The Conservatory of Music is the nerve center of daily musical life at Winthrop University. It houses offices for faculty, staff, graduate assistants, student practice rooms, classrooms, a Flemish single-manual harpsichord by Kingston, a 5-stop tracker pipe organ by Angerstein, vocal and instrumental rehearsal spaces, the Department of Music Offices, and the Frances May Barnes Recital Hall.
The Frances May Barnes Recital Hall, named for a 1915 alumna, is a 200-seat venue that is ideal for vocal and instrumental chamber music. It includes a 10-stop, two-manual tracker pipe organ by Kney, a state-of-the-art sound system and smart classroom equipment that supports presentations and lectures utilizing all audio/video formats and internet-based presentations.
Byrnes Auditorium was named for James F. Byrnes, former governor of South Carolina and U.S. Secretary of State. While a U.S. senator, Byrnes arranged for Works Project Administration funds to be used with matching state funds to construct three buildings: the auditorium, Thurmond Building, and Macfeat Nursery School.
Byrnes exemplifies the monumental architectural style prevalent in Depression-era public buildings. Byrnes has a seating capacity of 3,500 making it well suited for concerts or special events. Within the auditorium is the four-manual David Bancroft Johnson Memorial Organ, an Aeolian-Skinner, finished and signed by G. Donald Harrison in 1955. It was totally renovated in 2009 by Orgues Létourneau of Quebec, Canada. Appraised today at $1.5 million, it has served as a model instrument for many church and civic spaces throughout the South.
Byrnes has hosted several of the worlds finest musicians and performing organizations, including the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Boy Choir, the Harlem Boy Choir, Artur Rubenstein, Joan Sutherland, Count Basie, Woody Herman, and Dave Brubeck. In addition, each year Byrnes hosts the South Carolina All-State Chorus, which features performances by two all-state choruses and clinics by nationally recognized artists.
The Winthrop University Computer Music Laboratory is located in Dacus Library, and the Department of Music Electric Piano Laboratory is located in Central Energy building.