But the visuals are nothing compared to the acoustic impact that the new shell has had on the orchestra’s sound in Southam Hall. Changes in flooring and replacement of seats in the theater had already improved the acoustic environment in the concert hall, but the shell has made the most major and dramatic impact.
“The new orchestra shell and the extensive production renewal work that has taken place in the NAC will dramatically improve the experience for both artists and audience alike,” said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon.
Modern concert halls are multifunctional – not only presenting the symphony orchestra, but also ballet, opera, touring shows, speakers, and with a myriad of other multi-purpose uses. For this reason, extra panels were added that move and rotate to bring in a proscenium when needed. But in addition to these other uses, the need to take into account the modern-day symphony orchestra’s programming was a key component of the design. While classical music is core to the orchestra’s programming, the NAC Orchestra also presents pops, casual Friday series, visual projection needs, and interactive presentations from the stage.
Acoustically, the shell gives the orchestra an instrument that enhances their artistry and connects them with the audience in a way that hasn’t been experienced in Southam Hall. Working with Diamond Schmitt Architects and Fisher Dachs Associates, the new shell took 18 months to design and manufacture, with subsequent installation and testing to tune the shell with the orchestra.
The opening concerts of the NAC Orchestra in its new shell highlighted the range and skill of the orchestra in its first concerts of the season to great success. “NACO finally has the hall it deserves”, remarked Natasha Gauthier of Artsfile.
For more news and information on the NAC’s renovations and the new orchestra shell in Southam Hall, visit: