Shell Games: Symphony Hall gets new acoustical shell, but keeps it tightly under wraps

by Mark Gresham | 13 Sep 2013

Symphony Hall stage, as it looked with the old acoustical shell.

Symphony Hall stage, as it looked with the old acoustical shell. (photo: Jeff Roffman)

ATLANTA, GA — A new acoustical shell is being installed in Symphony Hall at the Woodruff Arts Center due to safety concerns with the old shell, which was original to the hall when it opened in 1968.

However, the acoustics of Symphony Hall have long been criticized both by members of the audience and by musicians on the stage. So in addition to resolving safety issues, a new, well designed shell will hopefully prove a musical boon to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and its audience.

The hall has been closed for construction over the last month. Media and other observers have not been allowed to see construction in progress due to it being a “hard-hat” area. No images of the shell under construction have yet been officially released to media nor any details about the shell itself, as of this writing. (Requests for basic factual information were made by this writer earlier in the week.)

Installation is due to be completed by the time the orchestra starts rehearsals on Tuesday, September 17 when rehearsals begin. In addition to preparing the orchestra for concerts, the next two weeks of rehearsals in the hall will incorporate acoustical tests and the process of “tuning” the new shell to the hall.

[ Author’s note: The full story is expected to emerge early this coming week. Watch here for a link to the forthcoming article I am writing for ArtsATL. ~Mark Gresham ]