Awful sight: Music building burns on silent US campus

Awful sight: Music building burns on silent US campus


norman lebrecht

April 20, 2020

The Moody Music Building on the University of Alabama campus is on fire.

The cause was a lightning strike and the damage is said to be extensive.

The Frank Moody Music Building, has a 1,000-seat concert hall modelled on Vienna’s Musikvereinsaal, with a Holtkamp organ standing three stories high. It was inaugurated in December 1987 with a concert by Marilyn Horne and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

The school of music’s director Skip Snead has posted an update on the fire here.


  • Reuben says:

    it’s just a building – such things can be re-built – lives lost cannot – given current world events, let’s keep this in perspective.

  • Ron Swanson says:

    So they have the Moody Blues……..

  • Seriously says:

    Yes, whatever will we do without more music graduates from the University of Alabama??? What about all the beginning violin students who were waiting for lessons from unemployable UA graduates? Will they have to get their violin lessons from unemployable graduates from ANOTHER conservatory? Oh no!

  • Mick the Knife says:

    They have a beautiful hall, a good orchestra, and solid music department in Tuscaloosa. Best of luck to them!

  • A lightning strike.

    If only someone could invent an inexpensive way to capture the energy of the lightning at the top of the building, divert it down the side of the structure and dissipate it into the ground.

    If someone could figure that out, they’d be famous.

    • The View from America says:


    • Vaquero357 says:

      Good point, Robert: didn’t Benjamin Franklin invent the lightning rod ~250 years ago?? My mom’s uncle the dairy farmer had a bit row of them along the peak of the roof on his classic Big Red Barn….. Seems an odd way to lose a building in 2020. Let’s hope they had it well insured and can replace it!

  • Saddened Reader says:

    I’ve been an on-and-off reader of Lebrecht’s blog for a decade or more. But about a year ago I stopped because the comments section is so full of hate and misery. I popped in here today because I have friends who teach at UofAlabama and I was interested in the news. But these comments are such garbage that I won’t be back again for a long while.

    Norman, you need to clean this stuff up. I’m sure you feel like it’s an honest debate, or it’s driving engagement or some such, but it’s also driven me away.