Balancing Acoustics and Physical Distancing as Orchestras Return to their Halls

Sponsored On-Demand Webinar

Robin Glosemeyer Petrone and Scott D. Pfeiffer

Robin Glosemeyer Petrone and Scott D. Pfeiffer

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The content of this webinar was developed by and sponsored by Threshold Acoustics LLC.

When we gather to convey a message through music, both audiences and artists crave the full breadth of sound. As we return to live performances in our concert halls, we must balance the need to create a safe space for performers and audiences with artistic expression and acoustics.

Traditionally, musicians, soloists, and the conductor are set up on stage physically close together, but in the age of social distancing this must be altered. We must manage spacing individuals on stage to keep a safe distance while maintaining the acoustical integrity of the ensemble and composition. With the audience distanced, how can we enable the performance to carry the same breadth and fullness of sound and artistic expression? How do we move forward with issues of balance, communication between performers on stage, a cohesive performance, and optimizing acoustics while considering the unique logistical challenges of a symphony orchestra? And if an ensemble is streaming this performance to a virtual audience simultaneously, what must they have in place to maximize the sound quality for both the in-person and virtual audiences?

In this sponsored 60-minute webinar, experts in the field of acoustics will address these challenges and discuss potential scenarios and solutions to enable your ensemble to optimize the acoustics of your return to live performance.

Speakers: Robin Glosemeyer Petrone, Partner at Threshold Acoustics LLC and Scott D. Pfeiffer, FASA, Partner at Threshold Acoustics LLC

This webinar is an encore presentation of a session originally presented on October 7.

Who Should Attend?

Executive directors, youth orchestra directors, general managers, operations staff, and individuals seeking to learn more about creating a satisfying acoustic experience while maintaining safe social distance.

If you can't attend the webinar live, register to receive the recording.


  • Free for Members
  • $25 for Non-Members

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About the Speakers

Robin Glosemeyer Petrone
Partner at Threshold Acoustics LLC 

Robin Glosemeyer Petrone

As a Partner at Threshold Acoustics, Robin Glosemeyer Petrone shares her research and project-specific knowledge of sound behavior with clients, design teams, and contractors, showing everyone how their work affects the spaces they build together. Her excitement delivering acoustics and A/V explanations of the what and the why of the design process naturally energizes everyone into shared ownership of the project. Robin is driven by her belief in designs where acoustics and A/V become a natural extension of unified design rather than an additive element.

Robin continues to share her knowledge through presentations and publication. She is active in the Acoustical Society of America, presenting in and chairing sessions on room acoustics for performance spaces, co-organizing the 2003, 2014, and 2019 Concert Hall Research Group Summer Institute, and co-authoring Classroom Acoustics: A Reference for Creating Learning Environments with Desirable Listening Conditions. She is currently serving her second term as a voting member on the ASA Books Committee representing the Technical Committee on Architectural Acoustics and is on the Advisory Committee for the Newman Student Award Fund. Robin has been an invited speaker on the topics of music and architecture for the LA Philharmonic’s Music for Elementary Educators series, at SCI-Arc as part of the “Stereolabs” Seminar which focused on the exploration of architecture and sound, and bringing mid-century masterpieces back to life at the International Theatre and Architecture Conference.

This drive has always been with her. By the time she was 13, she had toured Copenhagen, Moscow, and Minsk with the St. Louis Gateway Ballet Company and filled her spare time with musicals, flute, speech team, and the choir. She discovered the convergence of art and science that is acoustics while studying abroad, specifically during a Requiem in a cathedral in Dortmund. After graduating with an Architectural Engineering degree with an acoustic emphasis, she joined Jaffee Holden Acoustics and became Director of West Coast Operations, managing projects and the office for seven years.

Scott D. Pfeiffer, FASA 
Partner at Threshold Acoustics LLC

Scott Pfeiffer

Scott Pfeiffer’s path in architectural acoustics began on the elementary school stage, and continued with roles in high school musicals and then recitals as part of his music education at Moravian College. With acoustics his main interest, he completed a Bachelor of Science in Physics with Honors in Music and then moved on to graduate studies in the Acoustics Laboratory at the Technical University of Denmark. For two decades, Scott has participated in virtually every aspect of the acoustical consulting profession, from modeling and measurements to leading the design of complex rooms, audio and video installations, and electronic enhancement systems.

Scott has been honored as a Fellow in the Acoustical Society of America for his accomplishments in the design of worship and performing arts spaces as well as his leadership in pursuing great Unanswered Questions, a topic he explored at length in the ASA’s Knudson Distinguished Lecture in 2012. He was keynote speaker at the University of Michigan’s 2013 Saturday Morning Physics conference, lecturing a rapt audience of 1,000 on physics, perception, and uniqueness. He also serves on the Knowles Hearing Center Advisory Board at Northwestern University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Durham School Architectural Engineering Industry Advisory Committee. Yes, he is an overachiever.


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This webinar is made possible by generous grants from American Express, the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, Ford Motor Company Fund, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Wallace Foundation, as well as supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Photos courtesy of the speakers.