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20 years of the Philharmonie Essen – outstanding acoustics and musical highlights

Culture & Event

The Philharmonie Essen is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year – a milestone that we warmly congratulate! Over the past two decades, the Philharmonie Essen has earned an outstanding reputation for its excellent acoustics and diverse programme. Twenty years ago, Müller-BBM Building Solutions, under the direction of acousticians Karlheinz Müller and Michael Prüfer, took over the building and room acoustics of the Philharmonie. Two years ago, we modernised the sound system to further perfect the sound experience in this extraordinary concert hall. We are happy about the connection to the house!

A festive concert in a class of its own

To mark the anniversary, visitors were treated to a very special programme: star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter presented a celebratory concert together with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Fabio Luisi. On 15 June 2024, the programme included a violin concerto by John Williams, the master of film music, and Gustav Mahler’s famous Fifth Symphony.

Panel discussions for the festival week

As part of the festive week “20 years of the Essen Philharmonie” from 10 to 14 June, panel discussions were held on various topics relating to the anniversary, moderated by music journalist Daniel Finkernagel. The discussion on construction and architecture, in which Karlheinz Müller (MBBM-BSO, acoustics) was one of the panellists, was particularly noteworthy. Together with Hans-Jürgen Best, the former top city planner and city director, Prof. Peter Busmann, the architect of the Philharmonie, and Jens Balke, Managing Director of W+P Gesellschaft für Projektrealisierung mbH, the special challenges and solutions relating to the acoustics and architecture of the concert hall were discussed.

Masterful acoustics for unforgettable concert experiences

The acoustics of the Philharmonie Essen are a key factor in the outstanding musical experiences offered here. An ascending auditorium ensures optimum sound distribution, while seats behind the podium and in three galleries create the necessary acoustic density. A ceiling sculpture and a sound sail form a room profile that guarantees excellent audibility.

Silence is an essential prerequisite for an optimal sound experience. To achieve this, extensive soundproofing measures were taken on façades, surrounding walls, roof structures, floor structures and entrance doors. External noise sources such as traffic noise and underground railway vehicles in the vicinity were taken into account in the acoustic planning.

Various methods were used to concretise the room acoustics of the sound development – from physical calculations and simulations to complex computer models and 1:1 samples. Particular attention was paid to ensuring that the listeners felt involved in the musical experience. This is achieved through ideal reverberation, powerful direct sound and strong early reflections, which enhance the clarity of the musical performance.

For 20 years, the Philharmonie Essen has thus offered an acoustic quality that makes every concert an unforgettable experience. Congratulations and here’s to many more sonorous years!

Image rights:
Column 1 top: MBBM-BSO, below: PR Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Column 2 top:: Volker Wiciok, below: Dieter Michel

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