I’ve already mentioned the Fresno Philharmonic’s historic set of concerts this weekend, but it’s worth a follow-up. This will be the first time the Phil plays in the gorgeous Shaghoian Concert Hall, which has received acoustical raves. It will play an all-Beethoven program. I asked music director Theodore Kuchar if he’s looking forward to the venue. Here’s what he wrote to me:
Forget the fact that we are in Fresno. Wherever in the world the wonderful Shagoian Concert Hall would have been located, it is unquestionably one of the great venues with a seating capacity totaling nearly 800 seats. Aesthetically, I have rarely viewed a hall which exudes such class and good taste. Acoustically, when the Philharmonic and I rehearsed there for the first time the Orchestra had a sound which we had never heard, from ourselves, previously. Many of the world’s greatest orchestras – the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Dresden Staatskapelle, whose titles are directly associated with the concert hall they call “home” – have identities which are largely a product of the concert hall, or acoustic, of which they are residents.
The Fresno-based architectural firm of Darden Architects has created a venue of elite status. There is no question that each listener will be transformed by an orchestral sound they have yet to have experienced in Fresno. Not only does the wonderful acoustic enhance the sound produced by the Fresno Philharmonic but, more importantly, the entire aesthetic of the Shagoian Concert Hall inspires a sense of value and pride in each musician which results in an optimal personal commitment from the entire orchestra.
Joining the Phil will be Romanian-born pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa, who will play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. I plan to be there Saturday night.