The Studio Story

In 1959, harpsichordist Robert Conant formed the Foundation for Baroque Music  as a non profit corporation in the state of New York, for the purpose of supporting early music concerts and educational programs. The Festival of Baroque Music was the Foundation's annual production, and its first few seasons were held at the Seagle Music Colony (still active today) at Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks. After that, the FBM was invited by Skidmore president Val Wilson to bring the performances and lectures to the college campus. The festival took place in many locations through the years, including the Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs.

The Studio was built in 1974 in order to provide a permanent home for the Festival of Baroque Music. Robert and Nancy Conant commissioned architect Michael G. Curtis to design a concert hall that would provide natural, acoustic amplification for the performance of Baroque instruments. In the late 1980s The Studio was modified slightly with the addition of a green room at the north end of the structure, and the addition of two handicapped accessible bathrooms and a hallway.

In 2009 the Festival of Baroque Music marked its 50th season with an entire day of performances, light fare and plenty of time for old friends to mingle and reminisce. The day was highlighted by remarks and a champagne toast by its founder and director, Robert Conant. The festival continued another two years, until its final and 52nd season in 2011.

In the three years that followed, the Odyssey School of Fine Arts ran a summer program in the space,using both the large hall and the classroom (previously used as the green room for performers).

Mr. Conant died on December 27th, 2013, and only two weeks later the Studio suffered a burst pipe and

subsequent flood.  The original wood floor sat under several inches of water for nearly a week; the damage incurred required its complete removal, as well as the demolition of three feet of wall and insulation around the entire perimeter of the interior.

In 2014 The Foundation for Baroque Music's non profit status was transferred to the new entity of The Studio. Renovation on the structure began in early 2015, funded by the logging of an adjacent property belonging to Nancy Conant, who then generously gifted the revenue to The Studio. The logging process provided the added bonus of a clearing for the future parking lot as well as nearly a mile of new hiking trails throughout the woods to the south.

The rehabbing process began with the construction of a kitchen in place of a covered porch, adding to the building’s functionality. An art hanging system was also installed; years of rotating art exhibits had taken their toll on the original walls, and this improvement was a high priority going forward. The exposed-duct AC unit was removed and replaced with efficient mini-split AC and heating units, making it possible to operate year-round instead of only seasonally. (In the old days the AC unit rumbled so loudly it couldn’t be run during performances – and in July, a full house of nearly 100 people can get pretty warm!)

Originally built as a venue in which to bring people together in their love of music and art, The Studio continues to move into the future in that same spirit with a reinvigorated sense of purpose.  
We offer art, music and movement classes and performances as well as art exhibits and sculptural installations featuring locally-based artists. Please visit our website for up-to-date information on all our programs.

We look forward to making music, art and friendships here at The Studio in this next exciting chapter.

Elizabeth Conant

President and Artistic Director