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First look inside Melbourne’s Elisabeth Murdoch hall

Melbourne’s new recital centre reached a milestone today with the interior of the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall revealed for the first time. Minister for the Arts, Lynne Kosky and Minister for Major Projects, Theo Theophanous, said the Melbourne Recital Centre and its centrepiece – the 1000-seat Elisabeth Murdoch Hall – would play an important role in Victoria’s cultural infrastructure. “This is a great milestone for the centre and for music lovers across the State. The creation of the Melbourne Recital Centre is the result of a 30 year quest by Victoria’s music community for a purpose built recital hall,” Ms Kosky said. “It’s wonderful to see the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall taking shape and to have a first taste of how it will look, feel and sound.” Mr Theophanous said the hall, thought to be among the most intricate rooms ever built in Australia, was a masterpiece of design and construction. “This venue has been designed to maximise the musical experience and will be up there with world’s greatest chamber music halls including Wigmore Hall in London and other renowned venues in Vienna, Japan, Canada and the United States,” Mr Theophanous said. “In a first for Australia, the vital statistics of Elisabeth Murdoch Hall and the other benchmark halls were fed into a sound modelling computer to allow the design team to ‘hear’ how the design would sound and compare it with the world’s greatest chamber music halls.” Mr Theophanous said the hall’s striking wall and ceiling panels, made of layers of native Australian Hoop Pine plywood, played an important acoustic role while adding to the hall’s visual personality. “Beyond their sound proofing and acoustic properties, each panel is unique. Together they make up a pattern that runs across every surface of the hall like a jigsaw,” he said. Melbourne Recital Centre CEO Dr Jacques de Vos Malan said it was an exciting time for the Victoria’s music community. “Watching our new home coming together like this is very exciting and we are looking forward to its completion and to moving in. We are currently in the final stages of planning our inaugural 2009 season,” Dr de Vos Malan said. When complete, the Melbourne Recital Centre will provide a 1000-seat venue for chamber and ensemble music alongside a smaller 150-seat salon for more intimate musical performances, recordings and educational programs. The centre is scheduled to open to the public in the first quarter of 2009.