A night at the Petronas Philharmonic Hall usually takes your breath away. From the moment you take the flight of stairs leading up to the concert hall, you will be captivated by the well-constructed lobby with its fine embellishments, which include several impressive chandeliers that gracefully light up the night. What’s most spectacular is the location of the concert hall – within the Petronas Twin Towers, which adds to the theatrical appeal of the hall.
There’s something quite futuristic about the design of this concert hall that lends it an almost timeless appeal. The Dewan Filharmonik Petronas or the Petronas Philharmonic Hall is Malaysia’s first purpose built concert hall for classical music. It is the home of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Since it first flung open its doors in 1998, the hall has hosted many of the world’s leading artists and orchestras spanning several genres of music. Some of the typical highlights on the year-round calendar include international jazz performances, classical chamber concerts, traditional Malaysian music and cultural dances.
The interior will leave you spellbound. Observe closely – this 885 seater hall is a jewel box; a space designed to bring out the best acoustics for any type of performance from an orchestra with a chorus and a dance performance to a violin recital. Pay attention to the spectacular dome-like ceiling of the hall and its twinkling lights which switch from one color to another throughout the performances. Its ceiling, believe it or not, includes a concealed movable feature that can alter the acoustics volume from low to high depending on the function of the room. Seats are plush; and the stage is ample enough to incorporate large orchestras. The seating layout includes box seating at the ‘stalls’ level, and 20 luxurious corporate suites at the ‘circle’ and ‘upper circle’ levels. The surroundings evoke an intimate and special feel for the spectator.
You’ll find the magnificent, giant-sized Klais Pipe Organ staring down at you. Designed and built by German organ builder Johannes Klais, the pipe organ brings forth a sense of drama to the space; the 2, 977 pipes ranging in length from the smallest which is a little over an inch to the towering 32 feet rank (in the pedal division) are a sight to behold.
Audiences have witnessed world renowned musicians such as the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, The BBC Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Sydney Symphony, plus Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, conductors Lorin Maazel, Sir Neville Marriner, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Sir Andrew Davis and the late Yehudi Menuhin.
Other prominent artists who have performed at the hall include Harry Connick Jr, the Count Basie Orchestra, Yellowjackets, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Pink Martini and sitar virtuoso Anoushka Shankar.
Hot tip- the MPO Happy Hour and Chamber Concert tickets are very reasonably priced. Also, when attending concerts do observe the strict dress codes.