Fort Worth Report Interviews David Schwarz on Bass Hall’s 25th Anniversary


Fort Worth Report’s Marchetta Fornoff interviewed DMSAS Founder and Chairman David Schwarz for Bass Hall’s 25th Anniversary. David recalled the risk involved with Bass Hall and its iconic angels, as well as the Hall’s lasting impact on Fort Worth, Texas:

To minimize disruptions to performances, the air ducts would need to be as far away from the stage as possible — without compromising the grandeur of the building’s main facade.

The building’s architect David M. Schwarz said members of the construction committee considered several options, from horses galloping out of the building, to cacti flanking a set of doors and a bank of arched windows. In the end, two Texas Cordova Cream limestone angels would provide an answer to their prayers. But, for the team, they also presented a risk.

“The angels served multiple purposes for the hall. I understood when we did them I was either making or breaking my career, that they would either be celebrated and embraced or everybody would call me a great fool,” Schwarz said in an interview with the Fort Worth Report. “It was a phenomenal risk, but I thought it was a risk worth taking because I was pretty sure I was right.”

Fort Worth Report also notes the difficulty of designing Bass Hall. The interior required an acoustic engineering solution just as elegant as the angels on the exterior:

Bass Hall encompasses a full city block, and is bordered by Commerce, Fourth, Fifth and Calhoun streets. The footprint sounds large, but the need to accommodate about 2,000 patrons for shows with acoustical needs varying from operatic arias to full symphony orchestras and broadway chorus lines, presented another design challenge.

Bass Hall needed a large “fly tower,” or backstage space, that could host lighting and a vast series of pulleys and counterweights that help the crew “fly in” and “fly out” set pieces and other stage materials. While this design would be ideal for theatrical or ballet performances, having a tall cavernous column above the stage would create an acoustical nightmare for an orchestra.

The solution is a special ceiling Schwarz said the team called “the garage door.” The device is stored vertically on the furthermost wall backstage and, like a garage door, can be deployed to help reflect and amplify sound out into the audience.

You can read the rest of the article from Fort Worth Report here.