Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

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Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts was built in 1969 in Urbana, Illinois, USA, on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an educational and performing arts complex. Herman C. Krannert, an industrialist (founder of Inland Container Corporation and alumnus of the University) and his wife Ellnora Krannert made a gift of $16 million which made creation of the Center possible. Max Abramovitz, the architect of the Krannert Center, was also an alumnus of the University of Illinois. The total combined seating capacity of the venues at the Center is approximately 4000. The main lobby, with its teak floor from Thailand at a cost of $1 million and its marble-walls from Carrara, Italy, contribute to the quality of the building. It also contains a gift shop, "The Promenade," and a cafe, "Intermezzo cafe."

Performance facilities
  • Foellinger Great Hall, with 2,078 seats, is the largest of the venues at the Center and is known for its acoustics; it attracts world famous artists and ensembles to perform every year. Some noteworthy orchestras like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony have used the hall for recordings. The only acoustical flaw in the hourglass shape of the room is that the narrow section contains two parallel panels. (If you stand in the balcony between these two panels, clap your hands, the flaw is obvious.) When recording, this problem can be hidden by placing cloth over one of the two sides to deaden the echo between the two sides. The School of Music at the University of Illinois hosts many performances at this venue by students, faculty, the Sinfonia da Camera and the University of Illinois Wind Symphony. It is the main venue for the Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra, the Professional Orchestra in Residence at the Krannert Center and the Sinfonia da Camera conducted by Ian Hobson.
Architecture of the Great Hall: Dr. Cyril Harris, a noted acoustician and Emeritus Professor of Architecture at Columbia University designed the interior of the Foellinger Great Hall. His past projects include the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Washington and Metropolitan Opera House in New York. The design of the hall is almost perfectly symmetrical. There are no parallel surfaces in the room, instead all the surfaces are angled to ensure that the sound reflects back to the audience. This accounts for much of the hall's acoustic superiority. No amplification is necessary for instrumental music.
  • Tryon Festival Theatre, with 974 seats on two levels, was primarily intended for operas and the acoustics are designed to favor vocal performances. It also hosts performances of ballet, dances, musicals and plays. This theater is equipped with a Sennheiser Audio System, computerized lighting control, sound reinforcement and recording capability. It has become a tradition for the local Champaign-Urbana Ballet and the Sinfonia da Camera to perform The Nutcracker in the Festival theatre every December. A unique feature of the theatre, designed to support the plays and musicals, is that a trap door may be placed almost anywhere on stage with removable 4'x 8' panels.
  • Colwell Playhouse, with 674 seats, mainly hosts plays and dance performances and is used mainly by the Departments of Theatre and Dance and also by touring productions. Like the Festival theatre, it is equipped with a Sennheiser Audio System, a computerized lighting system, sound reinforcement and recording capability. The acoustics in this venue are designed to specifically support speech performances. The walls are shaped to reflect voices from the stage towards the audience while the back walls are echo-proof.
  • Studio Theatre, a small theatre with 200 seats, is a black box theatre designed to support experimental performances. It was intended as an experimental workspace for students and performers and hence has a smaller, less intimidating seating capacity. Its audio and lighting capabilities are similar to the other venues with a computerized lighting system and sound reinforcement.
  • Amphitheatre, this theater is located on the outside of the Krannert Center and is a common spot for students to relax, study, and socialize during the warmer months. It is a popular on-campus first date destination and was voted "Best Spot to Share A First Kiss" by the student population in 2006. It is also the location of On The Rocks a set of student written, produced, and directed one-act plays put on by the Krannert Center Student Association in the spring.

Notable Performances
Artists Joshua Bell, violinist - April 2010 Lang Lang, pianist - April 2010 Joshua Redman, jazz saxophonist - May 2008 Zakir Hussain, acclaimed tabla player - April 2008 Kronos Quartet, avant-garde string quartet - April 2008 Savion Glover, noted tap dancer - October 2007 Chick Corea, multiple Grammy winning jazz pianist - April 2007, April 2009 Sonny Rollins, multiple Grammy winning jazz saxophone legend - October 2006 Yo-Yo Ma - March 2006 Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano - October 2005 Directions in Music, featuring Herbie Hancock (piano), Michael Brecker (saxophone), and Roy Hargrove (trumpet) - March 2005 Clark Terry, Grammy winning jazz trumpet player - March 2004 Joshua Bell, Grammy winning violinist - March 2004, April 2010 Dee Dee Bridgewater, multiple Grammy winning jazz vocalist - December 2003 Maya Beiser, cellist - October 2003 (World Premiere 'The world to come') Ensembles Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra - April 2010 Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra - February 2010 Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra - March 2006 Russian National Ballet - Jan 2006 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Jan 2006 Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra - December 2005 Munich Symphony Orchestra - October 2005 Chicago Symphony Orchestra - February 2005 Moscow State Radio Symphony - Orchestra February 2004 Vienna Symphony Orchestra - November 2003 London Symphony Orchestra - May 2001 Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra - February 2001 Festivals Krannert Center hosts the Ellnora Guitar Festival (formerly Wall to Wall Guitar Festival) every two years in September, beginning in 2005, which has featured artists such as Pat Metheny, Elliot Fisk, Andy Summers, Taj Mahal, Vernon Reid, Toubab Krewe, Campbell Brothers, The Romeros, Alex DeGrassi, Los Lobos, John McLaughlin, Jorma Kaukonen, and Buddy Guy. Additionally, Krannert has sponsored the Pygmalion Music Festival every September since 2006, which has brought indie rock artists such as Iron & Wine, The Books, David Bazan, Danielson, Andrew Bird, Yo La Tengo, and High Places to the traditionally jazz and classical-oriented venue.

Building Activity

  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov activity.buildings_person.delete_many and activity.buildings_person.create
    about 6 years ago via