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WYSO Announces Plans to Construct New Center for Music

June 15, 2021

The Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) announced plans to construct a new $25 million building in the 1100 block of East Washington Avenue in Madison, Wisconsin.

The new music center will continue WYSO’s vision to expand instrumental music education and performance opportunities for young people of diverse backgrounds and inspire excellence and a lifelong connection to music. More than 500 young musicians from communities throughout southern Wisconsin currently participate in WYSO’s programs. This 500% growth in student numbers, since the organization’s founding, is driving the need for facilities large enough to support both the organization’s programs and its broader mission of providing transformational musical experiences and opportunities.

The purchase of the property and the kick-off of WYSO’s capital campaign have been made possible by two lead gifts totaling $18 million from Pleasant Rowland and Jerry Frautschi, who have long been supporters of the organization.


The planned 40,000 sq. ft. building will provide state-of-the-art rehearsal spaces sized for full orchestras, a room designed for percussion including a world class array of percussion instruments; rehearsal rooms perfect for ensembles and chamber music; a piano laboratory; and small teaching studios for private lessons. The building will hold all of WYSO’s current orchestra and Music Makers programs, administrative offices, a music library— and provide opportunity to grow.

Since fall of 2020, the organization has been without a home base and has pieced out its program in different facilities throughout the Madison area. This new building will allow all of WYSO’s programs to thrive under a single roof and provide the space, location, resources, and connections necessary for WYSO to become a key collaborator in a growing youth arts community. WYSO’s new home will be around the corner from the newly-constructed Madison Youth Arts (My Arts), creating a vibrant youth arts synergy on the near-east side. Located on a major transit corridor for easy access, the building will be in proximity to area performing arts venues, with space for WYSO’s programs and community events.

According to WYSO’s Executive Director Bridget Fraser, “Thanks to the incredible generosity of Pleasant Rowland and Jerry Frautschi, musicians of all ages will have state-of-the-art rehearsal facilities to call home. It’s a dream come true!”

WYSO has partnered with Urban Assets, city planners with experience in real estate development; Strang, an integrated architecture, engineering, interior design, and planning firm with a history of designing for the civic + cultural sector; Talaske Sound, experts in architectural acoustics; and J.H. Findorff & Son, a local construction firm passionate about youth education and the arts.

Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra
WYSO Music Makers