© Ennead Architects Artist rendering of the Bing Concert Hall

First acts announced for opening of Stanford's much-anticipated Bing Concert Hall

The first performers at the Bing are expected to establish the hall as one of the preeminent concert venues in Northern California and a model for the intersection of performance and curriculum.

Within a year's time, the much-anticipated Bing Concert Hall will open to the public with a week of distinguished and spirited performances that promise to showcase the exceptional acoustics of the venue. After several months of testing, tuning and tweaking this fall, the Bing will throw its doors open on Jan. 11, 2013, to host a week-long celebration with ticketed and free performances. Among the first performers to launch the new concert hall will be the San Francisco Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Los Lobos and Stanford's ensemble in residence, the St. Lawrence String Quartet.

The opening events in January foreshadow the roster of performers to come in the inaugural season, including pianists Emanuel Ax and Jon Nakamatsu, cellist Yo-Yo Ma with pianist Kathryn Stott, and percussionist Glenn Kotche. Bing audiences will be the first in the world to hear new works by renowned composers commissioned and created especially for the opening season.

In addition to the list of eminent visiting performers already scheduled at the Bing, Stanford's faculty and student musicians plan to be regulars at the hall, including the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus and the composers and researchers at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), widely known for its iPhone and laptop orchestras.

"The intimacy of the Bing's design emphasizes the value we place upon the shared experience of live performance, whether one is a visitor, a performer, or an audience member," said Jenny Bilfield, artistic and executive director of Stanford Lively Arts.

The full opening season will be announced this spring, with subscription sales beginning soon after.

Arts district anchor

The distinctive design of the Bing stands out on campus and in the larger performing arts landscape. It is a state-of-the-art facility that will serve Stanford and the surrounding community and function as an anchor for the new arts district.

The 844-seat hall – designed by Ennead Architects with acoustic design by Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics and theatrical design by Fisher Dachs Associates – will provide a platform for a broad range of live performances, including newly created works and innovative modes of presentation in an intimate, technologically sophisticated setting.  

In support of the university's broader mission of placing the arts at the heart of a university education, the hall and its 2,300-square-foot rehearsal studio will support the teaching and study of music and other performing arts. It will function as a hub both for the integration of performance and curriculum and for engagement with the Bay Area community at large.

"Not only will the hall provide a new venue in the Bay Area for a wide range of performances, but also it will accentuate the intersection of programming with the research and teaching mission of Stanford and engage the community – being situated at the gateway to campus – as an accessible arts destination," said Wiley Hausam, the managing director of the Bing Concert Hall.

Arts are the gateway

The Bing is the first of three buildings scheduled to open in the next three years that will define the new arts district on campus. The Anderson Collection at Stanford (opening in 2014) and the McMurtry art and art history building (opening in 2015), along with the new concert hall, will join the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery, the Cantor Arts Center and Memorial Auditorium to form the university's arts district.

The arts district radiates from Palm Drive and is easily accessible to local visitors and those coming from nearby highways. The name of the hall honors major supporters Helen and Peter Bing, '55.

Friday, Jan. 11: The opening night concert will be a celebratory event featuring the San Francisco Symphony conducted by music director Michael Tilson Thomas; Stanford's ensemble in residence, the St. Lawrence String Quartet; a choral dedication with the Stanford Chamber Chorale and students from the Stanford Philharmonia; and a processional by Stanford Taiko, the student performing ensemble devoted to the art of Japanese drumming.

In honor of Stanford's leadership in sound technology, composers from CCRMA will use the hall's audio and theater systems for a series of fanfares comprising innovative sound installation and design.  Simulcasts will beam the concert live into other venues across campus.

Saturday, Jan. 12: A daylong community event has been designed to welcome the public and present a rich array of campus arts entities and long-standing community partners and artists.  Free activities featuring Stanford ensembles and student-curated performances will provide a microcosm of an entire season, with special emphasis on interactivity and participation.  The evening will culminate with two ticketed hour-long performances by the Grammy-winning, roots-rock group Los Lobos.

Sunday, Jan. 13: On Sunday afternoon the talents of Stanford's musicians will be on display with a matinee performance by the Grammy-nominated St. Lawrence String Quartet, followed by an evening concert featuring Stanford Department of Music ensembles and chamber groups, including the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and others.

Wednesday, Jan. 16: Stanford welcomes Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, an internationally renowned early music ensemble based in the Bay Area, for its debut performance in the hall as part of a new collaboration for the inaugural season.

Matthew Tiews, executive director of arts programs: (650) 725-0186, mtiews@stanford.edu

Robert Cable, Lively Arts: (650) 736-0091, rcable@stanford.edu

Robin Wander, Stanford News Service: (650) 724-6184, robin.wander@stanford.edu