Over the weekend, a few days before the official public opening of its new wing, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum presented a set of performances in its brand new Calderwood Hall. Intended as a chance to thank its donors and supporters, the concerts also offered a sneak preview of the new 300-seat concert venue. My first impressions were that the visuals are stunning, and that the acoustics are a bit complicated. But let’s start at the beginning.
That this new hall exists at all is a testament to the museum’s admirable commitment to music, which is not to be taken for granted. The new wing might easily have included no concert space, or just a standard-issue auditorium. And consider how few classical concerts of any distinction take place around the corner at the Museum of Fine Arts.