Yasuhisa Toyota

Master Acoustician – A concert hall is like an instrument

A concert hall is like an instrument

‘Designing a concert hall is something like making an instrument, like a violin. There are no rules,’ says Yasuhisa Toyota, president and founder of Nagata Acoustics America. With over 30 years of experience in designing some of the world’s finest performance venues, Toyota is an established international authority in the field of concert hall design.

Acoustic optimization of a concert hall has everything to do with its shape and the materials used, two elements that are of equal importance to architects. ‘We’re in different fields, but we design with the same items,’ Toyota says. ‘This is why we have to collaborate, work closely together.’

Right after completing his studies at Kyushu Institute of Design in Japan, Toyota joined Nagata Acoustics in 1977. Over the next two decades, he collaborated closely with the company’s founder, Minoru Nagata, an internationally recognized authority in acoustic design. After opening an office in Los Angeles in 2001, Toyota founded Nagata Acoustics America in 2008.

Over his career, Toyota has been project leader for more than 50 concert hall and multipurpose hall projects. Some of his most prominent acoustical designs include Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Danish Radio Concert Hall in Copenhagen and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Toyota’s most recent projects are the Philharmonie de Paris and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. On April 22 this year La Seine Musicale, Boulogne opened. Herbert von Karajan described Suntory Hall as ‘truly a jewel box of sound’, and Sir Simon Rattle praised Walt Disney Concert Hall as ‘the best modern concert hall in the world’ and a ‘wonderful gift to music’.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Suntory Hall, Acoustical Engineering, Netherlands PINC.18