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Vail Valley’s acoustical accoutrements

Kris Sabel
Vail Valley, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado “-One of the joys of working at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek in Colorado’s Vail Valley are the almost-daily accolades we hear about the theater. Comments like “the acoustics in here are great” or “wow, there is not a bad seat in this house.” We appreciate these comments and I think we are indeed fortunate to have such a wonderful venue in our community. What many people may not know is that the theater is one of the best in the country for live, un-amplified sound ” such as classical music concerts.

A number of factors contribute to making the venue perfect for experiencing classical music. But foremost are the acoustics. To enhance the acoustics for a classical performance, we remove the fabric panels from the walls of the auditorium, exposing specially-designed wood baffles that, along with the rest of the wood surfaces in the hall, help the sound to resonate and filter evenly to every seat in the house. A custom-designed orchestra shell and ceiling extends these acoustical properties around the performers to further enhance the experience for the players onstage ” which translates to a vastly improved experience for everyone in the hall, from the musicians to the audience.

You can experience the effects of these design elements first-hand on Sunday evening when we present the Estonia National Symphony Orchestra (ENSO) at 6:30 p.m. The ENSO is one of the last great eastern European orchestras that has not performed in the U.S., and we are fortunate to be a part of this special inaugural American tour.



The evening’s program includes Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major and Arvo Pärt’s Summa.

The orchestra will be led by conductor Nikolai Alexeev ” a huge name throughout Europe and Russia. His musical resume reads like roll call for all the best major European and Russian ensembles, including The St. Petersburg Philharmonic, The Russian National Orchestra and the the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.



Joining the orchestra for the Rachmaninoff Concerto is Joyce Yang. Ms. Yang won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, where she was the youngest participant. Since then, Yang has performed with many major orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Chicago Symphony and many others. Conductor Lorin Mazel has taken special interest in her career, and she has performed locally as part of the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival under his direction.

The variety of the repertoire for the concert provides a great opportunity to experience the diversity of the acoustics in the hall. From the soft sounds of the solo piano to the sweeping tempest of the 100-piece orchestra and every nuance in between, I encourage you to come see and hear these incredible artists in all their splendor.

The theater is also perfectly designed for dance. From an audience perspective, the slope of the auditorium floor and the small number of seats provide almost perfect sight-lines to experience every move of every dancer.



While the auditorium’s intimacy is a draw for the viewers, the stage is large enough to accommodate the needs of most companies. The result is an incredibly high level of experience for everyone.

And there is no better company to experience this kind of up-close-and-personal vantage point with than Complexions Contemporary Ballet. They make their much-anticipated Vilar Center debut on March 26 at 7:30 p.m.

The cutting-edge choreography, breathtaking and athletic dancers, multi-media savvy and overall genius of this modern ballet troupe is unrivaled.

But don’t take my word on any of this ” please come to the theatre for these tremendous performances. I look forward to seeing you at the Vilar Center.


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