Hill Auditorium


Hill Auditorium

Hill Auditorium is the largest performance venue on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor in the United States. The auditorium was named in honor of Arthur Hill (1847-1909), who served as a regent of the university from 1901 to 1909. He bequeathed 200,000 dollars to the university for the construction of a venue for lectures, musical performances, and other large productions. Opened in 1913, the auditorium was designed by Albert Kahn and Associates. It was recently renovated by the same firm beginning in 2002 and was re-opened in 2004.

With seating for up to 3,538 (originally 4,100 prior to a 2004 renovation) audience members, Hill is one of the most popular venues for large productions on campus. The building routinely hosts performances given by the School of Music's various ensembles, including the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, University of Michigan Philharmonia Orchestra, University of Michigan Concert Band, University of Michigan Symphony Band, and University of Michigan Choirs, as well as the mostly non-major ensembles such as the Campus Symphony Orchestra, Campus Bands, and the Men's Glee Club. It also plays home to the Indian American Student Association's (IASA) annual cultural show, which is known to sell out the auditorium year after year.

Hill Auditorium's acoustics have been widely praised. The University of Michigan website that describes the recent $33.5 million Hill Auditorium refurbishing and restoration states:

"When it opened in 1913, Hill Auditorium was hailed as a 'monument to "perfect" acoustics.' The excellent acoustics, a result of collaboration by architect Albert Kahn with noted acoustical engineer Hugh Tallant, are known world-wide and have made the auditorium a favorite venue for legions of famous musicians and other artists, as well as numerous noted speakers."

"Careful attention will be given throughout the renovation to maintaining the acoustic quality of Hill, said Henry Baier, associate vice president for facilities and operations. In addition, further work will be done to reduce street and lobby noise by building a “sound lock” between the lobby and the auditorium." (From: http://www.umich.edu/~urel/hill/pr.html)

Michigan's University Musical Society presents performances of many world-renowned artists at Hill Auditorium. The hall's unique oval-shaped stage has seen performances of the Vienna Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Ravi Shankar, Anne-Sofie von Otter, Audra McDonald, the Kremerata Baltica, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Enrico Caruso, Joan Sutherland, Robert Frost, Jysse Norman, Van Cliburn, Yo-Yo Ma , Vladimir Horowitz, Helen Hayes, Cecelia Bartoli, Eugene Ormandy, Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern, Benny Goodman, Harry Chapin, Dave Brubeck, Jack DeJohnette, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Louis Lortie, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, B. B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Ludacris and many more.

Recollections of Carol Rose Kahn, the Architect’s granddaughter

This story was passed from father to daughter recounting her grandfather’s efforts to develop a hall with perfect acoustics.

“Father had been given the problem of designing an auditorium that would seat five thousand people, where they could hear from every seat. The only known previous example was the [Mormon Tabernacle|Mormon [Tabernacle] . It was said that you could hear a pin drop from the stage to the top balcony. On the other hand, the acoustics are not so good in the Mormon [Tabernacle] because there’s so much reverberation there. Well, Father knew very little about acoustics. The fact is that nobody knew much about scientific acoustics.

"There was only one man in the country who really was eminent at that time, Hugh Tallant. Father wrote Mr. Tallant to ask him if it would be possible to build an auditorium for five thousand people, where they'd hear from every seat. Tallant said,'I will think it over and let you know.' He wrote back a few months later, saying 'I think it can be done.' So Tallant designed the acoustics. Hill Auditorium was built in the shape of a megaphone. Singers loved to sing there because it was just like singing through a megaphone, really.

"Hill Auditorium was nearly finished when I was fourteen or so. My father and I went out to Ann Arbor. Father stood up in the last seat of the second balcony, and I went down on the stage. On my word of honor, I dropped a pin and he heard it.” [http://www.umich.edu/~urel/hill/memories/memory19.html]

See also

* List of major concert halls

External links

* [http://www.archive.org/details/gd71-12-14.sbd.deibert.12763.sbeok.shnf Grateful Dead Concert December 14, 1971]
* [http://www.umich.edu/~urel/hill/pr.html Hill Auditorium renovation]
* [http://www.music.umich.edu/about/facilities/central_campus/hill/index.htm UM School of Music - Hill Auditorium]


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