The building that the Klaipėda Concert Hall has settled in has special history of origin. It is associated with the rifle organization.
In the Middle Ages in the towns of Europe guilds of the artificers armed themselves in order to withstand the dukes and defend the interests of a city; town-dwellers learned to use the arms. Afterwards these military organizations of the rifles turned to the cultural ones that enshrined the old traditions of the townspeople. In the towns of Prussia rifles had their houses and shooting-ranges, they arranged festivals and shooting-tournaments. There are some facts that suggest that a rifle organization – guild began its activities in Klaipėda in the end of the 17th century. In 1843 liberties of corporation were bestowed to the organization. Subsequently rifles of Klaipėda became the biggest organization of a kind in Germany.
In 1841 between present streets of Šauliai and S. Nėris (where the Concert Hall is presently situated) rifles purchased a fairly large piece of a land. They mounted a shooting-range in the first place. Shortly a brick building was built by the Šauliai street – the seat of the organization. As one can see at G. Valdhauer’s picture building of the rifles was simple in the beginning, its architecture was unsophisticated.
Rifle House. Middle of the 19th century. G .Valdhauer’s lithograph
Behind the building a garden was layed out. The orchestral building and the small house, that was called “glass pavillion”, were built in the garden. The shooting-range was reconstructed in 1878. Seemingly at the same time the building itself was rebuilt, decorated with stuccoes, big hall with a stage was upholstered. These buildings nestled to each other stand there till now. Rifle house had the biggest concert hall of the town. There was another entertainment hall in the biulding, that was smaller. Townspeople could rent it out. Complex of the rifle organization house was popular. There were many mass festivals, shooting-tournaments organized in the halls and the garden. During certain periods hall of the rifle house successfully competed with the town theatre.
At the Soviet times “Officer House” had settled in the building. Active cultural movement characteristic to the period took place in the House.
View of 1990
Since 1991 the premises wre transferred to the Music Center.
In December of 2004 the building underwent the capital reconstruction. From the April of 2005 on Klaipėda Concert Hall began its ativities in the complex.
Information prepared according to the publication „Senoji Klaipėda“ (“The Old Klaipėda”) - J. Tatoris, 1994.