The Tonhalle Dusseldorf was preceded as Dusseldorf concert buildings by the first Municipal Tonhalle (1865/1892 new building) opened on today’s Schadowstraße/Tonhallenstraße. Another concert building was the Tonhalle des Südens (literally soundhall of the south), located at Florapark on Palmenstraße 16, completed after 1870. Both buildings were damaged in World War II and no longer exist today.
Part of the Ehrenhof ensemble
The Tonhalle Dusseldorf was originally designed as a multipurpose hall in the brick expressionist style. The hall could have housed a planetarium. It was built in 1926 under the name Rheinhalle (literally rhinehall) by architect Wilhelm Kreis (1873-1955). Even today, a gold-colored star on the top of the dome is a reminder of this possible use. As the southern end, it belongs to the so-called Ehrenhof ensemble, which was planned and realized by the aforementioned architect for the 1926 Gesolei exhibition.
Acoustics and interior design, ornamentation
The interior decoration of the dome is distinguished by ornamentation by Adolf Luther (1912-1990), which is well worth seeing. The rest of the surface of the dome is kept in a blue that looks like glass and is seemingly interrupted by stelae. The Green Vault, in expressionist style, is also worth seeing. In the rotunda located at the level of the foyer, there is a light sculpture by the world-famous Günther Uecker, popularly known as the Stalactite Field. In 1975, the Tonhalle underwent renovations and in 1979 was named an exemplary building by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Dusseldorf architect Helmut Hentrich, who became world famous for the Dreischeibenhaus (built 1957-1960), was largely responsible. The east-facing forecourt of the Tonhalle today bears the name Helmut-Hentrich-Platz.
Sculptures and murals in the outdoor areas
Several sculptures and murals are located in the outdoor areas of the Tonhalle. In the open corner pavilions on Oederallee is a glass mosaic with male and female nudes by Heinrich Nauen (1926): The Rhine as the Bearer of Life and the opposite Dance Group, which actually belongs to the NRW Forum and another at Helmut-Hentrich-Platz: The Rhine as the Mirror of Beauty. At Helmut-Hentrich-Platz, four busts created by Franz Küsters of the following personalities were attached to the building in 2003: Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847), Clara Schumann (1819-1896), Robert Schumann (1810-1856) and Norbert Burgmüller (1810-1836).
Memorials to the Nazi era
To the left of the stairway to the Hofgartenrampe are preserved fragments of a Fallen Memorial (1928) by Jupp Rübsam, which was removed by the Nazis in 1933 and replaced five years later with another – now a memorial – on Reeser Platz. A memorial plaque with a quote from Heinrich Heine commemorates the Nazi book burnings that also happened in Dusseldorf (1933).
Tonhalle Dusseldorf today
The Tonhalle is close to the Academy of Arts, a visit is worthwhile because of the special acoustics, which are also conditioned by the architecture of the round building and the dome. Today, concerts are held in the Tonhalle, and sometimes cabaret artists perform. A very varied spectrum of old and new composers is performed. In summer there is the possibility to be entertained on the terrace with a panoramic view over the Rhine.
To see the image caption in English click on the circular infopictogram on the right below the enlarged photo.