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City Recital Hall was officially opened on 30 October 1999. It was the first purpose-built music venue to be established in Sydney since the Sydney Opera House in 1973.

Designed by Peddle Thorp & Walker Architects, the Hall’s shape echoes the proven classic configuration of 19th-century European concert halls. This stunning venue is located between Pitt and George streets within the network of laneways just off Martin Place.

Specialist design consultants ARUP ensured the auditorium is finely attuned for acoustic music. The 1238-seat auditorium is precision tuned at a reverberation rate of 1.75 seconds when occupied, and is supported on rubber bearings to dampen external vibration and street noise.

The establishment of City Recital Hall followed extensive lobbying by Sydney’s arts community for a purpose-built recital space. The consortium of concert presenters included Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Musica Viva Australia and Sydney Symphony Orchestra who have been Key Presenters at the venue since its inception. They were joined by Pinchgut Opera in 2002. 

Dr Lisa Murray documented the development of the venue in a book entitled Musical Chairs: The Quest for a City Recital Hall.

Image: Tim da-Rin