By Mario R. Mercado
April 05, 2015
Credit: © W. Beaucardet

Even with today’s advanced knowledge of acoustical science, designing and building a new concert hall involves a certain leap of faith, especially if the aim is for flexibility—a venue suitable for a Beethoven symphony or a Pierre Boulez composition. So it’s good news, then, that early accounts indicate that the new Philharmonie de Paris, a 2,400-seat concert hall designed by architect Jean Nouvel with Marshall Day Acoustics and Ducks Scéno (the latter a specialist in theater design), is a brilliant success, particularly when it comes to acoustics.

The hall’s design features seating and cantilevered balconies that seemingly float within the theater, surrounding the stage and making sound that much more resonant.

With the opening of the Philharmonie—the new permanent home for the Orchestre de Paris and the Ensemble Intercontemporain, three associate resident ensembles, as well as the principal site for visiting international orchestras—Paris musical life has shifted to the Parc de la Villette and the 19th arrondissement. For visitors, the Philharmonie also offers places for nourishment of the body as well as the spirit, including the building’s top-floor restaurant, which has panorama views of the park and the city.

So what's happening right now? Throughout the spring, the Philharmonie de Paris celebrates the achievement of Pierre Boulez, the French composer, conductor, pianist, writer, and polymath—90 years young—and devotes this weekend, March 20-22, to a special birthday tribute of his music.