The Cook Recital Hall at the Music Building

Provost Kim Wilcox, Associate Professor of Voice Melanie Helton, Trustee Joel Ferguson, President Lou Anna K. Simon, Dee and Byron Cook, student Kimberly Wren and Dean James Forger cut the ribbon for the new facility.


Cook Recital Hall at the Music Building, dedicated in October, brings the performance facilities of the College of Music to a world-class level. The hall bears the name of lead donors to the $5 million renovation project, Byron (’54, Natural Science) and Dolores (’54, Communication Arts and Sciences) Cook, from Greenville, Michigan, longtime friends and supporters of MSU and the College of Music. Dolores (Dee) Cook served as MSU Trustee for 16 years. Both of the Cooks are charter members of the College of Music National Leadership Council.

Formerly called the Music Building Auditorium, extensive renovations brought the space in line with the professional performance standards of the 21st century. Plans developed by a national team of architects and acousticians were put into place over the past six months to create an environment that significantly enhances the quality of the listening experience and delivers greater comfort to patrons.

Cook Recital Hall will be at the heart of performance life in the College of Music, used for student rehearsals and recitals, faculty concerts and master classes by visiting guest artists. The extensive renovation includes new seating, acoustical treatments, the installation of air conditioning and improved heating and ventilation systems, state-of-the-art audio/visual capabilities, new lighting and warm wood finishes throughout.

“It’s an enormous step for the college,” says Dee Cook, “and Byron and I are just thrilled to be a part of that step. I just invite everybody to come and share the joy of the performances and share the beauty of this brand new facility. Through their extraordinary performances, the students and faculty of the College of Music provide a window to the quality of the whole university.”

Music at MSU has grown dramatically in quality and reputation over the past 20 years. Today, the College of Music, comprised of 75 faculty, serves 650 music majors from 35 states and 25 countries, 2,000 non-majors and 2,500 learners of all ages in Community Music Schools in East Lansing and Detroit. The college offers more than 300 performances annually.