University of Rochester

Eastman School of Music,

Eastman Theatre Orchestra Shell


The theatre, the home of the Rochester Philharmonic and the Eastman School of Music, needed major renovation. In the 1970’s the Eastman School had introduced a new orchestra shell, which proved to be acoustically unsatisfactory. Eventually, the rigging was also deemed to be unsafe and stage lighting positions inadequate. The renovation addressed all of these issues.

The new orchestra shell is both acoustically and aesthetically superior and its design now reflects and enhances the architecture of the room. The 60,000 pound shell, designed by Akustiks, consists of side walls, a rear wall and acoustical reflectors – all flown on motorized rigging.

FDA’s tasks included the shell rigging, new theatrical rigging (for lights and scenery) new front-of-house lighting positions, a concert lighting system, stage lighting system and a new orchestra lift.

Replacement of the shell is the first of three planned phases at the Eastman School. Later phases will include changes to the auditorium seating (to further improve acoustics), and expansion of the School of Music.

  • Client: University of Rochester
  • Architect: Chaintreuil Jensen Stark
  • Completion Year: 2004
  • Location: Rochester, New York
  • Acoustician: Akustiks
  • Capacity: 3,080 seats

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