Boettcher Concert Hall

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Boettcher Concert Hall
DPAC, Denver Performing Arts Complex
Full nameBoettcher Concert Hall at Denver Performing Arts Complex
Address1000 14th St, Denver, CO 80202
LocationDenver, Colorado, US
Coordinates39°44′41″N 104°59′50″W / 39.744777°N 104.997132°W / 39.744777; -104.997132Coordinates: 39°44′41″N 104°59′50″W / 39.744777°N 104.997132°W / 39.744777; -104.997132
Public transitTheatre District–Convention Center station
OwnerCity and County of Denver
OperatorDenver Performing Arts Complex[2]
TypePerforming-arts center Concert Hall
Capacity2679 [3] Orchestra: 823, Parquet: 147, Dress Circles: 254, Mezzanines (8): 1,146 / Rings: 264, Pit Seats: 45 [4]
Field sizeStage: 2,400 square feet [4]
Built1978 [1]
ArchitectHardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates[1]
Colorado Symphony

Boettcher Concert Hall, is a Concert Hall in Denver, Colorado and is home to the Colorado Symphony. It is named after Colorado native and philanthropist Claude K. Boettcher.[5]


Boettcher was the first symphony hall in the round in the United States. Built in 1978[1] by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, as a home for the Denver Symphony Orchestra, the hall is part of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, which is the second largest performing arts complex in the United States next to Lincoln Center in New York. Boettcher originally opened to mixed reviews. Due to its size in relation to the size of the community it serves, its 2,362 [3] seats are often not completely filled. Tuned acoustically with a full house in mind, Boettcher originally suffered from hot and cold spots when the theater was only partially filled.


The Boettcher Concert Hall is the nation's first symphony hall in-the-round, designed to place the audience close to the stage in a unique environment – 80% of the seats are within 65 feet of the stage, There are no true vertical or horizontal surfaces inside Boettcher Concert Hall; the walls are canted at a slight angle to disperse sound and prevent flutter echoes. On each curved surface of the hall is a wave-like band, approximately four feet high, technically called an undulating acoustical facia. These facias diffuse, reflect and channel sound throughout the venue. The seats in Boettcher are custom-designed, made from steam-bent wood with their backs varying in height from 42 inches to 48 inches. The acoustical moat, located underneath the stage is essential in the surround design, it acts as a reverberate chamber for low frequency sound. The Canopy features 108 circular discs which is the primary device for distribution of sound to the musicians as well as the audience. These discs effect certain lighting positions on the catwalks and ring hangers.[4]

In 1993, the theater underwent a major acoustical renovation. The height of the seat backs was adjusted, additional acoustic reflectors were added, and acoustic curtains were installed which allow the theater to be tuned for specific performances—even during a performance.


The Colorado Symphony is the primary occupant of the Boettcher Concert Hall. Established in 1989 as the successor to the Denver Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony rehearses and performs primarily in Boettcher Concert Hall, but also throughout the Front Range. The orchestra draws 150,000 patrons to 90 performances every year to the concert hall.[6] Its current president and CEO is Jerome Kern, and its current music director is Andrew Litton.[7]

Potential Closure[edit]

In mid-2014, The Denver Post reported that the city of Denver was considering a plan to demolish Boettcher Concert Hall and build an outdoor amphitheater in its place at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. This was in tandem with a planned temporary move out at the end of the 2014-15 concert season to accommodate $17 million in upgrades of the facility. The city had also considered building a smaller venue owing to the attendance of the hall's primary occupant (Colorado Symphony) routinely filling only about half of the existing capacity. The city explored building a venue with reconfigurable seating, allowing shows with as few as 500 attendees, to better accommodate a wider variety of performances and reach a broader audience.[8] Denver Mayor Michael Hancock appointed a team to begin working on October 1, 2014 on the future of Boettcher Concert Hall. The debate was both about accessibility as well as the cost of making extensive repairs and renovations.[2]

Potential plans included fixing up and managing Boettcher as a multi-use facility that could host concerts and provide educational space.[6] Making the space usable as a concert hall at night and a space for small classrooms. There was also discussion of adding an outdoor amphitheater. This option proved controversial, not only due to demolishing the Boettcher but also due to competition with Denver's Red Rocks Amphitheatre.[9] This potential move would have also involved constructing a shared box office for the three large facilities in the complex.[10] The Colorado Symphony Orchestra leadership was quick to present many reasons why they were a valuable tenant in the Boettcher.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Goble, Gary and Joanne, 2005 historical note, Denver Public Library archival collection: Denver Symphony Orchestra and Association papers, 1922-1990
  2. ^ a b Hicks, L. Wayne (18 September 2014). "City of Denver team will plot future of Boettcher Concert Hall". Denver Business Journal. Denver Business Journal. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Denver Performing Arts Complex, Boettcher Hall information page". Denver Performing Arts Complex. City and County of Denver. 2016. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Boettcher Concert Hall Venue & Technical Guide" (PDF). GALA Choruses. GALA Choruses. 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Claude K. Boettcher, Colorado Business Hall of Fame". Colorado Business Hall of Fame. Colorado Business Hall of Fame. 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Between Bach and a hard place on Boettcher, CSO". The Denver Post. The Denver Post. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Colorado Symphony must remain in a renovated and repurposed Boettcher Concert Hall". Colorado Symphony Blog. Colorado Symphony. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  8. ^ Rinaldi, Ray Mark (24 July 2014). "Denver may tear down Boettcher Concert Hall to build a new amphitheater". The Denver Post. The Denver Post. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  9. ^ Rinaldi, Ray Mark (6 September 2014). "Rinaldi: Deconstructing Boettcher Concert Hall". The Denver Post. The Denver Post. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  10. ^ Rinaldi, Ray Mark (7 July 2014). "Denver's arts complex wants more customers, proposing big changes". The Denver Post. The Denver Post. Retrieved 10 April 2016.

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