Severance Hall nearing completion of restoration Photo: Roger Mastroianni, August 1999
Reopening at Severance Hall
From the day Severance Hall opened in 1931, it has
helped make the Cleveland Orchestra into a great ensemble. As one
of the first concert halls designed and built with radio
broadcasting capability, it carried the name and sound of Cleveland
across the country. Following the completion of a two-year, $36.7
million restoration and expansion, Severance Hall reopened for a
gala performance on January 8, 2000.
Founded in 1918, the Cleveland Orchestra has been led
by some of the greatest music directors, and has become a world
acclaimed symphonic orchestra. Its permanent home, Severance Hall,
built by Cleveland philanthropist John Long Severance, provided it
with a superior space for rehearsing and performing.
During music director George Szell's tenure
(1946-1970), the orchestra achieved artistic stature and lengthened
its season. The orchestra has continued to prosper under the
musical direction of Christoph von Dohnányi, who assumed the
post in 1984. His contract extends to year 2002, when Franz
Welser-Möst will become the orchestra's seventh music
Severance Hall was designed with a Georgian exterior
to harmonize with the classical architecture of the Cleveland
Museum of Art. Its interior rooms reflect a harmonious eclecticism.
Design elements have united and tied together the diverse styles of
art deco, French nouveau, classicism, Egyptian revival, and
modernism. The hall's restoration, by David M. Schwarz
Architectural Services of Washington, D.C., has preserved its
original detailing, while enhancing its acoustics, and restoring
its magnificent 6,025 pipe organ. The building has been recognized
by local and national preservation societies, including the
Cleveland Landmarks Commission and the National Register of the
Documentation includes a brief text history, a
program book from the reopening gala, a newspaper supplement about
the reopening; and a video.
Originally submitted by: George V. Voinovich, Senator.
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