Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music is one of the best in the nation. They have trained over 15,000 alumni around the world, they have one of only two major organ departments in the country, and the Jacobs Harp Department is the largest in the world. Just like the education, the performance halls of the Jacobs School are equally incredible and are open to the public. Let's take a behind the scenes tour of their three performance halls that host artists throughout the year. 

"The school has... one of the best opera houses in the world." - The New York Times

Musical Arts Center

musical arts center

The Jacobs School offers more than 1,100 performances, including 7 fully staged operas each year. Most visitors and locals are likely most familiar with the Musical Arts Center (MAC), as the larger stage productions happen here. Since its opening in 1972 predates the formation of all other Midwest regional opera companies except the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the MAC became a magnet for opera audiences throughout the Midwest. 

Designed by Woollen Associates of Indianapolis, the MAC broke ground in the late 1960s and the first performance, Don Giovanni, took the stage on January 29, 1972. The Musical Arts Center is a unique example of Brutalism, a style that was popularized in Europe and was often the preferred style for government buildings. Like the MAC, these buildings were designed with modular elements repeating and typically made out of concrete. They are a stark contrast from previous architectural styles like the opulent Beaux-Arts style seen in the Monroe County Courthouse

If you've never been in the space or seen a show here, it is a hidden gem in the Midwest for the performing arts. The MAC seats over 1,000 and has the second-largest stage area in the country, second only to the Metropolitan Opera. It's an enormous 10 stories high and 90 feet wide. They also have a full time set design and costume crew that create custom sets and costumes for each performance.

If you love opera and ballet, make sure to bookmark our events calendar so you're in the know about all of the incredible productions that happen right here in Bloomington. Scroll through the photos to see our behind the scenes tour. 


Auer Hall

Aer Hall

Located in the Simon Music Center, Auer Hall is immediately impressive with its 400 seats, coffered ceilings, and terraces. The Jacobs School of Music's Harp department is the largest in the world, so it should come as no surprise that the Seward Organ is the highlight of Auer Hall. The organ as almost 4,000 pipes ranging in size from smaller than a pencil to 32 feet long. There are performances here all year long and are open to the public. 


Ford-Crawford Hall

ford hall

With only 100 seats, Ford-Crawford Hall is the most intimate of the performance halls at IU Jacobs' School. This hall is designed for solo recitals and chamber music performances. This is as close as you can possibly get to a private concert on campus.