Francis Winspear Centre for Music
|Francis Winspear Centre for Music|
Built in 1997, it is the home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. The center is named after Dr. Francis G. Winspear, who donated $6 million to the construction of the facility - the single largest private donation to a performing arts facility in Canadian history. The Canadian federal government contributed $15 million and the Alberta government contributed $15 million as well.
In 2002, the Davis Concert Organ was installed at the Centre. Launched at a sold-out performance on September 14, 2002, the pipe organ was built by Orgues Létourneau Limitée of St. Hyacinthe, Québec. It features 96 stops, 122 ranks, and 6,551 pipes. It is named after Dr. Stuart Davis, to acknowledge his generosity and also in memory of his late wife Winona.
The concert hall itself has a seating capacity of 1,716 people and when seating is available in the choir loft above the main stage area the hall can hold up to 1,932, and is a tall, rectangular room with stepped, curved balconies and terraces. With its parallel side walls, the Winspear represents a modern adaptation of the classic "shoebox" shaped concert halls of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The acoustics of the Winspear are adjustable through the use of velour banners and curtains. These can be used to control the reverberant characteristics for musical events that require a less reverberant environment, or for orchestra rehearsals when the presence of a full audience needs to be approximated. An adjustable canopy system balances the clarity and reverberance of performances, helps control the loudness of the sound, and - in conjunction with the curved acoustic reflectors - assists in cross-stage communication among musicians.