Philharmonic principal trombone player Byron Peebles and cellist Barry Gold both served on the Disney Hall site committee as representatives of the 105-member orchestra, joining concertmaster Sidney Weiss who is a member of the Walt Disney Concert Hall Committee. "They have witnessed the agonies and the ecstasies--mostly the agony so far," says architect Frank Gehry." And they have been good counsel. They have really participated in the process."
Here is how one of those men, Byron Peebles, talks about the hall:
"You're never going to get the entire orchestra to agree as to what they feel the best hall is, and if you think about it, there's a reason and it isn't so off the wall or so strange. It all depends upon where you sit--if you're a violinist or a percussionist or a string bass player or a French horn player. We all get different impressions of the hall, and truly the only way you can tell whether the hall is good or not is to go up and listen in the auditorium.
" All orchestra members have to have a sense of being able to hear other parts of the orchestra. The trombones have to be able to hear the violins, and the violins have to be able to hear the cellos, and vice-versa. We all have to have an auditorium or a stage that allows the orchestra to hear itself. Without it, the ensemble will suffer.
"In Disney Hall, the community will be able to hear the orchestra in a true concert hall. The intensity of the sound will be far more striking to the audience and to us, too, because the orchestra and audience will be in one room. While you can design a shell that sends sound out, believe me, it will be a totally different sound when you're all in the same room. Certainly it will be more intimate.
"It is not uncommon for concert halls to be built and have marvelous stage and front facilities, all well planned and worked out, and then the backstage facility seems to drop off. It's not well planned and certainly always short of space. I think if we do this in a very deliberate manner, we can come up with a backstage facility that will really truly enhance the working conditions of the musician. Not that our conditions are that bad in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; they are not, but they could be better.
"Information from our questionnaire, completed in the fall of '87, was used to help the architects with their designs. At this point, it does remain a wish list. But I think it's encouraging and important for the orchestra to have this opportunity. Meetings will be ongoing basically until the hall is completed, and as Frank (Gehry) needs information, we will collect information from the orchestra. And feed it back.
"Frank has also said he wants the orchestra to feel free to speak with him and members of his staff. He (will) meet with us to inform the orchestra on the progress of the hall's design. Orchestra members know that they won't necessarily have their say in every single decision, but at least they will be heard."