DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen
1. New concert house (left) and Danish Broadcasting Corporation headquarters
2. The new concert house as seen from the Metro station "DR Byen"
3. In the lobby of the new concert house
4. View from the lobby, with the Metro tracks and the station
5. A model of the new concert house
Copenhagen in the 21st century has not only built itself a stunning new opera house, but also a world-class concert house called the "DR Koncerthuset" -- DR being Danish Radio a.k.a. the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.
The new concert house is located in Copenhagen's new district Ørestad North and was opened in January 2009. It was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, who also designed the opera house in Lyon and the Institute of the Arab World in Paris, among other famous buildings.
From the outside the new concert house looks like a blue cube, but the facade is actually a semi-transparent blue screen which can be illuminated in various ways, perhaps to brighten up the long Danish nights in the winter.
Actually there are four concert halls in this new building. The big one (see next tip) is called Studio 1 and seats 1800 people. The other three are smaller, going down in size to the "intimate" Studio 4. All four concert halls have variable acoustics, designed by the Japanese acoustic engineer Yasuhisa Toyota, so the sound can be changed around to fit the needs of different ensembles and types of music.
On their website and their tickets (and their T-Shirts that are on sale at the box office) they sometimes spell the word Koncerthuset as
alluding to Studios 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the concert house.
Like the new opera house, the new concert house is not located in the traditional city center -- but don't let that stop you from going there! From my hotel it took me exactly twelve minutes to get to the new concert house by bicycle, after I knew the way.
And if for some reason you can't go by bike there is a Metro station called DR Byen right by the concert hall, on the M1 line. (See also my Transportation Tips on the Metro trains.)
1. Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) headquarters
2. Children's seats and video at the ticket office
3. Ticket counter (and sales point for Koncerthuset T-shirts)
4. "DR Butikkens" opening hours
5. Reception and entrance to DR headquarters
The new concert house is part of a large complex of new buildings on the Emil Holms canal in Ørestad North.
The canal was named after Emil Holm (1867-1950), a Danish opera singer who sang mainly in Germany (Dresden, Chemnitz, Leipzig, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart, also in the Bayreuth Festival of 1893). After a long and successful career as an opera singer Emil Holm became the first General Manager of the Danish State Radio from 1925 to 1937.
When I first saw the sign "DR Butikkens" in the main building (fourth photo), I thought it meant the practice of a medical doctor, but then I realized that DR meant Danish Radio, not doctor, and that Butikken was the ticket office, which was what I was looking for in the first place.
I was very impressed by the children's video corner (second photo), where children could get acquainted with the orchestra and its instruments while their parents bought tickets and T-Shirts.
1. In the new concert hall DR Koncerthuset
2. Audience members taking their seats
3. Orchestra musicians taking their seats
4. Ceiling of the concert hall
5. Poster advertising Symphonic Summer concerts
The main concert season was already over when I visited Copenhagen in June, but fortunately they were running a series of short "Symphonic Summer" concerts at reduced prices -- subtitled Klassiske koncerter for begyndere meaning "classical concerts for beginners" -- in an effort to introduce the new concert house to as many people as possible.
The tickets to these concerts all cost the same, namely 120 kronar per ticket, that's just over 16 Euros in real money.
The concert I attended was held in the big concert hall, Studio 1, and the program consisted only of one symphony, namely First Symphony by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). This is a symphony that I was rather ODed on as a child, because it was the only piece of classical music that my grandparents had on old 78 rpm records, so I heard it over and over again and have not gone out of my way to hear it as an adult. But it was the only one that was playing, so I went, and it was a good experience, like a Blast from the Past but in a very modern setting.
As you can see from the photos, the seating sections in the concert hall are arranged in a somewhat asymmetric way. This reminds me of the Philharmonie concert hall that was built in Berlin nearly half a century ago, from 1956 to 1963, by the architect Hans Scharoun (1893-1972).
On my ticket it said, among other things: "OBS! Optages til TV." Which I assume means something like: Attention, this concert will be recorded for television.
Which it certainly was! They had seven television cameras, four big ones controlled by people and three smaller ones that were remote-controlled so they could swing around and get close up pictures of various musicians in the orchestra. One of the remote-controlled cameras looked like E.T. and was on a track in front of the orchestra. During the symphony it silently zipped back and forth to get pictures from various angles, especially of the conductor and the first violin section.