel Box theater designed by WSDG for the Herb Alpert School of Music on the UCLA campus
Side view of Lani Hall, the new Jewel Box theater designed by WSDG for the Herb Alpert School of Music on the UCLA campus

Established in 2011 by a Herb Alpert Foundation grant, the Herb Alpert School of Music is dedicated to providing students with academic opportunities that balance cutting-edge scholarship with performance and composition mastery. The previously missing link to this unique musical education experience was a live performance venue with acoustics tuned to providing both students and performing artists with incomparable speech intelligibility and live sound quality.

Lani Hall from rear of auditorium.  Note custom acoustic wall panels and ceiling treatments
Lani Hall from rear of auditorium.  Note custom acoustic wall panels and ceiling treatments

To achieve this goal, Herb Alpert reached out to WSDG founding partner John Storyk. With credits ranging from Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady Studios (1969) to NYC’s Jazz at Lincoln Center and popular Le Poisson Rouge night club and Switzerland’s KKL Luzern Concert Hall, WSDG was an ideal choice for the assignment.

Lani Hall from right rear of auditorium
Lani Hall from right rear of auditorium

The auditorium features custom-designed rear and sidewall perforated wood acoustic treatments. Three innovative, cylindrical wooden ceiling clouds deployed from the proscenium arch to the rear wall crown the stage. Six multi-positional, perforated and slatted wood 12 ft. high, gobos can be arrayed on the stage to ‘tune’ specific ‘variable acoustic’ requirements for spoken word or musical performances required by diverse performing artists and instrumentalists.

Lani Hall stage view to rear of house note acoustic wall & ceiling treatments
Lani Hall stage view to rear of house note acoustic wall & ceiling treatments

“My WSDG partner/co-designer, Matthew Ballos and I engaged 3-D room simulation and auralization software programs to develop wall and ceiling treatments capable of turning a previously dead auditorium environment into one which will serve as a perfectly tuned instrument for superlative musical and spoken word sound distribution,” John Storyk explained.

Every Lani Hall seat is fitted with a built-in desk for student use
Every Lani Hall seat is fitted with a built-in desk for student use

 “I was attracted to the idea of combining forces with the university to create a jewel of a performance space with excellent acoustics for the school’s students, faculty and audiences,” said Alpert, the pioneering musician who started the foundation with Hall. “Lani is the girl of my dreams. I know she does not seek this type of attention, but I was thrilled to surprise her with this recognition of her own artistry and to celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary.”

Pictured right, musician, label exec and co-founder of the Herb Alpert Foundation, Herb Alpert welcomed architect/acoustician and co-founding partner of WSDG, John Storyk to the opening of the new Lani Hall on the UCLA campus
Pictured right, musician, label exec and co-founder of the Herb Alpert Foundation, Herb Alpert welcomed architect/acoustician and co-founding partner of WSDG, John Storyk to the opening of the new Lani Hall on the UCLA campus

In conjunction with the foundation’s gift, UCLA contributed facilities funds toward the theater renovation and to other Schoenberg Hall upgrades, including the renovation of four ensemble rooms similarly designed by WSDG to  be completed by summer 2020.

Lani Hall theater presentation drawing courtesy WSDG
Lani Hall theater presentation drawing courtesy WSDG

"Herb and Lani’s gift is an inspiring example of what we accomplish when visionary philanthropists partner with a public university such as UCLA,” said Eileen Strempel, dean of the school of music. “We are grateful for their generosity, which has transformed this theater into an incredible resource for our students, school and community — a timely asset that amplifies our growing global jazz program and supports the work of all our students and performers.”

 

The completely renovated Lani Hall resides in the Schoenberg Music Building on the UCLA campus
The completely renovated Lani Hall resides in the Schoenberg Music Building on the UCLA campus

 All Lani Hall interior and reception photos by Juan Tallo

For a 2-minute time-lapse video visit Lani Hall Renovation  Video courtesy of The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

About WSDG, LLC

For nearly 50 years, acoustic consulting and A/V integration firm WSDG has designed over 3,000 media production facilities worldwide and counting. Projects range from Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studio and Jazz At Lincoln Center in New York, to broadcast facilities for The Food Network, CBS and WNET, over twenty teaching studios for The Art Institutes, and corporate clients such as Sony, IBM and Novartis. Recent credits include Jungle City in New York, The Church Studio, in London, private studios for Green Day, Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys and Academy Award-nominated film composer Carter Burwell. WSDG has collaborated with such noted architects as Frank Gehry, Philippe Stark, Rafael Viñoly, Santiago Calatrava, Grimshaw, and Norman Foster. An eleven-time winner of the prestigious pro audio NAMM TEC Award for outstanding achievement in Acoustics/Facility Design, WSDG maintains U.S. offices in New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco and Miami and global offices in Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Belo Horizonte, Buenos Aires, Guangzhou, Mexico City and Mumbai.

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