We began our concert series in 2000 within the Rapp-Owen Granary, a lovely home for the world class music we have brought over the years to New Harmony. The five-story National Historic Landmark was constructed in 1818. Beautifully restored, the large sandstone, brick, and wood building had hosted many uses since the early 19th century, including being a corn and flour mill, a warehouse, a scientific laboratory, and a museum.
As Under the Beams began using the upstairs hall as a concert venue, on the heels of the dedication concert presented there by the Evansville Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, it was found to be a unique and intimate space for the performances, especially with the acoustics that Maestro Alfred Savia had compared to that of early European concert halls. Van Cliburn Piano Competition winners, string ensembles, IVIC winners, and traditional and contemporary musicians from around the globe were engaged for the Under the Beams presentations. The venue remained our Under the Beams home until 2013. Most every seat at every performance in the Granary was filled and a larger, new home was offered during New Harmony’s Bicentennial Celebration year in 2014 – Murphy Auditorium.
Murphy Auditorium’s construction was commissioned for New Harmony’s Centennial Celebration of 1914. In 1911, the Working Men’s Institute purchased a lot adjacent to their museum and library with the purpose of building an auditorium. This project was funded through the Dr. Edward Murphy fund. Today, the University of Southern Indiana’s Murphy Auditorium offers excellent space for conferences, concerts, lectures, and is home to the University’s New Harmony Theatre Summer Season as well as winter’s Under the Beams Concert Series and the recent Global Crossroads Music and Cultural Festival Concert. The venue contains an additional 150 comfortable, audience seats over the Granary’s 200 seats, as well as a dedicated box office, multiple restrooms & drinking fountains, beautiful dressing rooms, a greenroom for the guest artists, a curtained stage with a lifted orchestra pit, and the beautiful Steinway piano that Under the Beams procured through fundraising while under the non-profit umbrella of the New Harmony Artists Guild. Along with the 2014 move to Murphy Auditorium, Under the Beams finally incorporated and became its own 501c3 organization. New Harmony organizations that helped along the way to our independence were NHAG, Red Geranium Enterprises, Rapp Granary – Owen Foundation, Harmonie Associates, and University of Southern Indiana/Historic New Harmony, to all of which we are grateful. Our new home in Murphy Auditorium allows us to seat a larger audience, offer our artists a more professional hospitality arrangement, and the honor of utilizing a lovely hall made and restored for the high caliber performances we present.
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