The Fisher Center at Belmont University is a new $183 million-dollar multifunctional performing arts center that completes the performing arts district along Belmont Boulevard. Moreover, the venue promises ultimate adaptability with design features that make it a perfect fit for a wide variety—from classical, Christian, Broadway and rock n’ roll to intricate broadcast tapings. At 150,000 square feet, the Fisher Center is home to performance areas, rehearsal spaces and a stunning lobby that’s nearly the length of a football field, creating a multi-purpose venue that can be utilized for nearly any type of performance or meeting.
The sophisticated and elegant performance hall is the crown jewel of the facility. Fashioned after traditional European opera houses, the hall is acoustically designed to provide an exquisite listening experience. An acoustically transparent domed ceiling, constructed of ornate plaster and metal grillwork, allows sound to travel up into the attic volume before being diffused, or absorbed, depending upon the nature of the event. Variable acoustic system within the hall includes curtains placed in wall pockets that can be deployed to manage audio needs, or literally tune the room, for different events. The hall features four floors of seating and holds 1,727 patrons at capacity.
The Fisher Center’s Grand Foyer invites guests into a sweeping, three-story space sure to make a lasting impression. Set upon a floor displaying an Alaska White/Dakota Mahogany necklace featuring glittering Cerulean blue jewel tones, the foyer is capable of holding up to 900 guests and designed to host elegant banquets, galas and special events. Adjacent to the main Grand Foyer space are two ballrooms—the Brad and Kimberly Williams-Paisley Ballroom and the South Ballroom. The ballrooms can be cordoned off for intimate receptions or opened to increase the size of the Grand Foyer. (The Foyer itself can seat approximately 500 at a seated dinner and can be expanded to 900 by incorporating the neighboring ballrooms.)
Designed by local architectural firm ESa, the venue is framed with fluted Corinthian columns and double height clear art glass windows. The drama of the overall architecture is complemented by three 30-foot pendant chandeliers in golden tones that perfectly accompany the blue pearl granite features throughout the grand foyer. At night, the light glinting off of the fixtures can be seen through the windows on Belmont Boulevard, reflecting onto the side of the building.
Situated within two miles of downtown Nashville, the Fisher Center also offers its guests an abundance of nearby amenities with ample restaurant choices in the Belmont Boulevard, Hillsboro Village and 12 South neighborhoods. In addition, convenient parking is available as the venue is bordered by both the Curb Event Center garage and the South garage, collectively able to hold more than 1,600 vehicles.
Music Veteran Chaz Corzine was appointed as Executive Director in February and is executing a vision to make Fisher Center the best performance venue on any college campus in the world. He said, “Having had the privilege of visiting literally hundreds of venues in my professional career, I can honestly say that the Fisher Center is the greatest combination of classic beauty and cutting-edge functionality of any Performing Arts Center – anywhere. The learning opportunities for the students at Belmont are limitless and the quality of shows that the public will see here combine to make the Fisher Center a gift from Belmont to the Nashville community.”
Corzine has worked in the entertainment industry for decades in tour promotion, event production and artist management, working with Christian singers Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant, as well as supporting the careers of gospel artist CeCe Winans and ice skater/author/speaker Scott Hamilton. Those who have worked with Chaz Corzine sing his praises. Amy Grant said, “Everything about Chaz’s personality and character are perfect for this job. He is a natural networker and has friends in every area of entertainment – music, sports, racing… He will give the same respect and consideration to the middle-aged usher as he will the artist standing center stage. Belmont is lucky to have him.”
Thanks to Corzine’s extensive connections in Nashville and beyond, along with the ambitious vision Belmont’s leadership has for the hall, the Fisher Center is on a path to make a significant impact in the performing arts and beyond. University President Dr. Greg Jones noted, “The beauty and performance capabilities of the Fisher Center are simply unmatched, and its possibilities are unparalleled. From inspiring audiences with globally – minded performances to celebrating our students’ talents onstage and behind the scenes to serving Middle Tennessee through partnerships and programs, the Fisher Center offers unlimited potential. This venue will equip students with the confidence and real-world experiences that set them apart as Belmont graduates while also attracting world-renowned artists to share their immense talents with our campus and the local community.”
The Fisher Center is named in honor of retired Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher and his wife Judy, who have been long-time advocates for the arts. Traces of Fisher’s legacy can be seen in the intricate details of the building. At the center of the aforementioned dome ceiling design is a ten-foot-wide medallion with fiber optic night-sky lighting details, showcasing the star formation from the day of Fisher’s inauguration as President of Belmont University back in 2000. Icons of bees, roses, trees and fountains can be seen in the columns as a nod to Bob and Judy Fisher’s passion for conservation and the beehives on the top of the Ayers Academic Center. The front area of the center is named Dickens Plaza for the former Board of Trustees Chairman Marty Dickens and his wife Betty.
The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors in September of 2021, and in February of 2022, the Belmont’s Department of Theatre and Dance put on the first student performance, and one of their largest shows ever produced, “Peter and the Starcatcher.” The center’s state of the art theatrical equipment allowed for incredible adaptability, with an extendable orchestra pit, two additional lifts, and cutting-edge rigging and lighting in the main hall.
Last fall, the department put on a production of Broadway-favorite “42nd Street.” Caroline Eiseman, a then-senior who played the lead role of Peggy, described her time there as a gift. “Through the Fisher Center, we are finally going to be able to pull off some of those bigger shows that weren’t possible before and get to see the full picture of the talent of our students.” Now graduated, Caroline’s Fisher Center experience helped catapult her into quick success as a new alum–she recently announced that she will be joining the upcoming North American tour of Hairspray.
Since its dedication one year ago, the venue has already experienced a multitude of incredible performances. From special invitation-only events with alumnus Brad Paisley and a masterclass for students with Garth Brooks and alumna Trisha Yearwood, to a summer from the Nashville Ballet and a Nashville Opera season-ending performance of Richard Wagner’s masterwork “Das Rheingold.”
The upcoming fall semester alone is set to provide a wide range of performers. This September, Belmont alumnus Cody Fry is bringing his new sold-out show “Cody Fry & Friends: Live with Symphony Orchestra,” while comedian Tim Hawkins is set to perform in November. The Fisher Center will have an incredible lineup of events throughout the holiday season, including a ticketed performance of the signature “Christmas at Belmont” event, a touring production of Broadway musical Anastasia and a live show of the beloved “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
In addition, Corzine added, “Some of the most exciting things that take place at the Fisher Center are student productions and concerts. Our hope is this beautiful facility will provide an opportunity for friends in the Belmont neighborhood to see the type of world-class productions that the Belmont students produce.”
To view a complete list of upcoming events or to buy tickets, please visit thefishercenter.com. Here is what’s next at the Fisher Center:
Cody Fry on September 22
Chonda Pierce on October 16
Anastasia, The New Broadway Musical on November 1
Tim Hawkins on November 13
A Birth of a King on December 6
A Charlie Brown Christmas on December 9
Christmas with Michael W. Smith on December 15
Zach Williams on December 17
April Hefner, Associate Vice President Of Marketing and Communications at Belmont University – belmont.edu