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Concertgebouw Amsterdam

The Concertgebouw is a concert hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Dutch term "concertgebouw" literally translates into English as "concert building".

Concertgebouw amsterdamBecause of its highly regarded acoustics, the Concertgebouw is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world, along with places such as Boston's Symphony Hall and the Musikverein in Vienna.

The architect of the building was Adolf Leonard van Gendt, who was inspired by the Neue Gewandhaus in Leipzig, built two years earlier (and destroyed in 1943).

Construction began in 1883 in a pasture that was then outside the city, in Nieuwer-Amstel, a municipality that in 1964 became Amstelveen. 2,186 piles twelve to thirteen meters (forty to forty-three feet) in length were sunk into the soil.
The Concertgebouw in 1902

The hall opened on April 11, 1888, with an inaugural concert in which an orchestra of 120 musicians and a chorus of 500 singers participated, performing works of Wagner, Handel, Bach, and Beethoven. The resident orchestra of the Concertgebouw is the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest), which gave its first concert in the hall on 3 November 1888, as the Concertgebouw Orchestra (Concertgebouworkest).
The Grote Zaal of the Concertgebouw.
At night in 2008.

The Grote Zaal ("Great Hall", which is the main hall) seats 2037, and is 44 meters (144 ft) long, 28 meters (92 ft) wide, and 17 meters (56 ft) high. Its reverberation time is 2.8 seconds without audience, 2.2 seconds with, making it ideal for the late Romantic repertoire such as Mahler. Though this characteristic makes it largely unsuited for amplified music, groups such as Led Zeppelin, The Who & Pink Floyd performed there in the 1960s. It hosts not only orchestral and operatic performances, but also jazz and world music.

A smaller, oval-shaped venue, the Kleine Zaal ("Small Hall"), is located behind the main hall. The Kleine Zaal is 20 meters (66 ft) long and 15 meters (50 ft) wide. Its more intimate space is well-suited for chamber music and lieder. The Kleine Zaal has 478 seats.

When the Concertgebouw was built, acoustics were something of a black art. As in shipbuilding, designers drew upon what had worked in the past without entirely understanding the underlying science. When the building was completed, the acoustics were not perfect, and a lot of effort went into fine-tuning the aural ambience. During later restorations, particular care has been taken not to alter the materials used for interior decoration with this in mind. In the 1980s, the hall embarked on extensive fund-raising for renovations after the hall was found to be slowly sinking into the ground. Pi de Bruijn was the architect for the contemporary annex to the original hall.

Today, some nine hundred concerts per year take place in the Concertgebouw, for a public of over 800,000, making it the second most-visited concert hall in the world (Rome's Parco della musica ranking N. 1 with over one million).


 

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