The best sound possible was the endgame, which is why
Rockport Music hired acoustician R. Lawrence Kirkegaard
of Kirkegaard Associates, of Chicago and Boulder, Colorado,
whose credentials include London’s Festival Hall and the concert hall at the base of Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers.
It was a happy coincidence that he had also collaborated in
the early 1990s with Joslin, who was then principal architect
in charge of the Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood in Lenox,
Massachusetts, designed for the Boston Symphony Orchestra
by William Rawn Associates of Boston.
Epstein’s design for Shalin Liu’s warm interior features
a backdrop of rosewood and grayed-green walls, Douglas fir
timber framing, third-story clerestory windows, and balcony
railings made of balsam fir strips woven over steel rods, the
pride of an architect who is also a weaver. She lined the lower-level walls of the 43-by-86-foot shoe box–shaped hall with
panels of stone, their irregular surface in service to the sound
and in homage to Cape Ann.
“When it comes to acoustics,” Epstein says, “there is one
rule: no parallel surfaces. Hard, faceted surfaces reflect sound
and maintain its energy. The small pieces of stone appear the
same size as the pieces of Cape Ann granite that we see in
The hall’s most dramatic feature, the 1-inch-thick win-
dow behind the stage, frames a view of the town’s famously
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