The comforting smell of wood varnish welcomed the audience to the 275-seater The Nielson, the jewel in the crown of the ACO’s new home at Pier 2/3at Sydney’s Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, which was officially unveiled at the weekend with a Friday night opening concert and two days of music, talks and events.

The stage is surrounded by lovely panelling, punched with holes in Braille-like patterns, while above the impressive black metal lighting gantry four massive rounded beams run along the curved roof of Henry Walsh’s pier completed in 1920. Here the perforated timber cladding uses Shostakovich’s musical signature DSCH as its motif and the whole gives you the impression of being on an oceanic voyage.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra at the Opening Festival for their new home at Pier 2/3 in Sydney's Walsh Bay Arts Precinct. Photo © Nic Walker.

The windows surrounding...