ZK Matthews Great Hall
The ZK Matthews Great Hall is a concert hall of international standard, with seating for 1000 people. It is one of the few concert venues in Pretoria that can accommodate so large an audience. The acoustics, with a reverberation time of two seconds, are perfect for a concert hall in which a variety of music forms are performed.
The plush foyer, graced by the portraits of previous chancellors of the university, sets the atmosphere for your event, whether this is a musical concert or a large business convention.
The low stage (113 m2) is large enough to accommodate a symphony orchestra. The impressive Rieger organ is mounted behind the stage, with the console on its own small stage (22 m2). The venue also offers a Steinway concert grand piano on stage, and a Steinway backstage, as well as a harpsichord. The Great Hall is soundproof, providing ideal conditions for recording musical performances.
Every attention has been paid to making this a comfortable venue for the performers themselves, including well appointed backstage dressing rooms and restrooms.
The organ in the ZK Matthews Great Hall was built by the firm Rieger in Austria and inaugurated in 1995, the 150th year in the history of Rieger-Orrelbau. The firm began in Austrian Silesia (now part of the Czech Republic) in 1845. The factory was expropriated in 1945, and the proprietor, Josef Glater-Götz (who had bought the firm from Otto Rieger) was expelled by the Czech government, together with all German-speaking workers. The Glatter-Götz father and son, as well as all the workers, settled near Lake Constance in Austria and continued the Rieger tradition.
Rieger organs do not attempt to copy any specific style, but to create a contemporary sound, making it possible to play a wide variety of organ literature in the language of our time.
Every Rieger organ is designed, built and voiced specifically for the room it occupies. The Glatter-Götz brothers, Cristoph and Raimund, visited Unisa for this purpose, as well as to advise on the organ’s positioning and aesthetic appearance. The organ incorporates 55 stops and some 3500 pipes, spread over the three manuals and pedal.
The organ uses sophisticated technology that allows the registrations for a whole concert to be pre-set and stored individually on a magnetic card for each organist. A small television screen installed above the organ console enables the organist to see the stage, as well as the conductor.
The Steinway concert grand piano on stage in the ZK Matthews Great Hall was selected from the factory in Hamburg, Germany and is regularly serviced by Steinway piano technicians from Hamburg. There is a second Steinway piano backstage.
The Steinway tradition of excellence began in 1836 when Heinrich Steinweg started building pianos in Brunswick, Germany. In 1850, he immigrated to New York with his five sons and changed his name to Henry Steinway. The new piano-building firm that he established in 1853 achieved rapid success, opening branches in London (1875) and Hamburg (1880). Today, many top concert pianists regard the Steinway concert grand piano as the finest in the world.
- Desk at entrance for ticket sales or registration
- Choir stands
- Chairs for use on the stage
- Music stands
- Lectern with microphone
- Lapel microphones
- Handheld microphones
- Stand-up microphones
- Video/data projector and screen
- Compact disk player
- Cassette player
- Recording facilities