A collaboration between the University of Tasmania, Theatre Royal Hobart, and state and federal governments, the $96 million Hedberg will be transformative for Tasmania’s already thriving music and performing arts scene.

This vast project is not set to open its doors to students until 2020, but among those that have an understanding of just how cutting-edge this centre will be, the excitement is already mounting.

Excitingly for music students, as Director of the Hedberg, Associate Professor Andrew Legg explains, the building is being imbued with some incredible technologies that take it beyond any space currently available in Australia, and situate it among the top ten venues of its type in the world.

It is also much more than a new home for the Conservatorium of Music. “The Hedberg is in essence a multi-venue, interdisciplinary and immersive technology performing arts centre,” said Assoc Prof Legg. “It’s a research hub. It’s about performance of all types, and the coming together of the two."

Here are a handful of examples that highlight the astonishing technologies and facilities the Hedberg will offer music makers:

Think next-gen player pianos

Classical musicians will be able plug a USB stick into a real grand piano, for example, and hear the accompaniment played by their pianist. This is not a recording – rather, a digital interface connected to a mechanical device which makes the piano play. This allows the pianist to play their accompaniment live from anywhere in the world.

“This technology will also work for other instruments, allowing a jazz band, for instance, to hear real instruments play in real time, even without all its players present,” said Assoc Prof Legg.

Concerto for orchestra... and room

The project's principal architectural consultants, Liminal Studio, have partnered with world-leading acoustic consultants, ARUP, to redefine the possibilities of sound in the Hedberg. Acoustics in the main recital hall are engineered to be variable so that a swinging big band will be able to play on the same stage as successfully as an intimate classical quartet.

“This happens inside the wall at the push of a button. Within milliseconds, you can change the acoustics within a performance,” said Assoc Prof Legg. “Composers are already starting to write music for this space, treating the room itself as an instrument.” 

A beacon for the creative arts

The Hedberg will boast the most sophisticated, real-time video capture and broadcast facility in the Southern Hemisphere. “This raw data and camera capture allows a performer to walk out of a performance space with a recording of everything that has just been done,” said Assoc Prof Legg. “That means lighting, cues, sound, music, vision. No one else does it this way.”

The building is also designed so that the inside will be visible, with windows stretching over several levels, and equipped with media screens four storeys tall. This means the Hedberg will be able to broadcast everything that is happening inside.

Unplugged, but never drowned out

As the new home for the Conservatorium of Music, the Hedberg will boast the State's most sophisticated practice and rehearsal spaces open 24 hours, 356 days of the year, for students. “Every room is completely sound proofed, so you can have a metal band playing next door to a string quartet,” said Assoc Prof Legg.

Students can access flexible, high-tech laboratories, practice rooms, rehearsal and performance spaces, a Creative Technology Studio, Recital Hall and Studio Theatre space. Most importantly, the Hedberg provides unprecedented scope for interdisciplinary experimentation and practice. 

On the cutting-edge of creative research

Sharing the space, with the Theatre Royal and Conservatorium of Music, will be the Creative Exchange Institute (CxI); the University of Tasmania's new research institute on the cutting-edge of interdisciplinary performance, design, and creativity. Facilitating local and global exchange, music students are well positioned to engage with internationally-acclaimed creatives and to seek out exciting postgraduate and research degree opportunities.       

“This place will be a catalyst and a magnet for artistic thought, collaborative technology, creative endeavor and output,” said Assoc Prof Legg.

“People are going to want to be in The Hedberg. The whole building will sing.”

Gear up to study music at The Hedberg by applying to study Bachelor of Music at the Conservatorium of Music.

Watch The Hedberg’s progress on the site’s live construction cam.