World’s newest concert hall is in most polluted city

World’s newest concert hall is in most polluted city


norman lebrecht

October 02, 2014

The new 1,800-seat concert hall of NOSPR (National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra) opened last night in Katowice (the seat of NOSPR) with Brahms’ first piano concerto (soloist: Krystian Zimerman), Beethoven’s ninth symphony and music by Polish composers Penderecki, Kilar and Górecki conducted by Alexander Liebreich.
katowice hall  katowice view

Gorecki, who lived all his life n Katowice, complained incessantly of its foul air and general post-War pollution. Let’s hope they’re cleaning it up.


  • Glenn Murray says:

    Wonderful for Poland who can spend their money on this rather than on social benefits to people like Anjem Choudary!

  • sixtus says:

    I hope the acoustics are ok. Pictures show a promisingly shoebox-like shape to the interior. It would be a shame to have spent all that money and end up with sub-standard sound quality.

    • David J Gill says:

      I suspect, that with computer modeling acousticians can nearly guarantee appropriate, acceptably good acoustics in a new concert hall. Will the acoustic of this hall be excellent, will it be of uniquely memorable warmth and character? Those are different questions….time will tell.

    • Michael says:

      Acousticians measure the acoustics as perfect, musicians say it’s fantastic and audience is amazed wherever one seats.

  • Aleksander Hanslik says:

    I was at the opening concert. The acoustics designed by Nagata Acoustics is superb, exceeding all expectations . The members of the Bayerischen Rundfunk Choir who sang at the concert expressed their enchantment with the acoustics .
    The architecture of rare warmth and harmony comes from Tomasz Konior who already designed the famous Music Academy of Katowice concert hall.
    Last but not least: The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) is still the best orchestra in Poland – from the times of Grzegorz Fitelberg (Szymanowski’s friend) till now.
    They found their home finally they deserved – after almost 80 years.
    The ultimate proof is in your hands – please visit the NOSPR concert hall in Katowice, Poland.

    • cameron paul says:

      I would love to visit this exciting new concert hall and hear the Polish National Radio S.O. if for no other reason that this was the first full sized professional orchestra I ever heard. I was still at school in Australia (1960’s) when they visited and the memory of that night (Brahms lst symphony was the major work) remains with me to this day.

  • Richard says:

    I was in Katowice a couple weeks ago, on a quick jaunt up from Krakow to visit Kilar’s grave which is about 50 feet from Gorecki’s grave. I was not at all put off by the city. In general is came across as much nicer/cleaner than most areas of New York. The concert hall is a gem from the outside. None of the silliness like the Paris Philharmonie. Straightforward modern and functional. And by all accounts it sounds good. Can’t wait to visit again.

  • Nutters says:

    I too was at the concert last night. The outside of the building is quite brutal but as the above poster says functional and has a certain beauty. Around the hall are some landscaped gardens – not quite finished – and the new Silesian Museum next door. I understand the very ugly building next door is being knocked down next month. Inside sweeping balconies and the most beautiful light fittings – very sparkly – in the foyer areas. Inside the hall is beautiful. Big seats and very comfortable. Quite a steep rake in the auditorium so excellent sightlines. Not sure what the normal catering situation will be – we were treated to complimentary plonk and a quite sumptuous buffet.

    NOSPR are a hidden gem under their Music Director Alexander Liebreich. Top class orchestra that needs to be seen outside of Poland. Quite possibly the best Brahms PC1 with Krystian Zimerman I have ever heard.

    I urge anyone to go to Katowice to hear the orchestra and experience the hall.

    Can’t tell you about the town… all I saw was airport / hotel / hall!

    Acoustics are amazing. What a triumph.

  • Andrey Boreyko says:

    Finally! My congratulation to the orchestra ( really very fine!), and to all people of Katowice. I’ll be there next spring, and can’t wait already!
    Big compliments to Poland- in a few last years they have build and opened few new concert halls ( Gdańsk, Szczecin, Lodz, Białystok, Kraków Opera, and with Wroclaw coming next year!) . And now Katowice- Bravo!!
    Name another country in Eastern Europe, or just in European Union which did the same In a last 5-7 years!
    Gratuluje z calego serca Ojczyźnie moich przodków!
    Tak trzymać!!

  • M says:

    Katowice is most polluted city? I don’t think so.
    Krakow has much bigger problem with smog and pollution.