Qs for the Children's School of Art Moscow
The recent renovation of the Children's School of Art in Moscow saw the almost total rebuild of the facilities, retaining only the original façade of the main buildings. This venerable establishment has been sculpting the talented young minds of Muscovites for over forty tumultuous years and has witnessed many changes during that time, not least this one, which has seen the school embrace new technologies.
"The new concert hall is primarily designed for chamber music," explained Elena Shabalina, acoustic engineer with Aris-Pro, a leading Russian Pro Audio specialist. "We were asked to tender at the beginning of last year. At the time a proposal for a sound reinforcement system had already been devised by an external audio consultant, and so Mr Vladimir Fomin from the Department of Culture of Moscow City, the body responsible for the School, asked us to review and update the original design."
"The system tender proved to be far more than was required for such a venue. This is a small concert hall ideal for Chamber music, and caters for audiences of approximately two hundred. Considering the intended performance genre the acoustic architect Michael Lannie had done a splendid job, creating a lively environment with just the right amount of reverberation (1.6secs) to make the music bright and pleasing to the ear; piano sounds really great. This is not a room that wanted a lot of sound reinforcement, a PA system was only needed to give some light reinforcement to speech based events, and for playback systems when the room is used for dance training."
Aris Pro proposed a much smaller alternative, a system of d&b audiotechnik Qi10 loudspeakers and Qi subwoofers flown above stage, with additional Ci80s for surround. "We find d&b products perform exceptionally well in terms of speech intelligibility and conform to their predicted coverage. The Qi-Series, like all d&b systems, is also very musical, an extremely important consideration in such a sensitive environment. Of course the authorities liked the smaller design as it is visually much less intrusive and fully in keeping with the aesthetic of Jakov Belopolsky, laureate of Lenin's Award, and principal architect of the school's redevelopment." Belopolsky is recognized as one of the best specialists of reconstruction and development in the city of Moscow. "Our proposal also freed up budget for use elsewhere. More importantly the performance of the system exceeded expectations, Mr Fomin said he was very impressed with the completed recital room." The Director of the School, Viktor Kibizov, was more direct, "It lets the music speak in a natural voice; the team from Aris-Pro have done a fabulous job."
As ever, when dealing with such establishments, the path to completion is never straightforward. "We began installing the system in the summer of 2007; the room was already complete in terms of construction so we had to slowly and carefully cut in cables and rigging points, and then make good our work; a much slower process than doing so during the construction phase." Even so, the opening concert on 22nd December 2007, attended by the Mayor of Moscow, Yury Luzhkov, was on time and received universal approbation in the highly critical Moscow arts media, "Another example of Russian sensitivity to the needs of performer and audience," said the Moscow Daily News. More to the point, "The children love it." Said Mr Kibizov.