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Dean’s Message

Realizing Our Hopes

Published fall 2015

Dean Cyrus C. Taylor. Photo by Daniel Milner.

Dean Cyrus C. Taylor. Photo by Daniel Milner.

When I began teaching at Case Western Reserve in 1988, it didn’t take me long to recognize the vital role of the performing arts in the life of this university. As an assistant professor, I served as the advisor for first-year physics majors, and I discovered that many of them were accomplished musicians, making time for orchestra or band rehearsals despite their demanding schedules. I also learned that the quality of our music programs had done much to persuade these students to attend Case Western Reserve. They could have chosen other universities with excellent physics departments. But there weren’t many places where they could find both the caliber of physics and the outstanding musical opportunities available on our campus.

Until this fall, however, there was one thing we didn’t offer our students—a performance venue that fully honored their talent and dedication, an architecturally significant space that qualified as a work of art in its own right. With the opening of Silver Hall, Phase One in the creation of the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple–Tifereth Israel, our hopes for such a space have been realized. The inaugural concert on Sept. 27 took place more than five years after the Maltzes announced an extraordinary gift to support the Temple’s transformation into a unified home for our performing arts departments—music, theater and dance. The occasion was all the more impressive because it marked the beginning of “Violins of Hope” in Cleveland, a series of concerts, lectures and exhibitions involving seven major cultural and educational institutions, including Case Western Reserve.

In the years leading up to this event, I had reviewed countless architectural renderings and acoustical simulations. But when I was in the hall that afternoon, hearing The Cleveland Orchestra play the first notes of a Beethoven overture, I felt a sense of wonder that none of that analytical work had prepared me for. As large as Silver Hall is, with its 80-foot dome and seating for nearly 1,000 people when the stage is fully extended, its design makes it an amazingly intimate space. As a venue for our students and for the broader community, it will be an invaluable asset for the next century.

In this issue of art/sci, we celebrate Silver Hall’s auspicious beginning, including the debuts of three student ensembles this past October. As we continue our planning and fundraising for Phase Two, we eagerly await the day when we can announce the Maltz Center premieres of dance and theater productions as well.

Our performing arts departments owe their success both to our remarkable students and to the superb faculty members who teach and inspire them. As I have often said, in this magazine and elsewhere, it was the faculty’s devotion to students that attracted me to Case Western Reserve in the first place. For current examples, I invite you to read in this issue about our Active Learning Fellows and Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellows. These stories remind us of the creativity and commitment with which the College of Arts and Sciences fulfills its educational mission.

Cyrus C. Taylor
Dean and Albert A. Michelson Professor in Physics

Page last modified: November 17, 2015