The Bard College Conservatory of Music has received a generous $9.2 million gift from Bard alumnus László Z. Bitó, class of 1960, for the construction of The László Z. Bitó ’60 Conservatory Building. This state-of-the-art teaching and performance facility addresses the growing needs of the Conservatory, brought on by its fivefold growth since its founding in 2005. With an anticipated completion date of January 2013, the building is scheduled to begin construction in October. The design of the building, by Deborah Berke & Partners Architects, supports the Conservatory’s dedication to providing top-level musical training in the context of a liberal arts education. More project description after the break.
Robert Martin, director of The Bard College Conservatory of Music, says, “My colleagues and I, and the students of the Conservatory, are thrilled beyond words with this gift, and deeply grateful to Mr. Bitó and his wife, Olivia Carino, for their generosity and for their belief in us. The László Z. Bitó ’60 Conservatory Building will make a difference in our work and our life every day.”
The performance space of The László Z. Bitó ’60 Conservatory Building, a 145-seat hall that can be configured in a variety of ways, allows students to reimagine the traditional concert space. It also features one-touch audio and video recording, as well as live-streaming capability. The building contains 15 teaching studios and a lounge, along with a large classroom that can also be used for audio and video recording. The project uses geothermal wells and heat pumps and follows Bard’s environmental best-practice standards.
In addition to their generous gift, Mr. Bitó and his wife, Olivia Carino, have been actively involved in helping the Conservatory recruit gifted students from Hungary. This year, the Conservatory has enrolled 20 young musicians from Hungary. In recognition of the enthusiasm and support of the Bitós, six Conservatory students from Hungary have been designated as “Bitó Scholars.” Furthermore, in 2009, the Bitós gave a $1.7 million gift towards the establishment of an endowment for the undergraduate program of the Conservatory. At that time, Mr. Bitó wrote: “It is my pleasure to support the budding conservatory program of Bard, remembering the support I received from the college that started my academic career.”