In the 1930's, the legendary conductors Leopold Stokowski, conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Serge Koussevitsky, conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra, each tailored their conducting techniques to take advantage of the acoustics of their own orchestra halls -- to the point that critics said the Philadelphia Orchestra sounded odd when it played Symphony Hall in Boston, and the Boston Symphony sounded odd when it played in Philadelphia's Academy of Music.
The lesson? If you take one of the world's great orchestras, and move it into a different performing space, it sounds different. That shouldn't be too much of a surprise - after all, you know that you sound different when you sing in the shower and when you sing outdoors, so why shouldn't Plácido Domingo sound different in Seattle's new opera house and Teatro alla Scala in Milan?
See what we're talking about:
# Concert Halls: The shape we're in
# Boston Symphony 360 degree view
# Kennedy Center: 360-Degree-View
# Seattle Symphony | Benaroya Hall
# Artec: Meyerson Hall, Dallas TX
# Academy of Music Photos
# Artec: Performing Arts Center, Phila. PA
# Alice Tully Hall Floor Plans
# Marcus Center Architectural Floor Plans
# Avery Fisher Hall Floor Plans
# Jazz at Lincoln Center New Facility
Architectural acoustics, the science and art of designing a space to enhance its sound, can help make or break a music hall. In this hour of Science Friday, we'll be talking about what makes a concert hall sound great -- from its shape, to its placement, to the materials inside. We'll also be talking to some of the people who have helped to design the world's most famous concert halls.