Friday, November 10, 2006

Meyer Sound Installs First Constellation System

Meyer Sound Installs First Constellation System into Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall
5 Nov 2006 by World Wide Pro Audio Directory 1997 - 2004

Zellerbach Hall is one of the jewels of the University of California Berkeley campus. Housed in an American Institute of Architects Honors Award-winning building, the 2,014-seat hall is home to Cal Performances, the largest presenter of performing arts in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cal Performances brings to the hall a wide range of performances, including orchestral, chamber music, jazz, theatrical, dance, spoken word, operatic, and all variety of ethnic performances from around the world. The university also makes use of Zellerbach for graduations and other major university events. Plainly, Zellerbach Hall is the definitive multipurpose venue.

This diversity of program material imposes immense demands on the hall’s acoustics, as the needs of orchestral performances, recitals and graduations are at odds with each other. While the hall has an orchestra shell that helps sound project and aids musicians in hearing each other, erecting and striking it is a laborious and time-consuming process that makes it difficult to hold events of different types of material even as close together as consecutive days, not to mention accommodate events mixing genres on the same program. What’s more, the shell does not enable the hall to fully meet the range of acoustical requirements, as it cannot sufficiently alter the hall’s basic reverberation characteristics.

“We have been grappling with this issue of maximizing the hall’s sound for a number of years,” says Cal Performances’ Director Robert Cole. “We know the acoustics are quite good, as they are – many wonderful artists have performed here with great success. There are, however, some instances, such as when a period orchestra like Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra performs, that I have wished we could modify the architecture of Zellerbach to better replicate the space in which the music was originally meant to be performed. Luckily, we’ve had the great good fortune of working with John and Helen Meyer of Meyer Sound as our partners in designing a solution.”

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