The Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center (WPAC) opened in 1996 after Dr. Herbert Wertheim and his wife Nicole made gifts of more than $1 million to the University’s music, theatre, and dance programs. It houses the FIU School of Music and the FIU Department of Theatre and is considered to be one of Miami’s premier collegiate concert and performance venues featuring world class musicians, faculty, students, and guest performers. These performances take place in the beautiful 600 seat concert hall, with smaller events held in the more intimate 100 seat recital hall. The performing arts center also houses practice rooms, instrumental rehearsal halls, computer music studios, faculty teaching studios, an organ studio containing a two-manual Schlicker practice pipe organ, the Sydell Ida Wertheim Organ, and a variety of early music instruments including viols, lutes, and a harpsichord.
The School of Music uses the 585 seat concert hall as its main concert venue for large ensemble performances, full-scale opera productions, faculty recitals, and guest artist appearances. Most of the School’s faculty and student ensembles present concerts each year including FIU’s Ensemble-in-Residence the Amernet String Quartet, the FIU Symphony Orchestra, the FIU Wind Ensemble, various jazz ensembles, and large choral ensembles. It is professionally equipped with a 40-foot retractable screen, a Panasonic projection system, exceptional acoustics, and state-of-the-art lighting.
The Sydell Ida Wertheim Organ is the spotlight of the performing arts center. The prestigious 125 year old Schantz Organ Company took nearly a year to build the 26-ton organ that is the largest in Southeast and one of the most technologically advanced in the country. It features a solid-oak console with four manual keyboards and a pedal clavier that controls its 4,255 pipes. Just as the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center was made possible through the generosity of Herbert and Nicole Wertheim, so has their kindness made FIU the recipient of this exceptional instrument. In gratitude, the university dedicated the concert organ to the memory of Dr. Herbert Wertheim’s mother, Sydell Ida Wertheim, who passed away in 1997.
The instrumental hall provides an educational space for events including festivals, forums, lectures, and master classes. It has hosted many famed guest artists, our Festival of Bands/Strings/ and Jazz Bands, our Arts@FIU Day, and a variety of other outreach programs.
The recital hall is the ideal space for student recitals, lectures, luncheons, small ceremonies, and rehearsals. The hall accommodates 100 guests and is equipped with warm lighting, high ceilings, and outstanding acoustics.