Orchestra Hall in Chicago

Photo of Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

Chicago, Illinois

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Orchestra Hall
Official name:Theodore Thomas Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center

220 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, The Loop 60604
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Artistic, but still distinctly Chicago, Orchestra Hall takes a standard square early 20th century building, and adds touches that distinguish it as a slightly classier establishment. Crowns over the windows imply a regal quality, while pediments evoke a more classical structure. There are also stone swags, balconies, quoins, and a kind of decorative fringe reminiscent of a Swiss alpine house. While delightful, the execution is a little cluttered, and the result is a building evocative of an orchestra warming up, rather than a symphonic melody. Still, the building is an imaginative interpretation of the Georgian style. The more patient observer will note the names Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner inscribed above the arched windows and balconies of the second-floor ballroom.

Quick Facts
  • Construction start: 1904
  • Construction finish: 1905
  • Designed by: D.H. Burnham & Company
  • Cost: $750,000
  • Renovated: Renovated: 1908 by Howard Van Doren Shaw
  • Renovated: 1966
  • Renovated: 1981
  • Renovated: 1993-1997
  • Renovated: Renovated: 1998 by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill
  • Type: Skyscraper
  • Stories: 8
  • 14 December, 1904 - The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs for the first time in its new home. Previouisly, the orchestra performed down the street in the Auditorium Theater.
  • 14 December, 2004 - The Chicago Symphony Orchestra celebrates 100 years in this building with a concert featuring the same music played on opening night, December 14, 1904. The program includes Wagner, Handel, and Beethoven.
Did You Know?
  • Orchestra Hall isn't just for orchestras. The venue has hosted performances by the likes of Beverly Sills, Judy Garland, and Benny Goodman. It has also been a speakers forum for people like Amelia Earhart, and Martin Luther King, Junior.
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Your Thoughts

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  upon returning home from usaf duty in korea ( december 1955 ), between trains to boston, i took a cab just to view the building, but as i stood in front, a door opened, and since i was; in usaf-uniform, a fellow asked if i'd like to see inside.... he led me right up-on-stage and we walked among timpani and other items left-in-place for it was, chicago orchestra season, and i had waiting at home; unopened-unplayed lps, which i had purchased via a mail-order house in nyc, while serving my 4 year enlistment... this fellow had brought up the-house-lights, and i was able to see the entire concert-hall from the vantage-point a musician would have... raphael kubelik was the maestro on most of my mercury albums, waiting for me at home.. over the years i have often thought of the kindness afforded this, music-lover, and all because i was in-uniform, and carrying orders that showed i would be discharged upon arrival back in boston... would that all-veterans could rcv such courtesies.... it's one memory i treasure, and shall for a lifetime.. vty, joe damery

joseph c. damery yob 1930 - Monday, September 15th, 2008 @ 5:32am