Opening Weekend at Bing Concert Hall: Newer Than The Future

State-of-the-art. Intimate. Joyful. Triumphant. Architecturally and acoustically groundbreaking.

ANDREW HAN/The Stanford Daily

Stanford campus’ latest addition, Bing Concert Hall, officially opened its doors Friday and had several performances of student and professional groups throughout the weekend.

Designed by Richard Olcott, with acoustic design by Yasuhisa Toyota and theatrical design by Fisher Dachs Associates, Bing Concert Hall is modeled after a clearing in the woods, its architecture rooted in the landscape. 842 seats in a “vineyard” format encircle the stage, creating a space where artist and audience can experience each other with new intimacy.

Decked out in suits and ball gowns, with the occasional Stanford sweatshirt, Friday’s audience, which included donors, community members, faculty and students, was treated to a program featuring the Stanford Chamber Chorale, the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the San Francisco Symphony, led by internationally acclaimed director and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

The Opening Night Celebration was the hall’s first official full-length performance. Honoring Helen and Peter Bing ‘55, who donated $50 million to build the world-class venue, Stanford professor Jonathan Berger set Peter Bing’s words from the 2010 groundbreaking ceremony to music with “A Place of Concert,” which was performed by the Chamber Chorale and composed specifically for the space.

Bing, who spoke briefly after President Hennessy, emphasized the concert hall as a place for friendships to flourish.

The first piece of the concert, entitled “Fugue 1,” celebrated the opening of Bing Concert Hall with themes composed by Chris Chafe D.M.A. ‘83 and Fernando Lopez-Lezcano at the Stanford Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).

Stav Ziv ‘11, the arts and student life coordinator for the Stanford Arts Institute, said that Bing Concert Hall exhibited Stanford’s commitment to bringing the arts to campus and integrating art with student life. Bing Concert Hall is a result of the Stanford Arts Initiative, a university-wide fundraising effort launched in 2006.

For students who want to get involved, the Bing Student Ambassadors program enables students to give feedback about how Bing is impacting student life and to plan events for students. For Ziv, the experiences Bing Concert Hall will provide for the entirety of the Stanford community are unparalleled.

“Having a world-class concert hall is an incredible opportunity to hear art of the highest caliber,” she said.

In addition to performing, many artists will have workshops, lectures and events in order to further involve the community. From January 24-26, percussionist Glenn Kotche will both offer a workshop for students and then perform a solo show. More plans for involving students at Bing are in the works, including a potential arts party planned by the Student Organizing Committee, known for organizing the Party on the Edge at Cantor Arts Center. The Inaugural 2013 Season at the Bing will include pianist Emanuel Ax, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and a 14-performance “Beethoven Project.”

As Stanford’s new “front door,” Bing Concert Hall looks to live up to its role as the campus center of artistic appreciation, education, and innovation.

About Katharine Schwab