News 15-08 (No.332)
Issued : August 25, 2015
La Jolla Music Society Selects Architect and Acoustical Consultant for The Conrad
By Motoo Komoda
Rendering of Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center
500-Seat Concert Hall
Californiaʼs La Jolla neighborhood is located 15 minutes by car from downtown San Diego and boasts one of the most affluent communities in the United States. Luxurious homes, museums, hotels, restaurants, art galleries and boutiques dot the hills and line the waterfront. The neighborhoodʼs seaside vistas became known worldwide from the Beach Boysʼ hit “Surfinʼ USA” and a number of resorts cater to out-of-town visitors year-round. The University of California at San Diego maintains a campus in La Jolla, giving it the added distinction of being a college town.
<< History and Activities of La Jolla Music Society >>
La Jolla Music Society (LJMS) was established by local residents in 1941. The societyʼs website states that the mission of LJMS is “to enhance the vitality and deepen the cultural life of San Diego by presenting and producing a dynamic range of performing arts for our increasingly diverse community.”
<< La Jolla Music Societyʼs Annual SummerFest >>
Every summer, LJMS holds the chamber music festival “SummerFest”. LJMS held its first SummerFest in 1986 with Japanese conductor Maestro Heiichiro Ohyama in the role of artistic director. Maestro Ohyama continued as the festivalʼs artistic director to 1997. The festivalʼs performers have included Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo-Ma among a long list of internationally acclaimed musicians.
Currently, SummerFestʼs main venue is Sherwood Auditorium at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Other locations include libraries and parks. In addition to chamber music concerts, the festival program offers family concerts, art exhibitions, workshops, discussions, lectures and seminars. This year, the festival ran from August 5 through 28 under the artistic direction of virtuoso violinist and conductor Cho-Liang Lin. In addition to Mr. Lin, a total of 80 artists and ensembles performed.
<< “The Conrad” Project >>
LJMS has embarked on a project to build the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center̶affectionately known as “The Conrad”. The Conrad will become the main venue for LJMS performances, including SummerFest. Plans for the new facility show a 500-seat concert hall, a 150-seat multipurpose space called the “Cabaret”, three rehearsal rooms, office space for LJMS and other support spaces such as piano storage.
Programming for The Conrad envisions a broad spectrum of events and activities that will benefit the local surrounding community both culturally and economically. In addition to concerts, the facility will be home to LJMS expanded daytime educational lectures, demonstrations and performances for children and students. The space will also be available for meetings and even weddings. Local hotels will be able to coordinate use of the facility with use of their accommodations.
<< The Concert Hallʼs Room Acoustics Design >>
Concert Hall First Floor Seating Plan
For the 500-seat concert hall, LJMS specifically chose a design concept that will maximize the sense of intimacy between audience and performers. Instead of a configuration where the stage and audience simply face each other, the audience seating will have the opportunity for multiple views in a horseshoe configuration that will enhance the visual feeling of the audience being near the stage.
The design for the concert hallʼs interior walls specifies a ribbed, acoustically transparent surface that acoustically connects the hall interior to the more rectangular space beyond the hallʼs visible footprint. In the accompanying drawing of the first floor seating plan, the portion shown with a white background represents the true spatial volume of the hall and the horseshoe-shaped line shows the perimeter that will be visible to the human eye. The hallʼs building has a height constraint and our design mitigates that constraint by achieving the largest possible amount of spatial volume. Visually, the horseshoe configuration enhances the sense of intimacy inside a physical “shoebox” configuration that acoustically enhances the hallʼs spatial volume.
Programming for the concert hall anticipates that the venue will be used for a variety of events and performance genres beyond classical chamber music. To adapt to diverse acoustical needs, the upper portions of almost all of the hallʼs walls will have electrically operated sound-absorbing curtains and the wall at the rear of the stage will have manually-operated sound-absorbing curtains. The hallʼs interior design keeps the presence of the curtains unobtrusive while enabling the hallʼs acoustics to be adjusted to suit each performance and event.
<< Project Team >>
The Conradʼs architect is Epstein Joslin Architects of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Among the lead architectʼs accomplishments is Seiji Ozawa Hall. Nagata Acoustics serves as the acoustical consultant on the entire project, focusing on room acoustics, sound isolation and noise prevention. The largest space, the Concert Hall, has been the most challenging and has received the majority of our effort.
Currently the project is in the design phase with the project progressing towards an autumn, 2017 completion. LJMS plans to inaugurate the hall with the 2018 SummerFest.
For more information about The Conrad, please visit its website at http://www.theconrad.org/
Studio Berceau Opens in Chigasaki ̶ A Venue with a Mission to Support the Arts in Shonan Region
By Ayako Hakozaki
Le Berceau Building
In the summertime, when people in Japan hear the place name “Chigasaki” they think of the Shonan beaches of Kanagawa Prefecture where surfers enjoy the waves and other seaside summer activities, and where locals and visitors come to enjoy Hamaori Festival and evenings of fireworks. Surfing, festivals and fireworks might make Chigasaki seem to be a destination for mostly outdoor activities. In fact, the town has also long nurtured the arts and cultural activities, especially since the Meiji Era (1868 – 1912) when the addition of railroad transportation to the town made it a prime location for the summer villas.
In May of this year, on Chigasakiʼs trendy Arukonado Minami Hon-Dori shopping street, a new building opened with a facility that gives Chigasaki residents and visitors a new music venue. The new Le Berceau Building is conveniently located just a minute or two walk from the south exit of Chigasaki Station. Of key interest from a cultural perspective is the Studio Berceau art space inside Le Berceau Building. (By the way, “Berceau” means “cradle” in French.)
Chigasaki resident Michiko Kosugi presides over Studio Berceauʼs planning, development and programming. Ms. Kosugi actively supports the arts in the Shonan region and says itʼs been a dream of hers to set up a space that will nurture the growth of the next generation of Shonan music enthusiasts and performers. To this end, Ms. Kosugi established Studio Berceau Friends Society and serves as its chairperson.
The Studio Berceau project architect was the locally renowned Yoh Architects & Associates, which has as its principal Mr. Yoichiro Yamaguchi. The firm of Yoh Architects & Associates also designed Chigasaki City Museum of Art and Fujisawa Lyra Hall in nearby Fujisawa City. Takumi Corporation served as the general contractor. Nagata Acousticsʼ primary role on the project was the acoustical design and consulting services of Studio A.
<< Studio Berceau Project Highlights >>
Le Berceau Building has 5 floors. Floors 1 through 3 have restaurants, beauty salons and other shops. Studio Berceau uses floors 4 and 5. The top (fifth) floor has Studio Berceauʼs Studio A, which is a mini concert hall with movable seating for 95 persons. The mini concert hall has its own grand piano. On the fourth floor is Studio B̶a music salon that is equipped with an electric grand piano as well as a kitchen. When Studio A is used for a concert, Studio B can be used as Studio Aʼs foyer and the kitchen of Studio B used to prepare food and drinks for a pre-concert or after-concert party.
As part of our preparations for the room acoustics design of Studio A, we learned about Ms. Kosugiʼs vision for the studio. During this process, we discovered that she wanted the studio to have appropriate acoustics for a variety of music genres and we also learned that one of her personal favorites is the chanson. She naturally wanted to include this music genre as one that would be performed in the studio. Accordingly, we aimed to design the space for use across the acoustically diverse range of genres from those that use acoustical instruments to chansons accompanied by audio equipment. To this end, in addition to making the roomʼs ceiling the highest possible height, we added sound-absorbing, retractable curtains at the rear of the stage and along the side walls of the room. The curtains can be used to control the roomʼs reverberation characteristic.
In addition to designing the studioʼs room acoustics, we implemented an anti-vibration and sound-isolating structural design in Studio A. This design prevents vibrations caused by Tokaido Main Line trains that run nearby and also prevents sound generated in the studio from leaking down into the spaces on lower floors of the building.
<< Studio Berceau Opening Ceremony and Inaugural Concert >>
Mr. and Mrs. Kosugi
Cello Performance by
Ms. Urara Urakawa (cello) and
Ms. Kuniko Watanabe (piano)
At the opening ceremony held in mid-May, Ms. Kosugi took the stage and talked about her experiences during the two years leading up to the realization of her dream music space sharing personal memorable moments and episodes that occurred during the project. She spoke about the support of her husband, Mr. Yoshio Kosugi, who, two years ago, agreed to sponsor the project. She also recalled her first encounters with architect Yoichiro Yamaguchi. His architectural values matched those of Ms. Kosugi and she gladly entrusted the architectural design of Studio Berceau to him.
Mr. Kosugi also spoke to the attendees. He provided insight into his wifeʼs many interests that include the Japanese tea ceremony, dressmaking, French language study and other pursuits and he talked about their shared desire to contribute to nurturing the next generation and to create a venue where people can spend peaceful interludes listening to music performances.
An inaugural concert followed the opening ceremony. A soprano performed songs and habanera by Japanese composer Yoshinao Nakada (1923 – 2000) and a female vocalist sang pieces with mariachi and tango melodies. One of the beautiful things about a small venue can be the way the energy of a singing voice fully reaches the audienceʼs ears. In Studio Berceauʼs Studio A, this is eminently true for both the sopranoʼs and female vocalistʼs performances.
The concert included a cello performance of Swan Lake cello excerpts and Hungarian Rhapsodies. The tones of the cello in this hall exceeded my expectations, creating a memorable experience. Ms. Kuniko Watanabe played the piano accompaniment for the cello performance and she also spoke to the audience about the studioʼs piano selection, explaining that the selection process might best be described as a “piano search journey”. Together with Ms. Kosugi and the piano tuner, the 3-person selection “committee” traveled time and again to test pianos, only to find each one either too large or small in size, sound or other aspect. They continued to search for the right piano without much luck until an acquaintance introduced them to an available 1961-vintage, small Bösendorfer grand piano. The Bösendorferʼs warm and dignified tone, size and proportions pleased Ms. Kosugi, Ms. Watanabe and the piano tuner and the instrument was installed in its new home to the delight of all.
<< A Future of Valuing Ongoing Personal Encounters >>
The stories and memories told at the opening ceremony and inaugural concert brought home to me how a series of personal encounters and relationships made this venue possible and defines its special character. I wouldnʼt be surprised at all if, over time, personal encounters between performers and concert attendees become one of the hallmarks of this space.
The small scale of this mini concert hall makes it a user-friendly venue for music hobbyists and aficionados alike. A website for the venue is currently under construction. In the meantime, for more information the Studio Berceau Friends Society can be contacted by phone at +81-70-6542-5728.
Nagata Acoustics Inc.
Hongo Segawa Bldg. 3F, 2-35-10 Hongo
Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Tel: +81-3-5800-2671, Fax: +81-3-5800-2672
1990 S. Bundy Drive, Suite 795
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: +1-310-231-7878, Fax: +1-310-231-7816
75, avenue Parmentier
Tel: +33 (0)1 40 21 44 25, Fax: +33 (0)1 40 21 24 00