If you’re headed out to see an amazing concert, and the auditorium or concert hall it is taking place in is terrible, it won’t be a worthwhile experience. Very often, the conditions of concert halls and auditoriums are equally as important as the performance itself. There are so many concert halls scattered all over the globe, you’d need two lifetimes to visit them all. From Amsterdam, to London, to Los Angeles, the eight concert halls we’ve listed below are a cut above the rest.
Number Eight: The Helix – Dublin, Ireland. The Dublin Helix first opened in 2002, costing €36.5 million ($41 million), which is not as bad as you think. This concert hall consists of three different auditoriums: The Space, The Mahony Hall, and The Theatre. You can change out the seating arrangements in any given auditorium, which has hosted all sorts of shows, from operas, to standard rock concerts, to majestic ice shows. Sinead O’Connor, Van Morrison and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa are just three artists that have performed here.
Number Seven: Concertgebouw – Amsterdam, Netherlands. One of the world’s greatest concert halls, Concertgebouw literally translates to “concert building.” You’ll find this to be one of the most visited venues, with 700,000 people visiting every year; the space has also hosted upwards of an impressive 900 concerts. A keen eye saw that the entire building was sinking into the ground, but a large amount of fund-raising allowed for renovations thereafter. If you’re a fan of classic rock, it should be noted that The Who, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd performed here in the ’60s.
Number Six: Royal Albert Hall – London, England. Queen Victoria opened the door to the Royal Albert Hall, named after her husband Bobby Hall, on March 29, 1871. One of London’s finest achievements, Royal Albert Hall seats up to 5,272 people for all kinds of performance and diverse shows. Some of the most well known names in science, political, and music history have taken the stage: Ella Fitzgerald, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and The Dalai Lama just to name a few.
Number Five: Philharmonie – Berlin, Germany. When in Berlin, taking a gander at the magnificent architecture of Berlin’s Philharmonie is a smart move. Like many of the best concert halls, it is known for its acoustics and was completed in 1963. It consists of two venues, with the main hall seating 2,440, and a chamber music hall which can hold 1,180 people. During the second World War, the original Philharmonie was bombed by the British and destroyed; however, it was subsequently rebuilt. Even in 2008 when the roof of the building was damaged by a fire and the interior sustained water damage, it was back to normal and selling out concerts within a month.
Number Four: Vienna Musikverein – Vienna, Austria. Also known as the “Great Hall,” Musikverein is one of the world’s best concert halls, located in the Innere Stadt borough of Vienna, Austria. The Great Hall was constructed as a concert hall run by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in 1863. Danish architect Theophil Hansen had a hand in the overall design, gaining influence from the Neoclassical style of an ancient Greek temple. The Golden Hall is a room that seats 1,744 and has standing room for 300. This particular room is great for sound reflection, given the room’s rectangular shape and proportions along with the room’s sculptures.
Number Three: Walt Disney Concert Hall – Los Angeles, United States. You can ask any expert, and they’ll tell you that it’s the acoustics that truly make the concert halls great. Therefore, Frank Gehry’s fantastically designed Walt Disney Concert Hall not only looks amazing, but it sounds like pure heaven. The doors for this concert hall first swung open in 2003, when it was described by the Music Director of the L.A. Philharmonic as “one of the most successful grand openings of a concert hall in American history.” The Hall’s reverberation time (the persistence of sound after a sound is produced, almost like an echo) is 2.2 seconds when unoccupied and 2.0 seconds when occupied. Impressive.
Number Two: Carnegie Hall – New York City, United States. Architect William Burnet Tuthill and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie put their brains together in 1891 and designed one of the greatest, most prestigious concert halls in the world: Carnegie Hall. Some of the greatest and most talented artists in the world come to perform in this hall, representing a pinnacle of success and achievement. Aside from the three performance spaces, there are also banquet spaces that are available for rent.
Number One: Sydney Opera House – Sydney, Australia. The Sydney Opera House remains one of the most recognizable buildings in the world, not to mention the absolute best location to hear live music. The massive and gorgeous building was first designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, who proceeded to create seven performance venues of various shapes and sizes. The biggest performance venue in the Sydney Opera House is the Concert Hall, which holds close to 2,500 people. Nicknamed “The House,” this concert hall is always busy; it hosts more than 1,500 performances each year and boasts an annual audience of nearly 1.2 million people. The House consists of the Drama Theater, the Playhouse, the Concert Hall, Studio, Joan Sutherland Theatre, Utzon Room, Recording Studio and the Outdoor Forecourt. It is, indeed, a stunning masterpiece.