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VENUE NEWS: The Palace at Auburn Hills Boasts Top-Grossing Mid-Year Event (Click on More to view all articles)

(CelebrityAccess News Server) — At mid-year, The Palace at Auburn Hills in Michigan had the top-grossing concert event, according to Billboard magazine's 2003 mid-year ticket sales chart.

The venue's Elton John & Billy Joel sold out shows on May 2-3 grossed $4,669,250 and helped boost the arena to become the third-highest grossing venue of its size from a period of December 2002 through May 2003 with mid-year attendance figures of 528,710 patrons, and grossing $15,153,635.

"Between the big-name concerts we have recently hosted to the success of the Pistons, it is evident The Palace is still the place to be in the metro- Detroit area," said Tom Wilson, president and CEO of PS&E. "It may be a tough ticket to find, but if you attend our events we do everything we can to make sure you have a great time."
–edited by Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Toyota Awarded New Venue Naming Rights

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — Toyota has been awarded a multi-year naming rights agreement for the NBA Houston Rockets' new arena, the $200 million Toyota Center. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 18,500-capacity Toyota Center, scheduled to open in September, replaces the Compaq Center, built in 1976.–edited by Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

L.A. Pins High Hopes on New Concert Hall

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With world-class acoustics and a dramatic, curved steel exterior that looks more like sculpture than architecture, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is more than just a new home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

When the $274-million, Frank Gehry-designed building opens this fall, government officials and business leaders are counting on it to become the signature of the downtown skyline and an impetus for revitalizing the area.

"It's going to be a great boost to classical music, to the Philharmonic, to Los Angeles, to downtown and to the region," said Zev Yaroslavsky, who has been involved in the project since his election to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 1994.

The hall is expected to pull in tourists who simply want a look at the latest work by Gehry, arguably the most acclaimed architect of his time.

"It's just spectacular," said Mayor James Hahn. "It's a one-of-a-kind building, and I think people just love the excitement of it. I think it will be a real landmark for our city."

Not that the odd-looking building by Gehry, who takes a modern artist's approach to architecture, is everyone's cup of tea.

"It's controversial. A lot of people aren't going to like it … but architecturally, I think it's a masterpiece both outside and inside," said Yaroslavsky.

Gehry designed the wavy, steel exterior of the 293,000-square-foot concert hall to look like a ship with its sail at full mast, saying he wanted to create the feeling of traveling along a ceremonial barge to music.

The centerpiece of the concert hall, a 2,265-seat auditorium with natural lighting in which the audience surrounds the orchestra, was designed to look and feel like the hull of a ship. The auditorium's curved wood ceiling is also meant to evoke the feeling of billowing sails.

In contrast to the harsh steel exterior, the auditorium and many of the smaller performance areas in the four-story concert hall are filled with the warmth of wood on floors, walls and ceilings — an important element in achieving high-quality acoustics.

Indeed, Gehry has said that no matter how impressive the building's appearance, he will not have succeeded if the sound isn't the best it can be when resident maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen steps to the podium to lead the Philharmonic.

"It is my dream that when Esa-Pekka raises his baton to conduct the first notes on opening night, the building will be his instrument, that he will be at the same time conducting the inside and outside of the building itself in a wonderful symphony," Gehry said recently.

In designing the hall and planning for the installation of a stunning 10,000-pipe organ in its main auditorium, Gehry collaborated with world renowned acoustic experts Yasuhisa Toyota and Minoru Nagata. The organ is scheduled to debut one year after the hall's opening in October.

The Philharmonic is planning to present more than 150 concerts a year at the Disney Hall beginning with the 2003-2004 season.

That inaugural season includes 30 weeks of concerts, nine world premieres, a new series in jazz, baroque and world music, and appearances by distinguished visiting conductors and orchestras such as Zubin Mehta and the Berlin Philharmonic.

Government officials and business leaders hope to resurrect an area of downtown that for decades has rolled up its sidewalks after dark and on weekends.

On The Web: Walt Disney Concert Hall

New President Announced At The Interlochen Center for the Arts

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – The Interlochen Center for the Arts Board of Trustees has unanimously elected Jeffrey S. Kimpton to become the next president of Interlochen.

Kimpton, 52, will become only the seventh president in the institution’s 76-year history, and will replace Edward J. Downing, who is retiring. Kimpton is currently director of the School of Music and professor of Music Education at the University of Minnesota.

The appointment becomes effective Sept. 29, 2003. –edited by CelebrityAccess Staff