A Prize–winning Violinist on the World’s Top Concert Halls

Canadian–born violinist Leila Josefowicz first played Carnegie Hall at the age of 16, and has toured the world winning awards and playing concerts ever since. These are her favourite concert halls around the world.

A concert hall is a very important place for performers. I think of a hall as a vehicle that helps both the audience and the musicians experience a great concert. There are many different factors that can make a hall great, but I think the most important element is that it helps facilitate the enjoyment of the show – and the ones below do just that.

August 19, 2019
Exterior view of the Berlin Philharmonie
   Photo: Simone Hutsch
  1. The Berlin Philharmonie, Berlin The Berlin Philharmonic plays here, and the hall is absolutely spectacular in terms of sound and acoustics. You can hear every single thing from anywhere in the hall. On the stage, we can hear each other perfectly. The sound is warm and clear and you can hear all the registers, from the highest to the lowest. There’s no bad seat in the hall, whether you’re sitting over to the side or at the very, very back.

Exterior view of the Royal Concertgebouw
   Photo: Diego Delso
  1. The Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam The Concertgebouw (which means concert house in Dutch) is considered one of the top concert halls in the world. Soloists such as myself enter the stage down a huge flight of stairs that flanks the stage – it’s the most dramatic entrance to any stage I can think of.

Exterior view of the Walt Disney Concert Hall
   Photo: Steve Harvey
  1. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles In 1987, Lillian Disney donated $50 million to build a concert venue in honour of her late husband, Walt. Designed by Frank Gehry and completed in 2003, this hall has great acoustics and the architecture is awe–inspiring.

Interior view of the Symphony Hall
   Photo: Tim Sackton
  1. Symphony Hall, Boston I love this famous hall in Boston. It was built in 1900 and, acoustically, it’s still considered one of the best in the world. It’s a gorgeous space with a wonderful orchestra.

Exterior view of the Sydney Opera House
   Photo: Frans
  1. The Sydney Opera House, Sydney You don’t go to the Sydney Opera House for the acoustics – you go for the architecture and for the setting. My dressing room there overlooks the harbour. It’s a damn nice dressing room.

Exterior view of Severance Hall
   Photo: Eric Drost
  1. Severance Hall, Cleveland In middle America, my favourite is the intimate Severance Hall in Cleveland. It’s an art deco gem that’s painted in light blues and silvers, and there’s not a bad seat in the house. It’s right next to the Cleveland Institute of Art, which is a wonderful museum. People don’t always think of Cleveland as a top destination, but it has an amazing arts scene. The Cleveland Orchestra is arguably one of the top three orchestras – if not the greatest – in the world.