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Architecture for Music: Chicago Symphony Hall

This is the Sunday Series, a peek of things in the art music world.

Music has a close bound with architecture for quite some time. Concert halls and opera houses are also the ones which effects the music and also effected by music. These structures are devoted to music, from within them we witness the grow of musical arts.

This series presents the beauty of the structure, in which music creativity flows abundantly.



Chicago Symphony Center is situated in Chicago, Illinois and hosts two orchestras, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Sinfonietta. This building was built in 1904.


This hall houses several halls in the building complex. Grainger Stage is the stage in the main Orchestra Hall while Buntrock Hall is the smaller hall in the complex which usually used as a performance and also rehearsal space. Grainger Ballroom is a hall used as a banquet hall and meeting hall.

Orchestra Hall can hold about 2500 people in it, while other smaller halls seats about 350 people.


Built in 1904, Orchestra Hall was designed by renowned Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. Construction began on May 1, 1904 and the first concert was held on December 14, 1904. The building has “Theodore Thomas Orchestra Hall” inscribed in its façade, after the orchestra’s first music director who died less than a month after his conducting debut there. The names Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner are inscribed above the ballroom windows on the façade.

~from wiki


The first significant renovation (by Harry Weese and Associates) occurred in 1966, at a cost of nearly $3 million. The project included the installation of new heating, air conditioning, and modern elevators; increase in lobby space on three floors; expansion of musicians’ lounges and dressing rooms; and replacement of plaster ceiling with acoustically designed aluminum panels.

~ from cso.org


About mikebm (1339 Articles)
An arts journalist, a conductor, an educator, a young arts manager whose passion drove him to leave a multinational IT cooperation to study Arts Administration and Cultural Policy in London and went back to Indonesia to build the scene there.

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