Jaharis Recital Hall lit up at night with the Chamber Singers Concert viewable from outside.

A New Home for Music

An addition to Roberts Hall provides a bright, expansive space on campus for teaching, practice, rehearsal, and performance.

Haverford students have long had a broad and enthusiastic engagement with music on campus, but finding the space to explore that passion used to be something of a challenge. The many activities of the busy Music Department were divided between Union Hall and Roberts Hall, limited rehearsal space for campus ensembles was stretched beyond capacity, classrooms were used for lessons and coaching, and student musicians often practiced in basement rooms or backstage instrument storage areas.

No more.

With the completion of a new addition to Roberts Hall, the Music Department now has a beautiful—and centralized—home. The two-story structure, which spans the back of Roberts and extends a glass-walled wing toward Union, houses administrative and faculty offices, practice rooms, a classroom, an expanded music library, and the stunning new Michael Jaharis Recital Hall. With an entry facing Lloyd Green on the upper level, and another on the lower level looking out toward the Duck Pond, the building connects to the campus landscape in a dramatic way and gives the formerly scattered music program a real presence on campus.

The Roberts Hall addition is the work of Boston-based architecture firm William Rawn Associates, which also designed Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood (the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra) and has created recital halls for Penn State University and Bowdoin College, a theatre and dance facility for Williams College, and many other high-profile arts-related projects. Bringing a real Haverford connection to the music building design were Clifford Gayley ’83, the principal architect on the project, and Kevin Bergeron, project architect and a Class of 2023 parent.

According to Richard Freedman, professor of music and chair of the department, the  brainstorming for a transformed music facility began a decade ago. While much of the original wish list has been realized, his favorite part of the design is how it brings the many aspects of music study and music-making together and makes them visible. “For the first time in my 35-plus years at the College, students can now see and hear how the various dimensions of their musical education fit together, from private study to classroom, and from rehearsal to performance,” he says. “They have the benefit of lovely, acoustically flattering and climate-controlled spaces for their music-making, and have access to a superlative music library where they can put their musical ideas in the context of the great traditions from around the world. And above all, we have the Michael Jaharis Recital Hall, with its great acoustics and peerless view. If asked to sum it up, I would say: ‘Together, for the first time, everything you need for a great musical education.’ ”

Join us on a tour of the new space. All photos by Patrick Montero unless otherwise specified.

An aerial view of the new addition on Roberts Hall, which is mostly made of walls of windows.
A light-filled, two-story addition to Roberts Hall now provides an expanded and enhanced home for the Department of Music that includes the new Michael Jaharis Recital Hall, an extensive music library, faculty offices, practice rooms, rehearsal spaces, musical instrument storage, and more.
A grand piano in the middle of Jaharis Recital Hall in front of a wall of windows looking out over green lawns and trees.
The Jaharis Recital Hall and its soaring wall of windows offers a panoramic view of the campus and the Duck Pond. The building can be accessed from Fletcher-Silver Walk, and the nearby Haverford SEPTA station is a five-minute walk from the facility. 
Roberts Hall with its white column entrance to the right with the new, mostly glass addition to the left.
Roberts Hall (right) remains home to Marshall Auditorium, where large concerts are performed.
The Bi-Co Chamber Singers, all wearing masks, stand in a horseshoe formation around the conductor and his piano in front of the wall of windows in the new recital hall.
The new recital hall was conceived as a rehearsal, instructional, and performance space for the Bi-Co Chamber Singers (pictured), Bi-Co Orchestra, Bi-Co Chorale, and chamber ensembles, as well as a place to showcase guest recitalists. 
The seats for the audience in the new recital hall, including permanent blue ones and moveable black ones.
The hall features fixed seating for 80; it has additional flexible seating on the floor and advanced capacities for sound and video recording and multimedia performance. The curtains on the side and back walls can be opened and closed to adjust the acoustics of the room for different types of performances. 
A student wearing a mask looks for a book in the music library.
The Harris Music Library’s collection includes a rich array of scores, chamber music parts, critical and theoretical writings, audio and video recordings, and core reference works. The library also subscribes to digital and streaming collections from around the world, and has audio-video and computer workstations that provide access to those resources, as well as digital tools for music editing and sound recording.
A class of masked students sits around a bright new classroom and Professor Freedman stands at the front of the class near a flat-screen TV and a piano.
Professor of Music and Department Chair Richard Freedman teaches his “Thinking About Music: Ideas, History, and Musicology” course in the music facility classroom, which can accommodate 35 students. Photo by Holden Blanco ’17.
The inside of the practice space with a piano and a mirror.
One of the five practice rooms, each with a piano, that are located on the first level of the Roberts Hall addition along with the music library, a quiet reading room, and administrative offices. Also on this level: a quartet rehearsal space with two pianos. 
Professor Arauco sits at her desk wearing a mask. Her desk is next to a baby grand piano and also features chairs in a sitting area.
Professor of Music Ingrid Arauco in one of the new faculty offices, which all feature pianos. 
Three tables with comfortable chairs fill the atrium which also features bar seating against its wall of windows.
The Allen C. Fisher 1959 Atrium is the central meeting ground for musical study at Haverford, serving as a lobby for audiences for Jaharis Recital Hall concerts and linking the hall to practice rooms, faculty offices, the adjacent Marshall Auditorium, and the Harris Music Library (for which it serves as the casual reading room). Outside, a patio with seating offers great views.
A catwalk in the upper floor of the new addition overlooks the atrium and is filled with light from the surrounding windows.
The upper-level entrance to the two-story addition (which faces Lloyd Green) features a catwalk overlooking the atrium and connects to a backstage entry to Marshall Auditorium and to a window-lined hallway where faculty offices are located. From the walkway, a staircase descends to the lobby/reading room and the entrance to the Jaharis Recital Hall.
A two story wall of windows is the outside view of the new recital hall.
The multi-story wall of windows in the Jaharis Recital Hall looks out over Barclay Beach toward the Duck Pond.

Where do buildings come from? To keep tuition as low as possible, Haverford’s operating budget isn’t structured to accommodate major building projects. The College relies on philanthropy to sustain, innovate, and grow our programs and facilities. A gift to the College made by the widow of Charles Roberts, Class of 1864, supported the construction of Roberts Hall in 1903. Its recent renovation and expansion was 100 percent funded by the generosity of alumni, families, and friends.

Read more from the fall 2021 issue of Haverford magazine.