Music hall to be renamed after musical legacy


Simon Estes is a musical legacy that has inspired thousands of students through his performance and teaching. 

Nicole Mattson

The Music Hall is being renamed after Simon Estes, a musical legacy at Iowa State. 

“The music building, opened in 1980, is an exemplary music facility, recognized for its excellent acoustical design,” said Angela Hunt, interim director for Iowa State’s News Service. “There are rooms for large ensemble rehearsals, small ensemble rehearsals, a percussion practice room, an instrument repair facility, practice rooms containing pianos and a recital hall. Large instruments and lockers for instrument storage are available for rental to students performing in ensembles.”

Many large ensemble concerts take place in either the Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall or the internationally acclaimed Stephens Auditorium. The Music Department houses and maintains an electronic music studio, which features a wide range of analog and digital sound synthesis and recording equipment that may be used by students who enroll in composition studies. Additionally, there is a computer lab with MIDI and digital audio workstations.

Estes is an internationally acclaimed opera singer who has performed at the Olympic Games and with artists such as Luciano Pavarotti and Ray Charles.

Estes has brought world-class students to Iowa State’s music department and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Iowa State in 1997.

“Estes is an equally passionate humanitarian and philanthropist who has impacted countless lives in Iowa and around the world,” President Wendy Wintersteen said in a press release. “We are so proud to have an Iowa State building bear his name, ensuring that future generations of Cyclones will know Simon Estes.”

“I’m humbled to have Music Hall named after me and I hope it’s an inspiration for people to work hard,” Estes said in a press release. “You never know what might happen in life, especially being an African American. I grew up with a lot of discrimination and I hope having the building named for me will motivate all young people.”

The naming celebration for Simon Estes Music Hall will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall and is free to all attendees.