The executive director of Stanford Live, the university’s performing-arts presenter and producer, appeared at the Rotary Club of Los Altos Nov. 7 to sing the praises of the campus’ new Bing Concert Hall.
Wiley Hausam oversees programming at the new performance hall, which opened last January with plans for more than 60 performances per year, in addition to another 30 by the university’s music department.
Following its inaugural season of concerts, future seasons are expected to include multidisciplinary performances showcasing music, dance, theater, opera and immersive video.
Professional performers aren’t the only stars, however.
“There is broad participation by Stanford students, and almost none are musicians,” said Hausam, adding that the students tend to be mathematicians and scientists.
Hausam noted that the “Sing and Play the Bing” event is the one night of the year reserved for community groups to perform free of charge.
The acoustics are extremely sensitive in the 360-degree venue, as everyone can see each other and hear each other – a “very demanding situation,” Hausam said. The wooden stage floor was left unfinished for acoustic reasons. Enormous canvas “sails” surround the 842 seats.
Because the theater holds so few seats, the first 20 shows quickly sold out via subscriptions. To purchase individual tickets, concertgoers must register online at live.stanford.edu for notification when tickets become available. Bing memberships support the high cost of performers in the intimate venue.
“Managing the scarcity of tickets has become a challenge,” Hausam said.
The Stanford campus boasts four performance venues in addition to Bing Concert Hall: Bing Studio with 100 seats, Memorial Auditorium with 1,700, Memorial Church with 1,200 and Frost Amphitheater with 5,000.
Hausam said his goal is “to become the leading presenter of theater arts in all university venues.”
For more information on the Rotary Club of Los Altos, visit losaltosrotary.org.
Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.