A Crown Jewel for Musical Performance and Scholarship // Latest News // College of Arts and Humanities // University of Notre Dame

O’Neill Hall, on the south side of Notre Dame Stadium, is the new home of Notre Dame’s music department and sacred music program.

Informally, the 175-seat LaBar Family Recital Hall inside Notre Dame’s O’Neill Hall is known as the “Jewel Box” due to its elegant, classic design and intimate size. .

But in fact, all of O’Neill Hall is a jewel box – cleverly and beautifully designed as a home for students and faculty, performers and instruments in Notre Dame’s Department of Music and Sacred Music (SMND) program ) of the University.

“The many attractive features of O’Neill Hall are too numerous to list,” said Peter Smith, professor of music theory and head of the department. “Exquisite performance spaces and an overall design that supports a community of scholarship and learning will make O’Neill a magnet for the most in-demand visiting artists and scholars, the most thought-provoking lectures and performances, and outstanding students and teachers. ”

LaBar Family Performance Hall at O'Neill HallThe LaBar Family Performance Hall is taking shape inside O’Neill Hall.

The seven-story, 100,000-square-foot building on the south side of Notre Dame Stadium was made possible by a donation to the University from Helen Schwab and her husband Charles, in honor of her brother, a former student of Notre-Dame and administrator Joseph I. O’Neill III.

It also includes the innovative 175-seat LaBar Family Performance Hall – a multi-purpose venue that offers flexible seating and staging options and will host events involving music in combination with other media, such as projected texts and visual images, and other forms of artistic expression. , such as acting, lighting and dancing.

In addition to performance spaces, O’Neill Hall includes a music library, studio production lab, lecture hall, classrooms and rehearsal spaces, numerous practice rooms, and faculty offices for the music department and the rapidly growing SMND program.

“I am thrilled and gratified that Notre Dame has made this commitment to sacred music, which fits so naturally with the University and its mission,” said Margot Fassler, SMND Director and Keough-Hesburgh Professor of History at music and liturgy. “A well-equipped space was the missing piece in our program, and this building provides exactly what we need.”

The first floor of O'Neill HallA hallway on the first floor of O’Neill Hall.

Not only does O’Neill Hall nearly quadruple the space available for Notre Dame’s Department of Music and Sacred Music program – from 9,000 to 34,000 square feet – but it also offers sophisticated acoustic design, sound isolation and climate control throughout the building.

“Our teaching and research missions will flourish in an environment designed with great care by the architects,” said Smith. “In every room of O’Neill Hall, students and faculty will hear only what they need to hear — the music they study in that space. Temperature and humidity will also remain at constant levels, ideal for musical instruments.

“The change will be transformational for scholarship, performance, pedagogy and instrument care.”

Among these instruments are four organs and 55 pianos, including a Steinway 9-foot concert grand, three 7-foot grand pianos, and 11 upright pianos purchased for the new building and valued at over $600,000.

At the center of the third floor is the Music Library and its diverse collection of resources – a gathering space envisioned as the heart of O’Neill Hall. Its lounge spaces and study areas will host informal interactions between students and faculty coming out of classrooms and rehearsal rooms.

Entrance to O'Neill HallThe entrance to O’Neill Hall, a seven-story, 100,000 square foot building housing performance and rehearsal spaces, classrooms and a music library.

The library, in keeping with the other interiors of O’Neill Hall, has been carefully designed with wide, curved surfaces, collaborative spaces and the latest technology.

But the real beauty of the building, Fassler said, is how it reflects the vision of the two university programs it houses.

“O’Neill Hall reflects what music and sacred music is and how we work. There is room for performers and room for scholars, and room for all of us to come together,” Fassler said. “When architecture is done well, it supports and proclaims your mission. And that’s what this building will do.