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We’ve Got Answers – What’s the history of the Norfolk Music Shed?

Like a wooden siren, the Norfolk Music Shed on the grounds of the Yale Summer School of Music lures thousands of visitors each summer to hear music presented by various artists. The Music Shed was designed by famed architect E. K. Rossiter for Ellen and Carl Stoeckel. It opened its doors on June 6, 1906, to house the Litchfield County Choral Union, later known as the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and soon became internationally known. The original hall seated 700 and was later enlarged to hold 2,100. Fire codes have since set the audience number to 900.

The Music Shed is renowned for its excellent acoustics, attributed to its construction from cedar and redwood that was individually selected and imported from California. The shed was recently given a new luster by Kronenberger & Sons, the firm restored and replaced the entire outside cedar shake siding, roof, and reconstructed the large cupola based on historical photographs. According to KSR, the company’s workers also removed, restored, and reinstalled all windows and doors on the building.

The Music Shed will emanate sweet sounds at this summer’s first event, an Emerging Artist Showcase on June 28 with world premieres by composers of the New Music Workshop. Opening night will be held the following evening featuring the Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. The season concludes August 17 with the Norfolk Choral Festival, featuring works from the Renaissance to the 21st century.




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