Thursday, February 08, 2007

Beautiful New San Francisco Music Conservatory Building And Concert Hall Could Be Model for National Capital's Future Music Conservatory

... "[San Francisco Music Director Michael Tilson] Thomas was one of the guest artists at a gala concert Sunday night to inaugurate the San Francisco Conservatory of Music's handsome new concert hall, the crowning touch of its new home at 50 Oak St. in the Civic Center area. And he infused the evening with that welcome touch of true exuberance that any gala worthy of the name should have.

Before that, the event had been a somber, stately affair. There were various expressions of heartfelt thanks, reminders that the Conservatory's student body represents the future of music, and music that was itself on the serious side. Former Mayor Willie Brown was on hand to narrate a stirring account of Copland's "Lincoln Portrait," and music doesn't get more earnest or inspirational than that.

So it wasn't until Thomas appeared to close the concert by leading the Conservatory Orchestra in the finale of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony that the celebration really got going. But there were enough fireworks in that one stretch of music -- a raucous, energized, flat-out dazzling romp -- to lift the spirits as decisively as a glass of Champagne.

Thomas is often hailed as an educator, and for most of us that reputation rests on his abilities as a speaker and communicator. But there is also his remarkable skill at working with young musicians, and it was pure joy to watch him shepherd his young charges through this music with a blend of firmness, cajoling and simple good humor.

Andrew Mogrelia, the orchestra's regular music director, worked something similar in the Copland, shaping the performance with all its blazing fervor and ringing oratory intact. Brown redeployed his well-known rhetorical gifts into a new arena with eloquent results....

The concert hall is a visual treat, a strange and beautiful architectural hybrid that resulted from the splicing together of parts of two different buildings. So there are remnants of old-fashioned grandeur in the seating area, with its high ceilings and broad walls, along with sleekly modern lines around the stage." ...

Joshua Kosman "A night to remember at new [S.F. Music Conservatory]concert hall" San Francisco Chronicle Februrary 1, 2007

San Francisco's new $80 million Music Conservatory — Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Moris, architects; Kirkegaard Associates, acousticians — has a 450-seat concert hall, a 140-seat recital hall, and the 120-seat Osher Salon. It also has 41 teaching studios (versus 33 on 19th Avenue), 11 classrooms (8), 41 practice rooms (15), a 6,500-square-foot library (2,400 square feet), a large percussion suite, keyboard and computer labs, an ensemble room, an improv studio, and an electronic-music studio.

Photo and caption credits: Janos Gereben and San Francisco Classical Voice. With thanks.


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