Cincinnati Music Hall New Concert Enclosure, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
On September 12, 1997, the Cincinnati
Symphony Orchestra, under Maestro
Jesús López-Cobos, inaugurated its new concert
enclosure. The celebration was the result of collaboration, between
the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra,
and Artec Consultants Inc, aimed at improving the onstage acoustics
in the Music Hall.
Challenges faced the group from the outset. Firstly
were the varied needs of the multiple users: the 3516-seat Music
Hall serves the Cincinnati Pops and Symphony Orchestras, also the
Festival, a large choral festival, and the Cincinnati
Opera. Also, the building's structure is primarily wood, and
the amount of weight that could be suspended from the ceiling or
supported from the stage floor was limited. Furthermore, any work
or installation was limited to a window of four weeks.
Artec provided the acoustical
and theatrical design of the shell, as well as new concert
lighting. The final design comprised three adjustable concert
ceilings, two forestage canopies, and eleven concert towers, two
of which featured doors for musicians to enter through, and which
were also large enough to store a concert piano for concertos. The
enclosure is fully demountable for the Festival and Opera seasons.
All of the elements were detailed and therefore
could be largely assembled off-site, leaving final assembly to take
place during four weeks. Preparatory rigging work in attic and above
the stagehouse-rigging grid took place during the final weeks of
the Opera season. Artec supervised the entire design and construction
process, and continued working with the CSO musicians for a full
year after installation to help the orchestra understand how best
to use the new enclosure.