Byron began his career in Chicago before joining Charcoalblue in London to found the acoustics practice in 2010. His work on notable projects such as St Ann’s Warehouse and Theatre Royal in York set the course for expanding our acoustics offering across our studios and establishing an industry-leading integration of theatre and acoustic design. Byron joined the Charcoalblue partnership in 2017.
Having worked on a number of complex performing arts schemes, he is a specialist in the technical coordination of disciplines required to achieve critical sound separation and noise control requirements. As an experienced listener in concert and opera halls all over the world and as an orchestral trombonist himself, he is sensitive to the requirements of musicians and the expectations of audiences.
With Charcoalblue, Byron’s consultancy work includes the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s The Yard, Film / Video Department at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, the refurbishment of Sydney Theatre Company, Energy Hall at Expo 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan, and the Elizabethan Theatre at Chateau d’Hardelot in France. He is the Acoustics Advisor to St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
“Byron Harrison is brilliant! We couldn’t be more pleased with his work and the manner in which he interacts with all of the players….”
David Hawkanson, Executive Director, Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Byron is a gifted orchestral trombonist.
Byron founded the acoustics practice at Charcoalblue in 2010.
Byron visits the Astana World Expo in 2017.
Byron and his partner Brian at our 10th birthday party at the National Theatre in 2014.
Byron with some of the Acoustics team in April 2018.
Byron joined the partnership in 2017.
What's the greatest lesson you've learnt as a designer?
The relationships of the people involved, unanimity of purpose, and broad appreciation and patience for the design process are the three most important elements for great buildings.
What first sparked your interest in acoustics?
Between being in marching band and in the choir at the Ohio State Fair, much of my own music making growing up was outside! Those experiences helped me develop an appreciation for what the room provided me as a musician. And as a young pianist, I learned to modify my playing to suit the instrument and the space.
What qualities should a 'great performance space' have?
Not to diminish the subtlety we aspire to in acoustic design, but I always come back to the basic requirement for loudness. Our sense of intimacy for drama and our satisfaction of having been really moved by music is all contingent on the performance being simply loud enough. It's for this reason we spend so much effort making spaces both quiet and the right size.
You’re often travelling to far flung places to hear concerts. Do you have a favourite hall?
Getting to know a hall is like getting to know a person, you need time and many different scenarios to figure out if you’re really compatible! I do have favourite specific listening experiences. Hearing Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra in Suntory Hall in Tokyo, sitting uncharacteristically close to the orchestra, was absolutely electric. And, it’s not a hall that people rave about, but hearing Brucker’s Symphony No 5 from the very middle of the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall was unforgettable.
The new "world-class" Waikato regional theatre will transform and regenerate the heart of Hamilton.
Acoustics experts working on the St George’s Bristol extension give their tips for achieving the perfect performance sound.
St. Ann's Warehouse has made its home in a neighbourhood between two of the noisiest transport thoroughfares in the City – the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges – which presented a challenge.