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Home Activities Distinguished Lectures Jürgen Meyer: "The sound of orchestras and soloists as a combination of room acoustics and acoustical properties of the musical instruments"

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Jürgen Meyer: "The sound of orchestras and soloists as a combination of room acoustics and acoustical properties of the musical instruments"

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  • Distinguished Lecture
When Oct 15, 2009
from 04:30 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Clara Lichtenstein Recital Hall (C-209), Schulich School of Music, McGill University, 555 Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal QC
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In concert halls, the sound impression of the listeners is a result of the radiated sound of instruments and voices as well as of room's acoustical properties. Essential parameters of the room acoustics are – among others – clarity and spatial impression, which depend not only on the room, but also on the directivity of the musical instruments and consequently on the seating arrangement of the different instrument sections. For the players, there exists a clear interaction between the room's acoustic ambience and their playing technique influenced by the quality of their mutual listening. And last but not least, the acoustical demands for the conductor’s location differ from that for the players' ease of ensemble.


Jürgen Meyer, born in 1933, studied electrical engineering at Braunschweig Technical University and received a doctor’s degree in 1960 with a thesis on the physics of organ pipes. From 1957 to 1996 he was a member of the acoustics department of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Braunschweig, working in the fields of acoustics of musical instruments, room acoustics, and psychoacoustics. Furthermore, he was professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold teaching acoustics for Tonmeisters from 1968 to 2004. He has written several books, papers and congress reports, the main books being: “Akustik und musikalische Aufführungspraxis” (1972, 5th edition 2004), “Kirchenakustik” (2003), “Acoustics and the Performance of Music” (2009). His speciality was the demonstration of the interaction between music and acoustics by commenting on and conducting orchestral performances in many countries or by playing string quartet examples in different rooms for the same audience. He plays the violin and leads a chamber orchestra, in 1991 conducting the first performance of the “Divertimento für Streichorchester” Op.105 by Giselher Klebe, which was dedicated to him by the composer. He was president of the German Acoustical Society (DEGA) from 1995 – 1998, he is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America. In 2004 he received the Helmholtz-Medal of the DEGA and the Ehrenmedaille of the “Verband deutscher Tonmeister”.


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