Francis Winspear Centre for Music
The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is a performing arts centre located in the downtown core of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Opened in 1997, it is the home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. The centre is named after Dr. Francis G. Winspear, who donated $6 million ($9 million today) to the construction of the facility - the single largest private donation to a performing arts facility in Canadian history.
Exterior view of the venue (c.2006)
|Address||Sir Winston Churchill Square NW|
Edmonton, AB T5J 4X8
|Owner||City of Edmonton|
|Operator||Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation|
|Type||Performing arts centre|
|Opened||12 September 1997|
|Construction cost||C$45 million|
($68.5 million in 2018 dollars)
|Architect||Cohos Evamy Partners|
|Edmonton Symphony Orchestra|
Construction and specs
In addition to the donation from Dr. Winspear, the Canadian federal government and Alberta provincial government contributed an additional $15 million each ($22.5 million each, today) towards its construction.
The concert hall has a seating capacity of 1,716 people and when seating is available in the choir loft above the main stage area the hall can hold up to 1,932. The hall is a tall, rectangular room with stepped, curved balconies and terraces. With its parallel side walls, the Winspear represents a modern adaptation of the classic "shoebox" shaped concert halls of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In 2002, the Davis Concert Organ was installed at the centre. Launched at a sold-out performance on September 14, 2002, the pipe organ was built by Orgues Létourneau Limitée of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. It has 96 stops, 122 ranks, and 6,551 pipes. It is named after Dr. Stuart Davis, to acknowledge his generosity and also in memory of his late wife Winona.
The acoustics of the Winspear are adjustable through the use of velour banners and curtains. These can be used to control the reverberant characteristics for musical events that require a less reverberant environment, or for orchestra rehearsals when the presence of a full audience needs to be approximated. An adjustable canopy system balances the clarity and reverberance of performances, helps control the loudness of the sound, and - in conjunction with the curved acoustic reflectors - assists in cross-stage communication among musicians.
- Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada tables 18-10-0005-01 (formerly CANSIM 326-0021) "Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted". Statistics Canada. January 18, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019. and 18-10-0004-13 "Consumer Price Index by product group, monthly, percentage change, not seasonally adjusted, Canada, provinces, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit". Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 6, 2019.