Arranging Davies Symphony Hall acoustic panels a delicate task

Posted on: January 8, 2010

In Thursday’s (1/7) San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman writes, “The acoustic panels swim into view before each performance by the San Francisco Symphony, and the dance they do above the stage of Davies Symphony Hall—a sort of mechanized aerial ballet as each one finds its precise location—has become a familiar ritual of local musical life. But for all its grace and apparent ease, this is a dance whose steps are rigidly predetermined. The configuration of the 59 panels—each one a 6-foot square of Plexiglas weighing about 100 pounds—is dictated by the number of performers onstage and their position. There’s one setting for chamber groups, another one for full orchestra, yet another for solo pianist, and so on—about 30 in all. And the settings often change in midstream from one piece to the next. … The settings are planned in advance by the Symphony’s operations staff during its weekly tech meeting, then relayed to the house electrician, Jim Jacobs.”

Posted January 8, 2010