Sergei Sobyanin: New multi-purpose hall in the House of Music ready for creative ideas

Sergei Sobyanin: New multi-purpose hall in the House of Music ready for creative ideas
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Yevgeny Samarin
The Hall may be used for rehearsals, professional sound recording, online concert broadcasts and musical and educational events.

Performance groups of the Moscow International House of Music (MIHM) now have a new multifunctional hall at their disposal. The opening ceremony was attended by Sergei Sobyanin and People's Artist of the USSR Vladimir Spivakov.

"Moscow and its House of Music now enjoy a new world-class cultural space for rehearsals, performances, recording, and online concert broadcasting," said Moscow Mayor.

Vladimir Spivakov expressed his gratitude to Moscow Mayor for his assistance in reconstruction. According to him, previously performance groups had only one rehearsal hall that could not accommodate everyone wishing to attend. "We have been hosting the sacred music festival together with Bishop Hilarion (Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk) for ten years now.  With one hundred people of orchestra and one hundred people of chorus, the hall was overcrowded. This new beautiful hall is a true miracle," Vladimir Spivakov said.

Under the guidance of conductor, the orchestra played selections from 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'The Nutcracker' ballets by Pyotr Tchaikovsky to demonstrate the new hall's acoustics.

The hall has been redeveloped from the ground floor rooms in block A, previously used for economic and warehouse needs. The repair took about two years.

The new hall is an irregular rectangle, 20х24 m and 9m high. Its total area is 978.8 sq m, with 747 m of stage space, and the rest is reserved for ancillary facilities such as foyer, cloakroom, instrument storage and control rooms.

The hall is primarily intended for rehearsals of instrumental, vocal and theatrical groups of all formats, from chamber to large (combined) ones. The hall’s stage accommodates about 120 musicians and 80 choristers.

Also, the hall can be a venue for performances with a small number of spectators, professional sound recording, concerts radio and online broadcasting, as well as theatrical performances, conferences, presentations, lectures and other musical and educational events.

Before the renovation, the House of Music had only one rehearsal hall used in turns by the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, the Moscow Virtuosi State Chamber Orchestra and the Moscow Russian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. With one more hall available, the creative activity of musical ensembles became much easier.

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Everything for perfect sound

BG Studio LLC, a developer of the new hall’s concept, applied the most cutting-edge and innovative technological solutions in the project: state-of-the-art transformable stage, stage lighting, variable acoustics, multi-channel sound amplification system, video projection and recording equipment.

The hall has an active sound control digital system to provide the best possible acoustic parameters for any musical ensemble and any piece of music.

It allows to optimise reverberation time (gradual decrease of sound intensity), correct acoustic shortcomings of the sound field, change the hall’s acoustics in order to adjust it to a particular genre, quickly change the acoustic parameters of the sound field for each performance in pauses between compositions, and create conditions for quality recording of symphonic and modern acoustic music in stereo, surround sound and other formats.

In order for musical groups to achieve perfect ensemble and pitch sounding, the hall is also equipped with an electro-acoustic sound correction system.

Thirty mechanical elevators (platforms) can be used to modify the stage's height and geometry. The ceiling has a multi-purpose technological grid for equipment to quickly change the layout of acoustic, lighting and other equipment for a particular event.

The video projection system can be used for artistic design of concerts and performances or film screenings and live online broadcasts.

Christie D4K3560 projectors and 7х9 m AV Stumf BMM-SC900 screen create an extremely realistic image. Closed circuit TV cameras are equipped with a remote control system.

Major Moscow cultural venue

The Moscow International House of Music opened in 2002 to become one of the major philharmonic centres in Russia and the world. An outstanding violinist and conductor, UNESCO Artist for Peace Vladimir Spivakov was among the initiators of its creation. He has been in charge of the MIHM for 17 years.

The House of Music became one of the centrepieces of the architectural ensemble on the Kosmodamianskaya Embankment. Thanks to its transparent facades, the lobby, foyer, stairs and passages of the building are filled with natural light, offering picturesque views of the Moskva River, Novospassky Monastery and urban landscapes. The House of Music's dome is crowned by an emblem, a weather vane made as a 9.5 m high treble clef weighing about 6 tons designed by Zurab Tsereteli.

Three halls of the House of Music, namely Svetlanovsky (1,699 seats), Chamber (556 seats) and Theatre (400 to 524 seats) Halls host concerts, performances, recitals, conferences, presentations, forums and other events of various formats.

The Svetlanovsky Hall boasts a unique 84-key organ, one of the largest in Europe. It was made by a consortium of world-famous Klais and Glatter-Götz (Germany), with Pavel Kravchun and organist Lyudmila Golub engaged as experts.

The gross weight of the instrument is 30 tons. It has four 61-key manual keyboards and a 32-key pedal board, and multiple auxiliary devices. The organ has about 6,000 pipes. It is over 14 m high, 10m wide and 3.6m deep. Its horizontal 'shamad' pipes set towards the hall make it even deeper ― 5m.

The organ’s largest pipes are about 10m high, with each of them weighing almost half a ton. The smallest pipes are only a few centimetres long.

Uniques and versatile

During the 17-year history of the House of Music, world opera stars such as Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Montserrat Caballé, Anna Netrebko, Jesse Norman, Renée Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Maria Gulegina and many others performed on its stage.

MIHM is a permanent concert venue for leading Russian orchestras, including the Moscow Virtuosi, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia conducted by Vladimir Spivakov, the Great Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Fedoseyev, the Svetlanov State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia conducted by Vladimir Yurovsky, the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra and the Moscow Soloists conducted by Yuri Bashmet.

The House of Music also hosts performances of famous European musical ensembles such as Camerata Salzburg, the  International Bach Academy Orchestra conducted by Helmuth Rilling, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Bach Orchestra, the National Orchestra of the Capitol of Toulouse and many others.

Another significant area of the House of Music activities is the City Music project. It represents classic and modern jazz, blues rock and other genres of contemporary musical culture.

Within this project, the House of Music hosted performances of Dee Dee Bridgewater, Larry Carlton, Cassandra Wilson and Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin and Сhick Corea, Igor Butman and Joey Defrancesco, Regina Carter, Gary Burton, Demis Roussos and Albano Carrisi, German Brass and Roomful of Blues, Tommy Emmanuel and The Swingle Singers, Michel Portal and Richard Galliano, Chris de Burgh and Cesaria Evora, Julio Iglesias and Lara Fabian, Candy Dulfer, Michel Legrand and Raimonds Pauls.

The House of Music has been a traditional venue for various festivals. Annually, it hosts the Christmas Festival of Sacred Music under the auspices of Metropolitan Hilarion and maître Vladimir Spivakov featuring the best choirs of Russia, Spain, Italy, France, Norway and the UK.

Other major festivals include Christmasfest, the Organ Music Festival and the Musical World Russia Open Festival of the Russian Federation Peoples.

In March 2019, the MIHM stage hosted the 3rd Vladimir Krainev Moscow International Piano Competition.  This competition is one of the most prestigious music forums for young European pianists.

In addition, the House of Music launches numerous classical, choral, jazz, theatre and dance projects, most of which have become annual and have their permanent audience. A special focus will be placed on various children's, family and educational programmes, concerts and performances.

Last year, the House of Music hosted 775 events attended by 567,100 people.