When you go to the south of Copenhagen’s city centre, you can find yourself in Ørestad. This large district and ambitious development area is famous for housing some of Denmark’s most lavish and modern architecture. There’s the student residence Tietgen Kollegiet, with its imponent round design, and Bella Sky, a hotel with two lean towers. Or also the conference center Bella Center, a futuristic complex of auditoriums that houses the city’s Fashion Week. They are prove that the Ørestad district is a must-visit area that goes beyond its architectural sights. Now, to the north of this district you can find another architectural marvel: the DR Koncerthuset (“concert house” in English). This is a vanguardistic concert complex of glass walls that houses big musical events, meetings and other social events.
A glimpse at its history
Jean Nouvel, a French architect, created this building as part of a larger complex: DR’s (Danish Broadcasting Corporation) headquarters. The whole complex is known as the DR Byen (or DR “town”), and it consists of four segments. The first three house the facilities for DR’s TV productions, news, sports, weather departments and the regional radio channel P4. But contrary to what you might think, this building has a pretty short history.
Previously known as Copenhagen Concert Hall, the DR Koncerthuset opened its doors in January 2009, after a six-year construction period. It’s a complex because it’s conformed by five different halls: a 1800-people-capacity concert hall and four smaller recording studios. These studios have variable acoustic environments that make them suitable for different types of events.
The main auditorium is a huge irregular oval with a very unconventional design. It consists of a big platform surrounded by fourteen irregular box-shaped structures that rise in three different levels. The walls behind are shaped like waves that break to show silver organ pipes. A golden brown floods the hall, only interrupted by the red spots of the seats. Somehow chaotic but beautiful at the same time, the concert hall is a work of art by itself.
On the other hand, the studios have a less showy design but still classy and postmodern. Studio 1 is the biggest of the four, has glass windows, natural light, lounge and bar areas, similar to nightclubs. It has a 1000-people capacity and can be used for gala dinners, prize shows, big parties and concerts.
On the other hand, the Hollywoodesque Studio 2 is a wooden box with a rustic look and great acoustics. It has room for 550 seated guests and 749 standing up, which is ideal for intimate concerts. The black-and-white Studio 3, the smallest and most flexible, doesn’t have a fixed stage or fixed audience space. It has room for 170 guests, which makes it ideal for intimate meetings, product launches and jazz concerts. The passion-red Studio 4, with the same capacity of the previous hall, has an acoustic power ideal for choruses and chamber music.
Two musical nights at DR Koncerthuset
Watching a concert in the great concert hall is quite the experience. The Urban Roamers team attended a Tchaikovsky concert performed by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra last October. This event was a vibrant, powerful endnote to a busy day of visiting both Hamlet’s castle and Helsingborg, Sweden. There wasn’t a moment where the music didn’t strike our hearts because the acoustics of the hall made it impossible.
We also attended a film music concert at Studio 2 by DR VocalEnsemblet, a group of talented and beautiful voices. They moved us with their performances of famous songs like West Side Story’s Maria. This last experience was a more intimate one, but just as powerful as the other one. The talented people on and out of stage did a remarkable job delivering quality entertainment with high artistry.
So if you’re visiting Copenhagen and you’re looking for a professional musical experience, the DR Koncerthuset is more than recommended. Check out their website beforehand and get to know the events that you can attend while you’re visiting Copenhagen. Sadly, there’s not an English version available, so make sure you use a browser that translates the content. In the end, the experiences you’ll live in this musical temple, one of the city’s best, are worth the effort.
Have you ever attended a music event at the DR Koncerthuset? Tell us everything about it in the comments section below!