A private concert hall for chamber music is currently being built in Kronberg. At the Casals Forum, not only concerts are held, but also musical talent must be trained – in a climate-neutral manner and with a view of the countryside.
It still looks like a construction site. Rough concrete walls await cladding, wires hang from the ceiling, glass elements are glued to cardboard. However, the curved tent-like roof actually hovering over the building and the light wood-panelled concert hall of Kronberg’s New Forum Casals (Hochtaunus) is as good as it is finished.
It is scheduled to open at the Kronberg Festival at the end of September – fittingly with Beethoven’s “Dedication of the House”. The first audio rehearsal has just taken place. It was the European Chamber Orchestra and violinist Augustin Hadlich who sent the first notes into the new hall.
It was a “wonderful moment,” Kronberg Academy artistic director Friedmann Eichhorn enthuses, “definitely” the sound of the orchestra and the voice of the soloist. Although the company has worked well with the audio expert for more than five years – the groundbreaking ceremony for the Casals Forum was in 2017 – it was “in the end a surprise and a relief,” admits Eichhorn.
Concerts in an intimate atmosphere
The Staab Architekten office in Berlin, famous for its cultural buildings, planned the concert hall. It has just been awarded the “Big Nike”, the prize of the Association of German Architects, for its new building for the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt. In Kronberg, the team led by architect Volker Staab designed a hall entirely tailored to the needs of chamber music.
Although it offers space for 550 visitors and 65 musicians, the room feels quite intimate. “The idea of chamber music is that you’re close to the audience,” says Friedman Eichhorn. In the Casals Forum, the musicians sit exactly in the middle, because some rows of seats are behind the stage. “You can look at the conductor’s face,” smiles Artistic Director Eichhorn.
Neutral atmosphere with a view of the countryside
The convex and concave walls are clad in light wood. Above this there are various glass facades that provide a view from the foyer to the green. This connection was especially important to Kronberg Academy founder and director Raymond Trinkler. The ‘Meditation Place’ is the new concert hall, where the ‘interaction of nature and music’ can be experienced.
Thanks to the innovative storage technology, the building can be operated in a climate-neutral manner. With the Kronberg S-Bahn station in front of the door, it is possible to take an eco-friendly excursion from the entire Rhine-Main region.
The building will cost 60 million euros. For the Kronberg Academy, financed mainly by private donations, it will be a new home for all its activities – in addition to concerts, this includes, above all, the training of cello and violin talents from all over the world.
Kronberg Festival Opening
The cellist was also the namesake of the Casals Forum: the hall is named after the Catalan Pablo Casals, who also worked as a composer and conductor. The Kronberg Academy feels a special connection to the musician who died in 1973, as art director Raymond Trenkler says: “Music is not an end in itself, but in the service of people—Pablo Casals showed us that.”
The first Kronberg Festival is scheduled to take place at the new Casals Forum from September 24 to October 3. With the European Chamber Orchestra, you’d be at home here, with the Radio Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra and the Radio Frankfurt Grand Ensemble, with outstanding soloists.
By then – Academy Kronberg is confident – the lobby and exterior covering of the building will also be completed.
Since its founding in 1993, the International Cultural Foundation has supported young violinists, violinists and cellists. It offers academic courses in stringed instrument training and also organizes music projects, concerts and Kronberg festivalIt is an international festival of strings. Pre-sales for this year’s festival have already begun.
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