New England Conservatory opens new dorm, performance space

New England Conservatory Student Life and Performance Center.
Peter Vanderwarker/New England Conservatory
New England Conservatory Student Life and Performance Center.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined the New England Conservatory as it opened a new residential and performance space Thursday morning at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the new building.

The Student Life and Performance Center offers conservatory students a living space with more than 250 beds on seven floors, doubling on-campus housing options for freshmen and sophomores, Walsh said at the ceremony.

The building includes a new library, a dining hall, a commons, an opera studio, an orchestra rehearsal room, a large ensemble room, and a black box theater.


“The Student Life and Performance Center joins NEC’s landmark Jordan Hall in providing the spaces where exceptional talent and artistry are supported, encouraged, and nurtured,” said Thomas Novak, the interim president of the college.

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“The neighborhood is also excited . . . that some of these young students will not be living in a three-family house in the neighborhood,” Walsh joked.

The conservatory’s new building is a step in the right direction for Boston, Walsh said, as it will draw new talent to the city and make the arts more accessible for people across a wide range of demographics.

“The arts scene in Boston is getting better and better every day. A lot of your talent that’s here, whether you come from LA or you come from Boston or wherever you come from, we want to say thank you for choosing Boston,” Walsh said, addressing the large group of conservatory students at the ceremony.

Darynn Dean, a junior studying vocal jazz performance and a resident of the new building, said she’s looking forward to enjoying the white floors, comfortable couches, and new amenities the school will offer, all within steps of her dorm room.


“The creation of the Student Life and Performance Center is now positioned to be an extraordinary help for NEC,” she said at the ceremony.

“It will transform the life of the NEC community,” she added.

Dean said she’s sad to leave her previous dorm at 33 Gainsborough St. behind, but she is not sad about leaving the rats that lived there with her.

“Do me a favor,” said Kennett F. Burnes, chairman of the school’s board of trustees.

“If you see a rat in this building, give me a call.”

Alyssa Meyers can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ameyers_.