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The Great Hall...

Discussion in 'Landscapes, Architecture, and Cityscapes' started by gnagel, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. The Great Hall, Krannert Center for Performing Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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    This morning, I was granted two hours of private access to one of the top theaters...the Great Hall. For years, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra would commute the 150 miles or so to Urbana to do its recordings. The Sydney Symphony has come to this building to record...that's Sydney, Australia!

    The director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra said, "And I remember the first sounds of the symphony in this amazing acoustical space. It was a piece that begins with a big flurry of sound, and I could not believe what my ears were telling me about this space. I was sizzling with excitement."

    I have many more pictures to share of the Great Hall. The lobby itself is absolutely incredible. More than 35,000 square feet of floor space is covered in teak wood. In fact, the entire annual allotment of teak wood from Thailand was allocated to this location.

    It was an incredible treat to have this space to myself for a couple of hours--whether I would have taken any photographs or not.

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  2. Fabulous shot!

    Did you sing while you worked? :D 
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  3. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    What an exquisite introduction to this wonderful venue! I look forward to many more images! Is it mainly a recording venue? How many seats does it hold? More info please!
  4. Thanks...

    No, I didn't want to do any permanent damage to the theater.

  5. Did they give you any where in the room the sound is best? Beautiful photo, it looks huge.
  6. Thanks Karen...it seats about 2,100 people.

    It's mainly for hosting performances. Some notable ensembles that have performed there include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra, Munich Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. Many performances are held by music students from the University of Illinois.

    The Krannert Center also houses three other theaters. I like the Great Hall the most, so I only requested access to the interior of the one theater. There's always things going on, so it would be nearly impossible to gain access to multiple theaters on the same visit.

  7. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    I take it you are a graduate of Univ of Illinois?
  8. Thanks...they kept emphasizing that every single inch of the place is acoustically perfect. They have even designed the chairs so that they absorb the same amount of sound when empty as when someone sits in the chair. Although the theater is situated under the roof of the Krannert Center, it sits on a separate foundation to prevent sounds from vibrating in from its surrounds. The air conditioning plant is located across the street for the same reason. Some of this information is available through Wikipedia.

    The Great Hall is perfectly symmetric. On the back wall behind the balcony, there is a door for people to exit the theater in the event of an emergency. They placed a second fake door on the back wall to make even the doors symmetrical. After much confusion (the door on the right led to the wall behind it)...they removed the handle from that door. So, I guess one has a handle and the other doesn't--not perfect symmetry!

  9. Yes...back when I was a student there I could just walk into any of these buildings at any time. Security is far more strict now--although it could be worse. As a student, I wasn't a serious photographer...but I once walked into the Great Hall and captured a handheld Kodachrome slide of this theater with my Canon AE-1.

  10. You and I would make a great wrecking team!
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  11. Excellent photograph of an impressive concert hall. It's easy to see why it might have great acoustics because of the sound reflectors on the walls and the sound diffusers on the ceiling.

    How did you get them to light it for you? We have a new concert hall here at Virginia Tech whose acoustics elicit rave reviews from visiting ensembles. I've taken photos of the chorus my wife sings in performing there, but I've never asked to photograph it when unoccupied.
  12. Thanks Jim...

    They were explaining the factors that went into improving acoustics...the specific type of wood, the angle of the walls, the hanging ceiling (apparently there is something like 40 feet of space above it), the material used for the seats, etc.

    Lately I've been first placing a written request for permission to such venues...followed up by a phone call. I show them my portfolio of interiors, promise not to sell the images, and offer high resolution files for their use (no charge). It seems that sharing the portfolio of images helps...as they see that several other venues have already granted permission. When asking permission to photograph a library, for example, I will quickly site examples of libraries throughout the country that I've photographed (many of the big city libraries). Or, when asking to photograph a church, I will provide them with a list of 200 other churches that have "participated" in my "Places of Worship" project.

    You captured some nice images of the chorus...great vantage point...front and center!

  13. You're capitalizing on your reputation, which I don't have.:)  Good for you!

    Please post more of this auditorium.
  14. Thanks...I try to let them see that there's something in it for them and to make them aware that other comparable venues didn't have an issue with it.

    Here's a link to some other photographs of the venue that I posted in a different thread:
    Critique - The Great Hall, Krannert Center

  15. Again, it looks great.
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