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Michael Sportiello: Leading behind the scenes at the School of Music

Michael Sportiello
Michael Sportiello, technical director of the new Holtschneider Performance Center, works behind the scenes with faculty, staff, students and event organizers on productions at the School of Music. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)
Today, Nov. 1, the DePaul School of Music kicks off “Unveiled: A Celebration of Music,” an 11-day music festival to mark the opening of the newly constructed Holtschneider Performance Center. While the eyes and ears of faculty, staff, students and the broader Chicago community will tune in to the performances on stage, DePaul’s Michael Sportiello will be behind the scenes, ensuring the more than 40 festival events run smoothly. 

“'Unveiled' is our grand-opening festival, and we could not be more excited to share our months of hard work and planning with the DePaul and Chicago communities,” says Sportiello, the technical director for the Holtschneider Performance Center. “From student performances to film screenings to world-class guest artists, there’s something here for everyone.” 

Now a full-time staff member at DePaul, Sportiello is no stranger to the Lincoln Park Campus. A 2012 graduate of DePaul’s sound recording technology program, he spent five years managing I.V. Lab Studios, a recording studio in Chicago, before taking on the role of technical director in April 2018. Post-graduation, Sportiello also maintained a part-time position in the School of Music. 
Michael Sportiello
Sportiello uses a remote control to adjust the acoustical curtains inside the Allen Recital Hall. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)

“A big part of my role is interfacing with faculty, staff, performers and event organizers,” Sportiello says. “When someone holds an event or concert in our space, my job is to understand their needs and vision. Then I develop and execute a technical plan to realize that vision to the best of our team’s ability. I also lead the teams of School of Music student workers that operate behind the scenes. These events would not be possible without them.”

Named for DePaul’s most recent former president, the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., the Holtschneider Performance Center opened for classes and concerts this fall quarter. It houses the 505-seat Mary Patricia Gannon Concert Hall, the 75-seat Mary A. Dempsey and Philip H. Corboy Jazz Hall, the 140-seat Murray and Michele Allen Recital Hall, the 80-seat Brennan Family Recital Hall, as well as state of the art teaching studios and rehearsal spaces.

“It’s hard to describe the feeling,” Sportiello says of the newest additions to DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus. “I came on board to the project very late in the process, but I’m hovering somewhere between relief and excitement. It’s been great working with Facility Operations and contractors to finish the installation of many of our technical systems. Particularly as an alum, it’s been inspiring to see the students work, practice and perform in the beautiful new facility.”

Over the next 11 days, Sportiello and his team will focus on the Holtschneider Performance Center’s debut to Chicago’s music community, but the technical director has already begun conversations with faculty and staff about the possibilities the new building offers. 

“We’re able to start envisioning all the ways the School of Music can take advantage of the new spaces,” he says. “I’m excited to work with my colleagues to bring the school’s programs to levels that none of us have been able to consider before.”

For more information about and a schedule of performances for “Unveiled: A Celebration of Music,” visit the School of Music website​.