by Anvi Hoàng (Photos © Musco Center for the Arts)
Are you ready for world-class, luxury and coziness? Welcome to Musco Center for the Arts orchestra hall.
Located inside the 88,142 square-foot state-of-the-art theatre, Musco hall, its official name being Julianne Argyros Orchestra Hall, boasts 1,044 seating capacity and 16 box suites. Other features include nine dressing rooms, a visitor lounge, trap room below the stage, split orchestra pit that fits up to 70 musicians, etc. Acoustics were designed by world-renowned acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics, one of the top companies in the field known and respected worldwide. Its projects include Elbphilharmonie, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Danish Radio Concert Hall, Helsinki Music Centre, Philharmonie de Paris, etc. Acoustics quality at Musco hall is considered one of the top in the country. It sounds like a wonderful hall.
“So what?” you may say. “This does not have anything to do with me.” Well, you’ll decide at the end of this article.
Me, I am often fascinated every time I enter a magnificent concert hall. Wood is the first thing I embrace that gives me the feeling of awe. It is all about wood. Its vain and its shine. Wood is warm and sensual, on the opposite spectrum of stone which is cold and thrilling. The color tone and the feel of wood alone on the touch are inviting. Is it because in Vietnam I was used to sleeping on a wood floor that I love wood? Is it because it reminds me of the distinctive scent of the pine forest in my hometown, Đà Lạt? Sometimes the monsoon rain would last all day and boost humidity in Sài Gòn to five hundred percent damping the floor. It would still do nothing to the wood floor. I adore wood. So is it simply my personal preference? All of them and more.
A statement on Nagata Acoustics’ website says that “The ideal sound environment—be it for a concert hall, a school gym, a recording studio, or other facility—fundamentally depends on three variables: room acoustics, sound system, and quietness.” It is this ‘quietness’ that draws me to a concert hall. Bombarded as we are in modern life with responsibilities, obligations, commitments, and noise pollution, to mention just a few, to be in a state-of-the-art orchestra hall and submerged in the enticing sound of music created not just to entertain but also to inspire, the deafening noise of normal life subsides. I could hear my own thoughts, with clarity. I am recharged.
Once you are in a hall, pay attention to the details. Every single one reflects the beautiful application of science and technology in the realization. Temperature, humidity or the movement of air has to be studied, complex mathematical analysis done, and so on. Together they make a strong statement on human progress. The hall’s beauty often reminds me of excellence, of people who pursue passion, knowledge, science, craftsmanship, perfection, and of the everyday boundaries they try to push to make this life more meaningful for all. Every time I think about how a sound wave bounces off of surfaces or bends around them, how every single architectural and acoustical detail is artfully designed and meticulously calculated to produce excellent sound that enters my ears and gives me a piece of musical heaven, I feel free as my imagination roams.
Not all concert halls are created equal. But the one at Musco Center for the Arts is one such hall that can give me that chilling experience. Sometimes not everything that looks like wood is made from real wood, for a technical or practical reason. But the effects remain the same—the warmth already nudges you into a lustrous atmosphere where your imagination runs wild in quietness.
We live for the memory. In the end, like it or not, going to Musco to attend ON LIFE may remind you of a past memory. Or it will become your one-of-a-kind memory. So just do it.