About this talk

Running time: 37 minutes

Derek Sugden, structural engineer and a director of Ove Arup & Partners, was a founder member of Arup Associates and, more recently of Arup Acoustics of which he remains a consultant since retirement. But his passion is music, and there is hardly an opera house or concert hall which he has not sampled and analysed acoustically, weighing up their suitability for this or that type of music. Consequently his advice is much sought after. His first musical job was the conversion of Snape Maltings in Suffolk into a concert hall for the Aldeburgh Festival.

In this recording, he describes this and a number of opera houses and concert halls in terms of their geometry, reverberation time, volume per seat, side reflections, relationship of stage to auditorium etc., all factors affecting their design.

Demand today is for opera houses suitable for all kinds of music from Monteverdi to Wagner to Philip Glass, which seat about 1,200 people as in the new Glyndebourne Opera House which Sugden is working on with Michael and Patti Hopkins. He shares, in this recording, some of his expertise in the matter of predicting the acoustical behaviour of an enclosed space.

Please note that a transcript of this talk is available - please contact us for further details.

Derek Sugden


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