New sound panels for MPO concerts
Patrons to concerts organised by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra can expect an improved sound quality from now on, thanks to the orchestra’s latest investment in acoustic technology.
Through an investment of €70,000, the orchestra is acquiring acoustic diffuser shells manufactured by Portuguese acoustic panel specialists Jocavi and supplied by local audio-visual equipment provider Digital Magic.
The first public performance featuring these shells was the Eroica concert on March 11 at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, before performing the same concert at Vienna’s famed Musikverein on March 16 and in Klagenfurt’s Konzerthaus the following day.
Such technology was not required in Austria, but the MPO specifically needs them to compensate for one of Malta’s limitations: the lack of a purpose-built concert hall.
None of the spaces the orchestra can perform in specifically address its acoustic needs, including its own venue, the Robert Samut Hall in Floriana, a former Methodist church that is used as the orchestra’s rehearsal space and as a venue for small concerts with a maximum seating capacity of around 200.
The hall does not provide ideal acoustic conditions for rehearsals and performances alike.
Similar limitations can be found in the venues the orchestra typically uses for larger concerts, including the Mediterranean Conference Centre and the Manoel Theatre.
It is for this reason that the MPO has opted for a portable acoustic shell, which can help recreate as much as possible the acoustics of a concert hall wherever the orchestra performs.
The shell is made up of a curved array of specially-designed acoustic panels, which help the sound from one area of the stage reach another, while also reflecting this sound to the audience.
The panels are made up of birch wood so that they may impart a warmth to the sound that only natural wood can.
Birch is strong but relatively light, allowing the shell to be easily moved from the rehearsal space to concert venues and back.