There are a lot of ways of enjoying your favourite music, but we all know there’s nothing like an unforgettable life performance of your favourite artist. Outdoor concerts might be a bit more fun but if you truly want a unique experience, you should totally go to a concert in one of the world’s most famous concert halls.
With perfect acoustics and a unique atmosphere, these are the 10 most impressive concert halls in the world.
10. The Helix, Dublin, Ireland
The Helix was built back in 2002 and has three auditoriums entitled The Space, The Mahony Hall and The Theatre as well as a conference room and an exhibition space. The venues can interchange their seats to adapt for any event, hosting anything from ice shows to rock concerts and of course, classical music events. Designed by Polish architect Andrzei Wejchert, it received the Opus Building of the Year Award in 2003 due to the stunning contrast of glass and granite with an open void that brings light throughout the interior from the roof.
9. Carnegie Hall, New York City, USA
Even if it doesn’t have its own orchestra, the Carnegie Hall is still one of the most important concert halls in the world and has gathered a history of impressive performances since its first opening in 1891. It was funded by Andrew Carnegie and it has three performance spaces: The Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage, the Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall and the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall. Among the artists who performed here are Fritz Kreisler, Pablo Casals, Richard Strauss, Camille Saint-Saens, Sergei Rachmaninoff or Gustav Mahler to name but a few.
8. Sydney Opera House, Australia
One of the most iconic buildings in the world, the Sydney Opera House was designed by Jorn Utzon in 1957 after winning a competition with 233 designs entered. Completed in 1973, there are seven performance venues that host no less than 1,500 performances each year and have 1.2 million people attending. The four most important resident companies are the Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In June 2007 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
7. National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, China
The Giant Egg, as it is also called due to its form, was designed by the French architect Paul Andreu and its highly modern aesthetic was quite scandalous due to the place where it is located, between the Tiananmen Square, the Great Hall of the People and the Forbidden City. Still its simple beauty was too perfect to be disclosed and the inaugural concert took its place in 2007. There are three performance halls with a lake surrounding them. The main entrance is through an underwater hallway and it has almost 12,000 square meters in surface.
6. Royal Albert Hall, London, England
Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria, had a vision of a concert hall that would promote the appreciation of the Arts and Sciences with museums surrounding it and other places of learning – that’s how this beautiful building was born on the northern edge of South Kensington. With a capacity of up to 5,272 seats, the hall was opened on March 29, 1871 and since 1941 it hosts the Proms (Henry Wood Promenade Concerts) concerts, the largest classical music concert in the world.
5. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, USA
With the signature aesthetic of Frank Gehry, this building surely stands out in the city. But the genius of the designer didn’t just settle for a stunning building, he paid careful attention to its acoustics with the aid of Yasuhisa Toyota. Opened in 2003, the Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic called it “one of the most successful grand openings of a concert hall in American history”. Another jewel inside the Walt Disney Concert hall is its concert organ that was completed in 2004 with a facade designed by Frank Gehry in collaboration with the organ builder Manuel Rosales.
4. Boston Symphony Hall, USA
This charming building was built for the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1900 and it was actually the first concert hall ever built on scientific acoustical engineering. It has a 1.9 second reverberation time which is considered ideal for orchestral performances and each seat was designed to offer the ideal sound. You could truly say that this is when concert hall design became science due to a physics professor from Harvard, Wallace Clement Sabine.
3. Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Designed by Adolf Leonard van Gendt, the constructions of this jaw dropping building started in 1883 and it opened in April 1888 with an inaugural concert of 120 musicians and a chorus of 500 singers. There are 900 concerts each year with 700,000 people coming to see them, making it one of the most visited halls in the world. It hosts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and its reverberation time of 2.2 seconds with audience makes it ideal for the late Romantic repertoire but quite unsuitable for amplified music like rock concerts. Aside from the Main Hall there is also an oval shaped Recital Hall for chamber music with 437 seats.
2. Berlin Philharmonie, Germany
Designed by Hans Scharoun, the Berlin Philharmonie opened in October 1963 with the Symphony N0.9 of Beethoven conducted by none other than Herbert von Karajan who would be the longest serving principal conductor here. The Main Hall has 2,440 seats and there is also a chamber music hall with 1,180 seats which was added a couple of years later. Built to replace the former Philharmonie which was bombed during the Second World War, the mesmerizing concert hall brought accidental advances into acoustics due to its vineyard terracing, breaking its audience into blocks so that the walls intervening would reflect more sound from the sides.
1. Wiener Musikverein in Vienna, Austria
The Wiener Musikverein is one of the oldest operas in the world with the construction starting in 1863. It has a neoclassical design penned down by Theophil Hansen who took his inspiration from the ancient Greek temples. With two gorgeous concert halls, the Golden Hall which includes 1,744 seats and a standing room for 300, plus a chamber music hall, the Opera in Vienna has been the place where classical music blossomed. The Golden Hall has a a pipe organ built by Friedrich Ladegast on which the first recital was held by none other than Anton Bruckner in 1872.