The Concourse

Music, Classical and opera Chatswood
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The Concourse

Chatswood's modern performance venue boasts great acoustics

The civic pride of Sydney’s concertgoers took a bashing in September 2011 when Limelight magazine published a survey of the acoustics of recital halls nationwide. Our world-famous Opera Theatre came in 20th in a field of 20. And its cavernous white-tiled Siamese twin, the SOH Concert Hall, came 18th. Even our dear City Recital Hall Angel Place, adored by local audiophiles, was beaten by the Perth Concert Hall and the Melbourne Recital Centre. Can there be no end to our shame?

Maybe. Now there’s a new kid on the block, or at least on the lower North Shore. Walk 250 metres from Chatswood station down to the end of the Victoria St pedestrian mall and you arrive at an elegant grey steel-and-glass structure that could be mistaken for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao’s straight-laced younger brother. Designed by Richard Francis-Jones, also the architect of the striking Surry Hills Library and Community Centre, and christened 'The Concourse,' it’s the new home of Willoughby City Council Library, but above the book stacks looms a large, airy performing arts centre beyond even the delusional aspirations of Mr G, including a 500-seat theatre where the Willoughby Theatre Company is playing The Boy from Oz.

The Concourse’s flagship is its 1,000 seat Concert Hall, designed in consultation with Marshall Day Acoustics. It’s equipped with sound-dampening drapes on the sides of the Dress Circle that can be lowered like Roman blinds to reduce reverberation from the lingering levels ideal for a chamber orchestra down to the crisp sound needed to keep syllables in speech and singing distinct. Plus it has a Wurlitzer organ.

Concert pianist Kathryn Selby, herself a WCC resident, was the first artist booked to play in the Concert Hall. She loves the “fine craftsmanship and warmth of the interior,” and the “gorgeous” new top-of-the line Steinway D-274 grand.

If our World Heritage-listed Opera House is seeming more show than substance, could this suburban hall equalize Sydney with Melbourne or even Perth? Only time will tell.

By: Jason Catlett

Posted:

Venue name: The Concourse
Contact:
Address: 409 Victoria Ave
Chatswood
2067
Transport: Nearby stations: Chatswood

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