Yale, NYU, Northwestern and Brown.
These may be some of the finest institutions of higher education in our nation; however, California State University Northridge (CSUN) has them beat.
In a recent Best College Ranking’s article “The 25 Most Amazing College Campus Theaters”, CSUN’s Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) outranked venues at a variety of premier universities across the country.
And it’s no wonder.
When the 166,000 square foot facility, which includes a 1,700-seat main concert hall, opened in January 2011, it came with a price tag of $125 million.
Beyond the 30,000 square feet of glass and the 6 million individual stone tiles on the building’s exterior, what’s inside ought to be wowing audiences.
No doubt the acoustics in the main hall, aka the Great Hall, are noteworthy. Add to this a line-up of outstanding entertainment, and the resultant sum should equal spectacular.
With the 2014-2015 season now underway, audiences have the opportunity to choose from more than 40 performances covering a wide spectrum of music, dance and theatre. Among the many highlights of the season is the Latin music series that begins this October with Mexican ranchera singer Paquita la del Barrio and Brasil Guitar Duo, and will later feature Mariachi Vargas in December, Tango Buenos Aires in January, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico in March.
Hoping to steer VPAC to success is its newest executive director Thor Steingraber, who took the helm this past March. Besides building upon the base of patrons who already attend performances at VPAC, among his goals is to attract new audience members and to strengthen VPAC’s role as a trailblazer in the performing arts.
Hailing most recently from The Music Center, where he served as the vice president for programming, Steingraber’s illustrious past includes working around the world, as an opera and theater director. Also armed with a Master Degree in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School, Steingraber can combine his practical artistic insight with his theoretical knowledge to insure his goals are accomplished.
Although VPAC’s 2014-2015 season was for the most set when Steingraber arrived, it is the next season that really has him enthused, since it can be considered his brainchild. Regarding upcoming jazz presentations for the 2015-2016 season, Steingraber said, “I am thinking about jazz musicians who can curate a series of concerts that have a common theme or pay tribute to a series of legacy jazz artists who are interrelated. This requires producing even more than presenting these programs,”
Steingraber predicts VPAC’s next season will be even more appealing than this year’s, but mum’s the word as to who will in the line-up, until contracts are officially finalized.
Still, this season promises to present a diverse cross-section of the arts and offers audience- goers a variety of options in terms of ticket subscriptions and/or single ticket purchases.
Purchasing a subscription package can provide substantial savings, but there are several other ways that CSUN-affiliated patrons can save big money.
CSUN students, as well as CSUN faculty and staff (with valid IDs), may purchase two tickets per school year at a 40% discount and a 20% discount, respectively.
Patrons from CSUN can also take advantage of special RUSH ticket pricing (based on ticket availability) beginning seven days prior to a performance, at which time students can purchase one or two tickets at $12 each. (Faculty and staff can enjoy RUSH ticket prices of between $14 and $17 each.)
Adding other amenities such as pre-paid intermission concessions, valet parking and pre-paid parking are all meant to enhance audiences’ experiences, and of course, keep them coming back for more.
(Valley Performing Arts Center is located at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330)