Music Academy of the West Hahn Hall

Photos: Ana Aguirre

A premiere school of music, the Academy was begun in 1947 by a group of visionary Southern California arts patrons and musicians including the legendary soprano Lotte Lehman and the famed conductor Otto Klemperer. Over the years, many artists have taught and performed at the Academy with the summer performance series as the centerpiece of the program. The Academy makes a unique and enduring contribution to the world of classical music by advancing the development of the next generation of great classical musicians and cultivating discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences.

The 300 seat recital hall was tasked with supporting solo performers, choirs, and full orchestra ensembles and was simply not up to the task. The hall was renovated to include a flexible performance space with theater consultation by NV5. Moveable panels are deployed to create a shallow stage for solo performances or stored at the stage perimeter for a full orchestra. The panels perform an acoustic function but also focus audience attention on the performance.

The stage lighting system is integrated into a stylized wood grid ceiling so that the lighting equipment is barely seen. The auditorium lighting system features custom chandeliers that are decorative yet also contain down lighting luminaires that illuminate the seating area. The hall includes a high definition projection and audio system that is used to host “The Met – Live in HD,” showing The Metropolitan Opera performances.


Montecito, CA


PMSM Architects


Lighting Design for Theatres & Studios

Key Facts

Budget $15.5M