Inspiration. Every day.

Providing students with a state-of-the-art rehearsal space as well as a 255-seat concert hall, the Roy Barnett Recital Hall is a place of inspiration.

Nearly every day of the week it is occupied with student recitals, ensemble programs and performances by faculty, alumni and guest artists. But it’s not just the venue that is inspiring. The story behind its renovation is an equally inspiring story reflecting one UBC alumnus’ passion for music.

Twenty years after he retired, Roy Barnett (BCom ’61) was determined to play the piano. At 72, he enrolled at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Today, Barnett plays a range of classical music which includes some Beethoven sonatas, Bach preludes and fugues, and Chopin etudes. His love of music also led him, with the full support of his wife, Gunilla, to make a gift of $2 million dollars to the UBC School of Music, part of which was used to renovate the space previously known simply as the Recital Hall.

Thanks to Roy and Gunilla, the former Recital Hall has undergone extensive renovations, including enhanced acoustics, new audiovisual equipment, updated aesthetics, and increased accessibility. The enlarged and reconfigured stage has improved the acoustics of students’ performances and allows audience members to benefit from a more intimate experience with the musicians.


“I felt that the opportunity to fund the renewal of the Recital Hall was an exciting and very effective way to give back to the community.”

Roy Barnett


Equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, it encourages the development of electro-acoustic music, the combination of electronic technology with live performance. Updated recording facilities enables students and faculty to review and archive their performances based on the latest recording standards.

The venue re-opened as the Roy Barnett Recital Hall on September 15, 2010 with a ceremony and concert to honour the Barnett’s gift. From classical to contemporary genres, the Roy Barnett Recital Hall supports students to develop their stage presence, sound and technique, giving them a competitive edge for preparing for advanced studies and performance careers.

The Barnett Hall is located in the School of Music Building, 6361 Memorial Road on UBC's Vancouver Campus.

Images by Dina MacDougall