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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: In which great hall would you most like to experience an orchestra concert, either as a spectator or as a musician?

August 31, 2013 at 5:52 AM

In which great hall would you most like to experience an orchestra concert, either as a spectator or as a musician?

I realize that I will not please everyone with these options -- I'm limited to five, and there are surely far more great halls in the world than that! But here are some of the most well-known and interesting ones, all reviewed as having good acoustics. I also tried to get a mix of old and new, with locations around the globe. Think about these, and then feel free to tell us if you have another that you'd really love to experience.

Disney Hall

If you want to know more about these halls, here are some links:

A history of Carnegie Hall
My love-in article about Disney Hall in LA
A New York Times review of Beijing's "Bird Egg"
A Wikipedia entry on the Berlin Philharmonie
A Wikipedia article on the Musikverein in Vienna

Here also is a really nice blog about concert halls around the world, though I suspect it gives some preference to visually-alluring halls.

From Cara Taggart
Posted on August 31, 2013 at 11:29 AM
So disappointed- I will be in New York for our Spring break, and carnegie hall is closed the entire time i am there......
From Royce Faina
Posted on August 31, 2013 at 12:39 PM
I would like to tour the Sidney Opera House some day. I do sing but am curious what playing a string concert there would be like?


From Thessa Tang
Posted on August 31, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Sorry, none of the above as the first and foremost preference.

I will choose the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam first and then Carnegie Hall as a close second.

From Kevin Keating
Posted on August 31, 2013 at 1:13 PM
I chose Carnegie Hall in part because it's closest to me. But more so because it's stage has been graced with the talents of so many musicians who've inspired me over the years, violinists as well as guitarists. To stand and play on a stage and fill the same air with music that BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Itzhak Perman have filled would be an experience of a lifetime, even if the chairs were empty.
From Nicky Paxton
Posted on August 31, 2013 at 3:22 PM
Here in Manchester, England we have the state-of-the-art Bridgewater Hall, home to two professional orchestras and a host of other concerts. I voted for Carnegie Hall in preference to the Vienna Musikverein since I don't envisage the latter's baroque decor as suiting all musical styles. But I'd like to put the Bridgewater (to which I go regularly) second after Carnegie Hall. Thank you for the pointer to Carnegie Hall's website; I now know that its name is always stressed on the first syllable & not the second (being British, I had previously supposed otherwise).
From David Beck
Posted on September 1, 2013 at 4:01 PM
"Here in Manchester, England we have the state-of-the-art Bridgewater Hall.."
Yes, and I have played there.
I voted for the Vienna Musikverein because there's an intimacy about it (see below) - it has that "shoe-box" shape beloved by acoustic experts and it's not too big. An orchestra mustn't overload the venue by "belting it out".
Forgive this digression - I was in the Hallé Orchestra when in 1968 our famous conductor decided to play a Strauss Waltz as an ancore there, provoking some ridicule !! Not a wise move. As I put the part up on the stand a member of the audience was close enough to me to look over my shoulder and LAUGH ! Intimacy ??
The Berlin hall struck me as being impersonal - like playing in the open-air. Maybe better for listeners than for players.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on September 2, 2013 at 6:38 PM
I think one could create a wonderful travel itinerary, just traveling to great halls around the globe -- wait a minute, I suppose that's the life of a soloist!
From Francesca Rizzardi
Posted on September 3, 2013 at 1:51 AM
I chose Disney Hall because my parents live near L.A. and it's the one I'm most likely to visit.
But in reality, my answer would depend on who I'd get to hear.
From Thessa Tang
Posted on September 3, 2013 at 3:21 PM
Splendid suggestion, L.
From David Beck
Posted on September 4, 2013 at 6:22 AM
Re:- Laurie's post "...I suppose that's the life of a soloist!".

Don't despair - even I, a mere orchestral fiddler, played in 2 of those halls. Perhaps, had I developed a more Prima Donna temperament, I might have made Carnegie Hall, too - we BBC Philharmonic players had to be content with the Avery Fisher in NYC.
Had I not retired in 2000, I might just have notched up the "Bird's Egg" and the Disney !
My favourites have been the "shoeboxes" that aren't too big, e.g. that famous Vienna one. Bradford, UK, has a nice one, as does Hamburg. Performing a symphonic standard, such as a Brahms Symphony, in such a hall can give one a feeling of playing "into" a warm and cohesive ensemble sound, enough of which reflects back to encourage the participants.

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