For all the intelligence and adventurism of its musical offerings, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has never had a proper venue in which to present them. A large number of outstanding musicians - including many young artists who would later become stars - have played in the low-ceilinged Tapestry Room, visually sumptuous but acoustically flat.
With the unveiling this week of the museum’s new Renzo Piano-designed wing, that era is over. A gala concert last night offered a group of donors, trustees, and other VIPs a first look at, and a first listen to, Calderwood Hall, the elegant and smartly designed 296-seat venue that will be the epicenter of the Gardner’s musical activities. (Similar events continue through Sunday.)