Aspen Music Festival and School, Benedict Music Tent

Succeeding two previous tents, the first of which was designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen in 1949, the Benedict Music Tent was re-imagined as a permanent 2,050-seat venue; the only tensile structure of this type in the world to host world-class music performances. Auerbach Pollock Friedlander’s scope included concert lighting design, dimming and lighting control systems design, and rigging accommodations.

The firm’s critical early input allowed the architect to adjust the slope of the front seat area to improve sightlines. Audience seating was excavated below ground level and the front area slope was adjusted in order to maintain elevations at the stage and the rear of the pavilion.

The challenges of creating a space that would approximate concert hall acoustics, within the soft confines of a tent and sensitive integration of the performance systems into the architectural design, were achieved through close collaboration among the design team.

The concert lighting system allows for soloist highlights and lighting for individual score reading. This system is designed to allow future expansion to support theatrical lighting for popular music presentations.

Rigging points designed into the basic support structure allow for the handling of additional lighting, sound and scenic elements. The result is production flexibility that does not affect the facility’s superior acoustics, set in the informal atmosphere of the fresh air of the Colorado Rockies.

Architect: Harry Teague Architects
Acoustics: Kirkegaard Associates
Completion: 2001