The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Cleveland Orchestra music director Franz Welser-M‹st and his players began rehearsing at the venue yesterday. Tateo Nakajima, managing director of Artec Consultants, the New York firm supervising the new hall's acoustics, told the paper, "This is a project that takes time. In the first rehearsals before opening, we all move the quickest to find out what works and then refine over the next 18 months. It's quite an important time now because we haven't heard anything."
For most of their stay, the orchestra won't perform before an audience, but will instead collaborate with the designers to refine the sound in the 2,200-seat auditorium. On hand will be Nakajima's boss, Artec founder Russell Johnson, the well-known acoustician who has worked on the highly-regarded concert halls in Birmingham, Dallas and Lucerne as well as Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
Like Verizon Hall, Knight Concert Hall has adjustable acoustical elements, including a series of movable canopies over the stage and resonating chambers in the side walls whose doors can be opened or closed by degrees. Finding the optimal settings of these elements for a symphony orchestra is the major part of the weekend's work.
The $450 million center is designed by architect Cesar Pelli and its gala opening weekend, with performances by resident companies the New World Symphony (led by music director Michael Tilson Thomas), the Florida Grand Opera and the Miami City Ballet, is set for October 5-8.
In July, Florida media reported that the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, which was initially named the Miami Performing Arts Center, was being renamed following a $10 million donation from Carnival Cruise Lines. In addition, the complex's concert hall was renamed the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall in recognition of $10 million in donations from the late brothers' eponymous foundation.