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Monday 10 Jan 2011

New York to get a top-flight rehearsal and recording facility for classical music

New York offers just about anything money can buy; but for the longest time, the city has been without a proper large-scale rehearsal space for classical music. That is about to change in March when the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, America’s foremost chamber orchestra, opens a new rehearsal and recording facility on Manhattan’s West Side.

Designed by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture and acoustic designer Akustiks, the $37m DiMenna Center for Classical Music will serve as the Orchestra’s first permanent home and also as a place for local orchestras and touring musicians.

The 20,000 sq ft facility is chock full of spaces capable of supporting activities ranging from individual and small group practices to full-orchestra recordings and global Webcasts.

The Center will also have a large orchestra rehearsal hall, chamber orchestra rehearsal, ensemble room, green room, two artist studios, learning and media center, a musicians’ lounge and café, a music library, resource center and instrument storage facility. The centerpiece of the facility is the Mary Flagler Cary Hall - a large hall that can accommodate rehearsals for recording sessions for a full symphony orchestra plus chorus.

One of the more challenging aspects of the project was achieving an optimum acoustical environment in the less than ideal surroundings. Located in Midtown, the building sits nearby the Lincoln Tunnel and below the Baryshnikov Arts Center.

To eliminate outside noise within the multi-storey building, the main rehearsal rooms were designed as a ‘box-in-a-box’ with each room floating on pads and springs inside an acoustic isolation box made of concrete and concrete block.

Throughout its first year, The DiMenna Center will host open rehearsals, community concerts and expanded education programs for Orchestra of St. Luke’s, along with a multitude of other musical organisations.

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