China builds replica of Vienna’s Musikvereinsaal

china musikverein

This is the concert hall of the¬†Zhuhai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, opened nine months ago and managed by a team from Beijing’s National Convention Centre.

The ceiling and chandeliers are copied from Vienna and the hall is pitching for visiting orchestras. An 800-seater, it’s not far from Hong Kong and Macau.

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  • The first major event at this wonderful hall was the concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with Zubin Mehta on Nov 16th 2014, which my company Armstrong Music was pleased to arrange. The hall management is actually under the umbrella of CPAA/CAEG (China Performing Arts Agency) in Beijing which is responsible for a number of fine halls in various parts of China.

  • Only the chandeliers look a bit like Vienna’s, but since they are empire style – something very general and to be found everywhere – it is not a copy of the Musikverein. Also the other features don’t look at all like the Viennese concert hall. This Chinese hall may be inspired by some very general features of the Musikverein, and that is to the credit of the designers, but it’s no more than that.

  • I always wondered why acousticians, philanthropists, architects always have to try to reinvent the wheel every time they build a new hall, why not just replicate the true and tried? Yes, once in a blue moon, you get a hit, like Disney Hall, but most of the time you get duds, like Avery Fisher Hall. If I were David Geffen, I’d say, just give me a duplicate of Carnegie Hall, New York is big enough for two.

    • Well, the showers of praise heaped on Disney Hall aren’t always shared by many of the musicians who hate playing in that hall (it’s hard to hear each other on stage, apparently). Brass players are forced to work harder to get their sound out. And the sound that does get created, while precise, is absolutely stone cold dead in that place. There’s about as much bloom to it as a shriveled rose in the frozen wasteland of winter.

    • No institution wants to have a hall that is merely a copy of some other concert hall, I assure you. A building gives an institution an identity and each institution wants its own unique identity and of course sites vary and the project brief may not be well accommodated with a replica of some existing hall.

      Many of the halls built that have been less than successful or are not well liked were built in the postwar period when modern architecture was at low ebb and unequal to the task of designing a concert hall. This has changed and computer modeling of acoustical performance has allowed acoustical engineers the ability to assure a client that they will have a reasonably good acoustic in a new hall. We are now seeing a lot of compelling and acoustically excellent new concert halls around the world.

  • For having played in both I can tell you that they might have copied a lot from Musikverein in Zhuhai but definitely not what matters the most: the acoustic.

  • Japan has done it already in the 1990’s: I remember the fabulous Izumi Hall in Osaka, Japan, which is modelled after the Musikverein.
    The Japanese ignored the golden ornaments and the chandeliers but actually managed to copy the exceptional acoustics.

  • It makes as much sense as to build the Forbidden City in the middle of Westminster… just absolutely ludicrous ! but not surprising for a country where you already find “Ch√Ęteaux bordelais” and replicas from about everything else. Why don’t they try to replicate a few of the so many splendours destroyed during the cultural revolution for a change ? It just look like Las Vegas…

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