After over 100 years at Lothringerstraße 18, the Department of Piano (formerly the Department of Keyboard Instruments—i.e., piano, piano vocal accompaniment, harpsichord, and organ) has moved to the mdw Campus at Anton-von-Webern-Platz.

Up to now, the recital hall that we’ve used most has been the Liszt-Saal on the Lothringerstraße building’s third upper level, where many thousand (or hundred-thousand?) hours of music-making have taken place. These many hours have witnessed examinations, recitals, hearings, and both internal and external events, all of which contributed to the lasting memories, history, and atmosphere of that hall. From triumph to tragedy, the range of experiences was broad indeed.

However, the Liszt-Saal was far from perfect. One of this hall’s problems was how traffic noise was often heard in the background. And just recently, I also happened to notice water damage on the ceiling when, for whatever reason, I glanced upward during a very beautifully played Chopin ballade.

For all of these reasons, I was really looking forward to the concert hall in our new building, and it even proved possible to help determine some of the relevant details in conversations with the Future Art Lab’s architects.

Just like the Liszt-Saal has up to now, this new hall will form the “heart” of our department—and it’s also at the absolute centre of our new building, surrounded by the individual classrooms.

The new hall is quite pleasing in terms of its appearance. And though it isn’t very large, it’s ideally designed for its intended purpose. Foremost among the employed materials is very tastefully selected, high quality wood. And since we often need to move our concert grands around, we requested that an elevated stage be done without—so what we now have is a larger, floor-level stage area overlooked by upward-sloping audience seating.

Due to the room’s greater height, the acoustic is quite good and considerably more “spatial” than that of the Liszt-Saal. However, we don’t yet have any real-life experience with it, since the new hall hasn’t been officially performed in so far. The first time I tried it out myself, I had a very good, warm feeling while playing—and especially when playing positioned farther towards the stage area’s back wall, it almost sounded like a far larger space.

It’s now up to our students to fill the as yet entirely blank acoustic canvas here with colour and life through their playing, thanks to which we’ll certainly be experiencing memorable times and performances in this hall, as well! And who knows: perhaps, after a while, we’ll also come up with a fitting name for it…

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