Jay Pritzker Pavillion by Frank Gehry

02004-08-04 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

Two more photos from Robin.

The Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States visible from Michigan Avenue and beyond. The pavilion stands 120-feet high, with a billowing ‘headdress’ of stainless steel ribbons that frame the proscenium opening, connecting to an overhead trellis of crisscrossing steel pipes that define the lawn seating area. The Pavilion has 4,000 fixed seats and capacity for an additional 7,000 people on the lawn.

The Pavilion is named in memory of Chicago business leader Jay Pritzker, who with his wife Cindy, established the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1979. Ten years later, Frank Gehry was the 1989 Pritzker Prize Laureate.

Blah, blah, blah… but does it sound good? If you should go to a concert there, do please tell me about the acoustics – if one can still call it that.

1 Comment

  1. Len

    Last Saturday night, with perfect weather I went for the first time to the Pritzker Pavillion for a concert:

    Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus; National Collegiate Chorale of Scotland; Christopher Bell, Conductor; Colin Currie, Percussion; Nathan Berg, Bass-baritone

    CORIGLIANO – L’Invitation au Voyage
    MACMILLAN – Veni, Veni, Emmanuel
    WALTON – Belshazzar’s Feast

    After about 50 years at the predecessor parks, it was quite a change.. Gehry’s massive thunderclouds looming overhead. A massive concrete bunker containing the sound controls in the middle of the members seating section.

    At first, I sat in the front row of the free permanent seating, just behind and to the right of the bunker. The bunker wasn’t in the way, but the rake of the seating was just to shallow to see the front of the stage without moving my head from side to side to see around those in the last row of members seating.

    During the Macmillan piece that was a loss, because the percussionist had an incredible number of instruments spread across the vast stage.. Watching him was like watching a sporting event as he raced from one to another.

    But the sound was wonderful..open and clear. The chorus in the Coriglano was well balanced and sounded quite natural.

    After the intermission, I moved about a third of the way up into the members seating. The sightlines were perfect, but the amplfication was overwhelming, with the choir boosted over the orchestra at a level that made my ears buzz… [Perhaps that is why they passed out the text.] It was annoying to look over at the sound control guy in the bunker, tinkering with the soundboard and wonder what he was hearing. He probably became deaf years ago.

    Sitting in the members section it really felt like I was in a huge indoor auditorium. Much of the outdoor feel was lost, especially when I looked up at Ghery’s heavy metal monstrosity, which from there was directly overhead. But then Ghery admitted he never went to a Grant Park concert before. So perahps he doesn’t know what I was missing.(Will the thunderclouds provide shelter in the rain?)

    Still it was a wonderful evening… and good to be in Grant Park again, In spite of my grousing.



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