Kennedy Center

Academy of Music

About CHRG

In 1991, Chris Jaffe called together a group of acoustical consultants including Jaffe Holden Scarbrough, Artec, Kirkegaard Associates, Acentech, KMK Acoustics, Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, Inc. and Beranek, to form the Concert Hall Research Group. They agreed to pool funds to support research and measurements in the interest of advancing the understanding of acoustics in concert halls.


At that time, there was little uniformity in the way different acousticians measured the response of concert halls and auditoriums. Different researchers measured different parameters, using different source signals, loudspeakers, and analyzers. Leo Beranek highlighted the problem by presenting a summary of ten different reverberation time measurements in Boston Symphony Hall, by different researchers at different times, with ten different results. There was a desire to see how closely measurements of different research teams would compare, and to obtain a set of “reference” measurements for a set of significant halls.

The initial measurement project during the summer of 1992 sent three different research teams to measure ten significant North American concert halls. Travel expenses were paid by CHRG, funded by contributions from the acoustical consulting firms. The three teams were led by Anders Gade (University of Denmark); John Bradley (National Research Council of Canada); and Gary Siebein (University of Florida). The resulting data was the basis of many papers presented at ASA meetings and several published in JASA.

The halls that were measured during the tour included:

    • Boston Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts
    • Orchestra Hall in Detroit, Michigan
    • E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Center in Akron, Ohio
    • Severance Hall in Cleveland, Ohio
    • Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, New York
    • Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, New York
    • Academy of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • The Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, DC

Following the initial ten halls, several additional halls were measured by Bradley and Campbell in 1993-96:

    • Manitoba Centennial Auditorium in Winnipeg, Canada
    • Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA
    • Merrill Auditorium in Portland, ME
    • Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, MD
    • Tanglewood Music Shed in Lennox, MA
    • Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium in Brandon, Canada



CHRG Mission

The Mission of the Concert Hall Research Group is to advance knowledge and understanding of acoustic design for music performance spaces, with an emphasis on larger spaces such as symphony halls and opera houses.

Main activities include:

      • Research on subjective preferences of listeners, measurement methods, and acoustic modeling methods.
      • Measurements of acoustics in halls.
      • Summer Institutes – specialty conferences to exchange ideas between acoustic consultants in performing arts, faculty and researchers in architectural acoustics, and college students studying or interested in architectural acoustics.

Principle guidelines from founders:

      • Maintain objectivity; avoid preferential treatment to any acoustical consultant, manufacturer, university, or researcher.
      • No significant funds should go to any acoustic consulting firm or members of their staff.
      • Affiliates of CHRG should not use the CHRG name for the purpose of marketing their firm, services, product, or themselves.

Board of Directors



Robin Glosemeyer Petrone, Chair
Tim Foulkes, Vice Chair
Michelle Vigeant
Paul Scarbrough
Jason Duty

Past Board Members

Bill Dohn
Bill Cavanaugh
Carl Rosenberg