In Thursday’s (12/3) Finance and Commerce (Minnesota), Brian Johnson writes, “The Minnesota Orchestral Association wants to makes sure that its planned $40 million expansion and renovation of Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis doesn’t come at the expense of the hall’s famous acoustics. To that end, orchestra officials are retaining the services of London-based Sound Space Design, an acoustical consulting firm that has contributed to projects such as Winspear Opera House in Dallas, Korener Hall in Toronto, and Menuhin Hall in London. The Minnesota Orchestral Association (MOA) announced the appointment Thursday. Robert Essert, who founded Sound Space Design in 2002, will oversee a team that will be charged with preserving the acoustics during renovation. … Music director Osmo Vanska said, ‘We are blessed to have very good acoustics for our audiences at Orchestra Hall. But it is important that we make some improvements onstage to help the musicians hear each other across the stage. This needs to be done very delicately and we have great confidence in Bob Essert and his team.’ The $40 million expansion and renovation project will focus on public lobby spaces, exterior improvements, a ‘refreshed’ auditorium, and ‘updated backstage facilities,’ according to the MOA. Orchestra officials are raising funds for the work and hope to complete the project by 2013.”

Posted December 4, 2009