Sapporo Concert Hall “Kitara”

Opening Year 1997
Location Sapporo, Japan
Capacity 2,008 seats
Architect Hokkaido Engineering Consultant Co., Ltd. (Docon)
Owner City of Sapporo
User Sapporo Symphony Orchestra
Pacific Music Festival
Construction Cost JPY 16.5B

The Sapporo Concert Hall, nicknamed “Kitara,” has 2,008 seats and was opened on July 4, 1997. The hall was built specifically as a classical music concert hall and as home for the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Music Festival, (an international educational music festival that was established by Leonard Bernstein). The hall features a vineyard-step seating arrangement designed to surround the stage on all sides, very much like the Philharmonie in Berlin and Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

Important features of the room acoustical design were as follows:

  1. The wall forming the vineyard steps were introduced into audience area and shaped such that they provide effective early reflections.
  2. Large sound reflectors were suspended above the stage area to provide effective early reflections to the stage musicians and the audience closest to the stage.
  3. The ceiling was constructed of massive, 150mm-thick concrete to support response at the low frequencies.

Sir Simon Rattle, visiting with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in May 1998, left this comment: “The best modern concert hall in the world!”

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