The St Paul Chamber Orchestra will play for the first time Wednesday morning in its new Ordway Concert Hall.
The custom-designed, 1,100-seat hall will formally open Feb. 28. In the weeks until then, the orchestra will hold a series of rehearsals and practice concerts so acoustician Paul Scarbrough can fine-tune the sound of the space, which was built with intimate concerts in mind.
"We'll just be trying to audition the sound from as many vantage points within the hall as we can: from behind the orchestra, the sides, the balcony, the mezzanine, the orchestra floor," he said. "We'll just be wandering all over the place."
Throughout rehearsals this week, Scarbrough will adjust the sound by raising and lowering special curtains around the hall. He'll also work with musicians to adapt how they play to make best use of the hall's acoustics.
Scarbrough said he and his staff will spend a lot of time listening to the sound in the hall and talking to the musicians.
"It gives us a chance to get the real measure of the room, and also for the performers to get the measure of the room, because they need to learn to play the room to best advantage," he said. "That's part of what the commissioning process helps to foster."