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Architecture for Music: Royal Albert Hall

This is the Sunday Series, a peek of things in the art music world.

Music has a close bound with architecture for quite some time. Concert halls and opera houses are also the ones which effects the music and also effected by music. These structures are devoted to music, from within them we witness the grow of musical arts.

This series presents the beauty of the structure, in which music creativity flows abundantly.



Royal Albert Hall or Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871. It was named Royal Albert after her deceased husband, Prince Albert.


This was one of the largest indoor performance space in United Kingdom which could hold up to 8000 spectators. But current safety considerations had reduced the capacity of this major building to 5540, including those who stand at the gallery.


The official opening ceremony of the Royal Albert Hall was on 29 March 1871. After a welcoming speech by Edward, the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria was too overcome to speak, so the Prince had to announce that “The Queen declares this Hall is now open”. A concert followed, when the Hall’s acoustic problems became immediately apparent.

These were not properly tackled until 1969 when a series of large fibreglass acoustic diffusing discs (commonly referred to as “mushrooms” or “flying saucers”) were installed in the roof to cut down the notorious echo. It used to be said that the hall was the only place where a British composer could be sure of hearing his work twice.

~from wikipedia


[The renovation in 1996-2004] included a major rebuilding of the great organ, originally built by “Father” Henry Willis, subsequently rebuilt by Harrison & Harrison and most recently rebuilt by Mander Organs; The organ is now again the second largest pipe organ in the British Isles with 9,999 pipes [after Liverpool Cathedral organ].


Now the hall is used primarily as a live events such as rock concert, classical music concert, ballet and even opera. Usually ballet and opera uses the center of the hall as the 4-sides stage, surrounded by the terraced spectators seatings. This hall is also used for the Promenade concerts or Proms. Usually The Last Night of the Proms event are held in this very building. Some college and university also uses this space for their graduation ceremony.



About mikebm (1339 Articles)
An arts journalist, a conductor, an educator, a young arts manager whose passion drove him to leave a multinational IT cooperation to study Arts Administration and Cultural Policy in London and went back to Indonesia to build the scene there.

2 Comments on Architecture for Music: Royal Albert Hall

  1. Johanna Regina Aliandoe // 16 Februari 2013 pukul 2:09 am //

    Nice post, Mike…!

  2. That is sick!! It amazes me that this keeps happening time and time again in todays day and age. I was relieved I am sat down. The gaffers know about the future. Lets see the problem to this.

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