Building Concert Halls, Part 3: How to ensure success

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In contrast to the “outside in approach” discussed in my last installment, great concert hall design starts with accommodating the essential requirements of both performers and audience, then moving outward in its architectural expression for support areas and public spaces….an “inside out approach”. There is an old expression: “form follows function” which today’s designers of concert halls and theaters would do well to return to their philosophy. And this concept can …

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Building Concert Halls, Part 2: Well-worn paths to failure

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Performing arts venues are built for a variety of reasons, artistic, social, and political. Their operational success can often be predicted by how these reasons are prioritized. Halls built primarily for political reasons such as prestige and civic pride sometimes overlook basic needs and desires of performers and audiences in favor of some grand architectural monument representing civic identity. These are the halls I sometimes describe as being built from the …

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Building Concert Halls, Part 1: What makes a great concert hall?

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In 2002 my company, Akustiks, was hired to design a new concert hall for the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra had been playing for many years in a large multi-purpose theater under the direction of Maestro Kenneth Schermerhorn. Increasing difficulties in scheduling the theater to accommodate what was becoming a full-time orchestra in part led to the realization that if the orchestra was to reach its potential, a new home would …

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Doing Their Jobs In Nashville

Like most of the Nashville area, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center (SSC), home of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra (NSO), is enduring the impact of severe floods. Located less than a few thousand feet from the banks of the Cumberland River, the SSC did endure intense flooding. I spoke with NSO president & CEO Alan Valentine, via cell phone yesterday afternoon to obtain the following details…

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Damn You Alex Ross!

For years now, I’ve been enjoying the benefits of, which until it was picked up by in 2007, was a fairly well kept secret. After that, the associated spike in traffic meant more travelers with inside info but for whatever reason, the handful of business colleagues I tipped off to seatguru had never heard of it before. Well, that’s all gone now since cultural uber-blogger Alex Ross posted a little something in praise of the service a few days ago at The Rest Is Noise

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