The Hamburg-based company Emporis recently released a list of what they consider the 15 most spectacular concert halls around the world. Their criteria was that the concert halls should be just as spectacular on the eyes as the music is on the ears.
The stunning architecture offers audiences a spectacular visual show even before they enter the halls themselves. In fact, the more modern concert halls seem to be at the forefront of amazing architectural achievement, providing a stunning setting for the operas and concerts that they contain.
The List of the 15 Most Beautiful Concert Halls in the World
This is the list as it appears in no particular order.
Heydar Aliyev Center – Azerbaijan
Kilden Performing Arts Centre – Norway
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts – USA
Philharmonie – Germany
Auditorio de Tenerife Adan Martin – Spain
Cidade das Artes – Brazil
Esplanade Concert Hall – Singapore
El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia – Spain
Harpa – Iceland
MUMUTH – Austria
National Centre for Performing Arts – China
Sage Gateshead – UK
Uppsala Konsert & Kongress – Sweden
Walt Disney Concert Hall – USA
Casa da Musica – Portugal
For the most part, the list centers on concert halls that are relatively recent in construction. However, the famous Philiharmonie in Berlin was completed back in 1963, making it a forerunner of some of the most beautiful and technically dazzling concert halls that are now more commonplace in the world today.
Another highlight is the remarkable Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan which seems like it was poured into the landscape rather than built. The impressive wave-like shape and dramatic walls are powerfully represented and provide a very impressive structure for the concerts that the building contains.
The United States gets two entries along with Spain thanks in part to the spectacular Walt Disney Concert Hall which is befitting of the many fantasy elements Disney has produced over the years.
The One that Didn’t Make the List
One curious omission is arguably the most famous, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, although it is mentioned in the report. For many years, the Sydney Opera House stood as arguably the most spectacular of concert halls, particularly when combined with its setting next to the ocean. So famous the concert hall that Sydney is now often identified around the world when its Opera House is seen in many movies, TV programs, advertisements and so forth.
However, one of the more interesting aspects of the list is just how long it took some of these concert halls to be constructed, such as the 14 years it took to complete the Sydney Opera House. In Hamburg, the Elbphilharmonie is scheduled for completion in 2016, a full nine years after it was started.
While the list is by no means devoid of controversy, particularly the lack of the Sydney Opera House, it does reveal just how concert halls now stand at the forefront of dramatic architectural design which many only hint at what might be expected in the future.