Sibelius Academy in Finland and d&b

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The Helsinki Music Centre (HMC) is a typically stylish and striking piece of Finnish architecture. A combination of concert performance venue and educational hub for all forms of music, the HMC embeds the ethos of developing musical culture and places at the heart of Finland’s capital city. While the main concert hall provides the focus and gravitas, it is the Sibelius Academy nestling within the walls of the HMC that provides the fertile ground for Finland’s musical future.

A bustling centre filled with ambitious young musicians, the Academy houses four concert halls as well as a host of ancillary hi-tech facilities; seven audio recording studios, three edit studios, two studio playing/performing spaces and two vision control rooms: as the cliché would have it, Sibelius Academy is state of the art.

As with the entire HMC development, the technical facilities in the Academy were specified and overseen by leading Finnish consultants Akukon. Four concert venues, comprising three halls and one public area, are equipped with d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker systems supplied by the local distributor msonic and installed by Electro Waves. The three halls are similar in size and design though each has its own specific needs as Ari Lepoluoto who led the project for Akukon describes, “Technically the Sibelius Halls are essentially the same and the d&b T-Series loudspeakers perfectly meet the criteria for these rooms. The first Camerata is for Chamber Music; here we have put a variable acoustic system in so the room can be adjusted between very dry to a light reverb.” The very low noise floor of d&b loudspeaker systems was an important consideration for Akukon, “We also valued the accuracy of the d&b technical specifications when modelling the installation; knowing the loudspeakers will perform precisely to the published data makes our job much easier.”

The other two rooms in the Sibelius Academy are the Black Box theatre and Sonore, which is a room for musical theatre. Black Box is as its name suggests, intended for more theatrical performances though it lends to multifunctionality, hence its needs differ beyond the reach of the T-Series. “This room currently is often used for amplified electronic music; besides the T-Series it has a d&b J-INFRA flown beneath the lighting grid.” Finally Sonore is almost identical to Black Box in size, functionality and acoustic, and the stage has a variable orchestra pit. “This room is intended more specifically for musical theatre, though of course it can be used in many other ways.” The public concert area is an informal space, effectively a large lobby and restaurant, that gives access to all the Sibelius venues and, here a d&b Q-Series system has been installed comprising Q7s and Q-SUBs. There is a fourth concert hall at Sibelius Academy, The Organo Hall that is for organ recital and has three installed organs and requires no sound reinforcement.

Tero Hölttä who managed the project for msonic, concluded “The Helsinki Music Centre has been one of two major Akukon projects in the centre of Helsinki where we have supplied and installed d&b audiotechnik systems in the last twelve months; the other being the renovation of the Swedish Theatre just a few blocks away which reopened in February 2012. The Sibelius Academy was technically challenging in terms of precision, but Akukon are very experienced. It is a fantastic facility for the city and the people of Finland.”

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