Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
|Capacity||1,500 (Grand Auditorium)|
|Opened||26 June 2005|
|Architect||Christian de Portzamparc|
The Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte Concert Hall (French: Salle de concerts grande-duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte, German: Konzertsaal Großherzogin Joséphine-Charlotte) is a concert hall located on the Kirchberg plateau in the City of Luxembourg. Opened in 2005, it now plays host to 400 performances each year and is one of the main concert halls in Europe.
The inspiration for constructing a concert hall in Luxembourg is closely linked to the old RTL Symphonic Orchestra, now known as the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra (OPL - Orchestre philharmonique du Luxembourg). With the privatisation of RTL in 1992, the channel was no longer obliged to support an orchestra. The Luxembourg State decided to take the orchestra over and place it in the responsibility of an establishment specially created for this purpose, the Henri Pensis Foundation. This step acted as the catalyst for political action in favour of ensuring the construction of a suitable concert hall.
In 1995, Luxembourg was nominated European Capital of Culture. The great success of this initiative demonstrated the need for cultural facilities to be further developed. In the same year, the Luxembourg Parliament made the decision to construct, amongst other new structures, a concert hall.
In 1997, Christian de Portzamparc’s project was selected at the end of the international architectural competition launched by the Administration for Public Buildings. The construction work for the new concert hall was carried out between spring 2002 and summer 2005.
On 26 June 2005, the Philharmonie opened its doors to the public for the first time. 222 young musicians from different bands in Luxembourg participated in the creation of a sound installation by composer Renald Deppe. With two other creations performed on the same afternoon, this piece of work marked the start of 8 days of festivities, during which 750 musicians performed in front of more than 15,000 visitors.
On the evening of 26 June, the Salle de Concerts Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte was officially opened in the presence of the Grand Duke Henri, high-profile representatives of the State and guests of honour from Luxembourg and abroad in an official ceremony to mark the end of Luxembourg’s presidency of the Council of the European Union. In a world premiere, the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra performed Symphony No. 8 by Krzysztof Penderecki, commissioned by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for the occasion.
Architecture and acoustics
Architect Christian de Portzamparc’s initial idea was to mark the entrance into the world of music through a natural filter. This idea became reality in the form of 823 facade columns made of white steel, arranged in three or four rows. The interior row of columns containing technical facilities, the second supporting the windows, and the third being of a static nature.
Between the filter of columns and the central nucleus, a vast peristyle constitutes the foyer, enveloping the Grand Auditorium. Ramps, stairs and footways lead into the concert hall, surrounding it and linking it to the boxes.
The Salle de Musique de Chambre, the ticket office and access to the underground car park are not within the main building, but are next to it outside within two aluminium-covered shells which lean against the filter of columns.
The acoustic design of the three halls is the work of Chinese-born acoustician Albert Yaying Xu with AVEL Acoustique [Jean-Paul Lamoureux et Jérôme Falala].
Designed on the concept of a «shoebox», the Grand Auditorium has a volume of almost 20,000 m3 and can welcome up to 1,500 listeners. To overcome the constraints of a rectangular room and to meet optimal acoustic conditions, eight towers of boxes are located around the stalls in an irregular fashion and contribute to uniform sound distribution. Like in Shakespearian theatre, the public is involved in the show with a stage visible from all sides and a choir area that can be adapted into additional seating.
The reverberation time is 1.5 to 2 seconds. The acoustics can be adapted to different musical demands, thanks to the flexibility of the stage curtains and the installation of an adjustable acoustic reflector composed of three parts. Situated above the stage, the reflector directs the sound towards the public and enables the musicians to hear each other better.
The technical design of the stage, with 21 modifiable platforms, allows for numerous stage variations depending on the formation of the concert.
Salle de Musique de Chambre
The Salle de Musique de Chambre (Chamber Music Hall) can welcome up to 313 people. Two rounded walls in the shape of a shell and the reflector placed above the stage guarantee optimal sound distribution. Visitors access the hall through the walkway running alongside the curved wall.
Situated in the basement of the Philharmonie, the Espace Découverte (Discovery Space) stands out with its technical equipment and great versatility, and can welcome up to 180 people. Its acoustics can be modified thanks to removable walls. This space is used for experimental and electronic music, projects in the fields of film, art or video, for workshops, and for a large number of concerts and performances for children and young people.
The administrative structure of the Philharmonie is outlined in the 21 November 2002 law relating to the construction of a public establishment named Salle de Concerts Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte. The President of the Board of Directors is Pierre Ahlborn, and the Managing Director is Stephan Gehmacher.
Orchestra in residence
Since its opening, the Philharmonie has been the home of the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra in permanent residence, of which Emmanuel Krivine has been its musical director and conductor since 2006.
In November 2005, the Philharmonie joined the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO). As a member of this network bringing together the largest European concert halls, the Philharmonie notably organises the 'Rising Stars' series in which young musicians sponsored by the network are invited to perform in the various halls.
Since the launch of its first season in September 2005, the Philharmonie Luxembourg has welcomed international artists as part of a varied programme:
A large part of the programme also revolves around public concerts for the young, with different series of shows adapted to each age group, given in several languages (depending on the show: French, German, Luxembourgish):
- 1.2..3…music (0–3 years)
- Loopino (3–5 years)
- Philou (9–12 years)
- Miouzik (9–12 years)
Two festivals are linked to the Philharmonie:
- rainy days: hosted since 2005 by the Philharmonie, this contemporary music festival takes place each year in November
- Luxembourg Festival: organised in collaboration with the Grand Théâtre of the City of Luxembourg since 2007, it takes place at the beginning of the new season.
Furthermore, the Philharmonie also welcomes many concerts and events run by external organisers.
In 2009, more than 400 shows were performed at the Philharmonie.
- List of concert halls
- The information contained in this article is partly from the brochure «Philharmonie Luxembourg», edited by the Ministry for Public Works / Administration for Public Buildings (2005) and from the Philharmonie Luxembourg 2008 Company Report.
- Agence France Presse (2009-05-18). "Emmanuel Krivine prolongé à la tête de l'orchestre du Luxembourg". Tageblatt (in French). Retrieved 2009-07-12.[dead link]
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