Royal Flemish Philharmonic opens new hall

Royal Flemish Philharmonic (RFP) has opened its brand-new Queen Elisabeth Concert Hall in Antwerp. The 2,000-seat hall will be home to RFP for both concerts (45 per year) and rehearsals (100 days per year).

On 25 November Edo de Waart led the orchestra in an opening programme that included Dvořák’s Cello Concerto (featuring cellist Truls Mørk) and Richard Strauss’ tone poem Ein Heldenleben.

In addition to the main auditorium the building has six warm-up rooms, administrative office space and a large rehearsal room. The acoustics of the hall have already been praised, with The Times chief music critic Richard Morrison stating that the sound is ‘reverberant without being cloying, and particularly strong on bass resonances.’

Joost Maegerman, general manager of RFP, described it as, ‘A brand new high-spec building designed to accommodate nearly 2,000 people in complete luxury,’ and added that: ‘it’s every symphony orchestra’s dream, and for the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, it’s come true.’

The hall was designed by Manchester-based architects SimpsonHaugh & Partners, who worked in partnership with acoustic specialistsKirkegaard Associates (Chicago) and contractors Bureau Bouwtechniek (Antwerp) on the €60m building. It is located in the centre of Antwerp on the site of the old Queen Elisabeth Concert Hall (which was demolished in 2013) opposite Antwerp Central Station.