Since the closing on 32 acres on Fruitville Road for its new Music Center, The Sarasota Orchestra Board and planning teams are working diligently to plan the region’s first concert hall built specifically for music.
The Orchestra hired Stages Consultants, a world-renowned acoustics consultant and theatre planner. The New Jersey-based company has participated in major projects from the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando to the Harpa Concert Hall in Iceland. The firm is led by industry veteran and acoustics expert Damian Doria and theatre planner Alec Stoll.
With an acoustician and theatre planner in place, the Orchestra can now move forward to identify and secure a design architect for the Music Center. Garfield Public/Private, a Dallas-based firm that specializes in coordinating planning and building efforts for similar projects, is assisting the leadership and Board with that effort, putting the criteria and processes in place.
While development work has not yet begun at the Fruitville Road location, you may see activity over the summer as new acoustician performs sound studies and ongoing land maintenance is performed on the property.
Sarasota Orchestra Board Chair Tom Koski offered the following answers about the project:
Why does Sarasota Orchestra need its own Music Center?
Creating a new Music Center is both aspirational and necessary.
It is aspirational in that we will elevate the arts in our community by bringing this region its first concert hall purpose-built for acoustic music.
A new Music Center is absolutely necessary to address the region’s critical need for performance, rehearsal and education space that has already eclipsed available schedule dates for our Orchestra and dozens of other arts organizations.
Sarasota Orchestra is facing challenges in securing performance and rehearsal dates due to the region’s arts and cultural infrastructure limitations. There are simply not enough calendar dates available for Sarasota Orchestra and the many other arts organizations in our region, and additional high quality space for acoustic music is needed to serve a larger, more diverse population with a wider array of experiences.
The new Music Center will also provide much-needed space to expand opportunities for Sarasota Orchestra’s youth education programs, which are at capacity.
Why is Fruitville Road the right location?
So many things make Fruitville Road the perfect location for our Music Center. The site’s centralized location and proximity to Interstate 75 increases accessibility to arts and cultural experiences for residents across the region and visitors worldwide, serving as a gateway to the nearby downtown Sarasota area.
Most significantly, this location enables us to build at a height up to 110 feet, which is necessary for optimal acoustics and enables the necessary cubic volume to maximize sound reverberation.
The Fruitville Road location also offers protection from coastal vulnerabilities, which limits related construction and insurance costs, as well as service disruptions. Our site also provides ample space for parking and easy access, which we know through our research and many discussions with patrons is critically important.
How is a concert hall different from other venues in the area?
Concert halls are built with the specific intent to optimize acoustic (non-amplified) performances. In a concert hall, the audience and musicians share the same room without separation from the stage. When built at the appropriate height, a concert hall creates the volume of space necessary to enable sound reverberation, physical sensations, and a truly immersive musical experience.
Performing Arts Hall
Multipurpose performing arts halls are built for productions like Broadway shows that support theatrical sets and amplified productions. In a performing arts venue, a proscenium arch frames the stage and the space above and around the stage is open to fly lofts and storage for theatrical sets. By its very design, a performing arts hall structure built for Broadway shows compromises acoustics to facilitate very different types of productions than are typically held in a concert hall.
If you have any additional questions about the Music Center, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.