Opening lineup | March 2, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - March 2, 2012

Opening lineup

Los Lobos, San Francisco Symphony will play at new Stanford concert hall

by Rebecca Wallace

When Stanford University's new concert hall officially opens its doors in January 2013, the San Francisco Symphony and Los Lobos will be among the first acts to play the Bing.

The Bing Concert Hall is still under construction at the east end of Museum Way and set to be finished in the summer. Grand-opening events will start Jan. 11 under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, Stanford officials said this week.

Along with Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, opening night will also feature: a choral dedication with singers from the Stanford Chamber Chorale and Stanford Philharmonia; a Japanese-drumming processional by Stanford Taiko; and fanfares by high-tech composers from the university's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. The St. Lawrence String Quartet will also perform.

For attendees who don't score one of the Bing hall's 844 seats, the Jan. 11 event will also be simulcast to other campus venues.

The following day, Stanford officials will offer free performances by Stanford artists throughout Jan. 12. That night, Los Lobos will give two ticketed hour-long shows at the Bing.

Scheduled for Jan. 13 is an afternoon concert by the St. Lawrence String Quartet, with an evening performance by various groups and soloists of the university's music department.

On Jan. 16, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra brings its period instruments from the baroque and classical eras for a concert.

The events will be overseen by Wiley Hausam, the new managing director of the Bing Concert Hall, who took the reins last month. He comes from Purchase College in New York, where he was executive director of the Performing Arts Center.

Hausam has also served as executive director of the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University, and as associate producer of four Broadway shows.

Visitors to the Bing Concert Hall will pass through a glass-enclosed foyer that will include space for talks and educational programs. Inside, they'll see an elliptical space with a "vineyard-style configuration": Terraced sections of seats will surround the stage. The hall will also include rehearsal and recording studios, along with a performers' lounge and garden.

Ennead Architects of New York City designed the $112 million venue, with acoustic design by the acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics in Tokyo, and theatrical design by Fisher Dachs Associates of New York, Seattle and the United Kingdom.

Stanford officials plan to have a variety of artists use the concert hall, including student groups, the Department of Music and visiting artists presented by Stanford Lively Arts. Season subscriptions for the hall will go on sale this spring.

At this point, Lively Arts concerts scheduled to take place in the new venue after the grand opening include performances by the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the pianists Emanuel Ax and Jon Nakamatsu, and the percussionist Glenn Kotche.

The Bing hall, which will face the Cantor Arts Center across Palm Drive, is part of the Stanford Arts Initiative and one of a trio of new buildings planned. The new structure for visual art from the Anderson Collection is set to open in 2014, with the new McMurtry Building opening the following year to house Stanford's department of art and art history.

More information is at


Posted by Sherry, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 29, 2012 at 10:51 am

How magnificent!
We are so privileged to have Stanford's resources at our beckon.
looking forward to this wonderful venue.

Posted by George, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 10:54 am

> We are so privileged to have Stanford's resources at our beckon.

So why is the PAUSD spending 50+M (construction and bond financing) for a huge auditorium/theater for the Palo Alto High school, which is less than a mile from this new, beautiful, hall?

Posted by Yours is mine, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 29, 2012 at 11:20 am

"So why is the PAUSD spending 50+M (construction and bond financing) for a huge auditorium/theater for the Palo Alto High school, which is less than a mile from this new, beautiful, hall?"

Because PAUSD has limited to no access to this new, beautiful, hall. Why does Paly have a football stadium when Stanford Stadium is across the street?

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 29, 2012 at 11:22 am


As a parent of 2 PALY grads, one of whom was heavily involved in the performing arts (band and drama), I can tell you that the facilities supporting those programs at PALY are in desperate need of major improvement.

It also is difficult right now for there to be student assemblies at PALY, even by year, due to facility capacity limitations.

Stanford will manage this new, fantastic facility with a different mission. Conflagrating what they are doing on the Stanford campus with facilities for high school students is disingenuous.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm

You made my day Paul, with the first word of that last sentence.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Yes - Paly is overdue for a modern and appropriately sized theater and performing arts venue. Gunn has been fortunate to have such a facility for over 40 years.

Not bring up bad feelings with the Borders/Varsity crowd - but now that you see what Bing will bring to the community, it really doesn't make sense to try and force Borders/Varsity back to a theater at this point.

Posted by pa parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Stanford facilities are for Stanford activities only. They don't rent out the facilities for PA schools. As a PAUSD parent who isn't even in the Paly area, I am looking forward to this facility which will be a unique community asset. Stanford facilities are not available for community events, but (when available) school facilities are.

Posted by pa parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Crescent Park,
The Gunn facility is in great need of improvement. But you're right, compared to what's at Paly, it seems modern. Its cavernous, though. Compare how it feels to Dinkelspiel, which has almost as many seats.

Posted by Dean, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:36 am

I think it's great that Los Lobos, one of the finest bands in the land, will be one of the first to perform at this new concert hall.

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