The Bing opened with a bang. It's technically the Bing Concert Hall, on the campus of Stanford University, but ushers had been instructed to greet us with a "welcome to The Bing", which seemed as forced as the attempts of Radioshack to rebrand itself the Shack. Granted, the house that Bing's bling built is pretty, a jewel box of a concert hall with vertically steep seating surrounding the cedar-covered stage, bullfight arena style, and giant sails reflecting the sound down from the tall walls. It seats 840, but feels much more intimate, as no seat is far from the stage. No third tier balconies with nosebleed section there.
The intimacy comes with incredible acoustics, which came to life right away from the entrance of the Stanford Chamber Chorale and the sound of their heels on the hardwood floor. You could hear the proverbial pin drop, or a musician's chair creak. The sound would just bounce back right at you. The Opening Night Celebration kicked off with a chorale setting of the words Peter Bing gave at the ground breaking ceremony two years ago. If you gave $50mil, they'd compose a song using your shopping lists and your twitter feed too. Then the St Lawrence String Quartet, who has taken up residency on campus in 1998, delivered a festive, feisty Haydn quartet. This hall is made for chamber music, the clarity of the sound was astonishing. What a pleasure to hear the violin's delicate fioriture of 16th notes over the cello reprising the theme of the Andante.