Located in Boston, Massachusetts, the Symphony Hall is among the top concert halls in the world. Its premier acoustics, great views and beautiful architecture make it a delight for the visitors. One of the Hall’s most treasured features is the Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ, also referred to as ‘the king of instruments, the instrument of Kings.’
The venue is home to the renowned Boson Symphony Orchestra as well as Boston Pops. Besides, it is also the chosen site for many of Handel and Haydn Society’s concerts.
A number of renowned conductors are scheduled to perform some of the finest symphonies by legendary composers such as Gustav Mahler, Ludwig van Beethoven and Mozart & Shostakovich at the venue. To witness the magical performances in person, purchase Boston Symphony Hall tickets before they sell out.
|Location||Type||Built In||Architects||Architectural Style||Significant Dates||301 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts||Concert Hall||1900||McKim, Mead & White||Renaissance||January 20, 1999, Added to NRHP (National Register of Historic Places)|
The Old Boston Music Hall was Boston Symphony Orchestra’s original home. Threatened by a building and subway construction project, it closed in 1900 and was later converted into a vaudeville theater.
Major Henry Lee Higginson, the orchestra’s founder started a corporation to finance a permanent new home for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Prominent architectural firm of the time, McKim, Mead & White was hired for the design and construction of the venue. The team further engaged Wallace Clement Sabine, founder of the field of architectural acoustics to ensure that the hall served the purpose. Hence the Boston Symphony Hall became the first ever auditorium to be designed according to the scientific acoustic principles. The Symphony Hall officially opened on October 15, 1900. The inaugural gala was led by Austrian conductor Wilhelm Gericke.
The concert hall is modeled on the second Gewandhaus concert hall in Leipzig that was later destroyed during World War II. Its shape is like a rectangular shoebox reminiscent of the Musikverein in Vienna and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. While comparing Musikverein with the Boston Symphony Hall, Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan spoke the following about the latter: “for much music, it is even better... because of its slightly lower reverberation time.”
The stage walls of the hall are sloped inwards in order to help focus the sound. Built with bricks, plaster and steel, the hall has wooden floors and is modestly decorated. The side balconies are shallow so that the sound is not trapped. The statue filled niches along the side walls and the recesses of the coffered ceiling allow the sound to be dispersed throughout the hall. The venue still maintains the original leather seats since the year 1900.
The sixteen replicas of Roman and Greek statues (of real people as well as mystical objects) present in the Symphony Hall are related to art and literature in one way or the other. The statues were placed in the niches around the walls of the Hall as a tribute to the frequently quoted claim ‘Boston, the Athens of America,’ written by a native Bostonian William Tudor in early 19th century.
A group of 200 symphony goers donated these statues to the Hall and architect Charles McKim chose the appropriate ones to be placed inside. The statues were not ready for the inaugural concert but appeared later during the first two seasons.
The Boston Symphony Hall is considered unique among major concert halls for having made use of classical sculpture in its interior.
Ludwig van Beethoven is the only composer whose name is inscribed on one of the plaques that trim the Symphony Hall. Others were left empty because it was felt that no one else could match the German composer’s popularity.
The building was originally supposed to be called Boston Music Hall which is why the initials BMH are carved on the banister of the stairs at the Huntington Avenue side. The architects initially intended to keep this side as the main entrance of the concert hall.
Another one of the most prominent features of the Symphony Hall is the Aeolian-Skinner organ. It was built in the year 1947 as a replacement to the Hitchings organ of 1900. It was designed by G. Donald Harrison, the Tonal Director and President of Aeolian- Skinner of Boston. Harrison was one of the most famous and gifted American organ builders during the first half of the 20th century. When the instrument was first installed, it was widely recognized as one of the most flexible concert hall organs in the world.
The Aeolian-Skinner is unarguably the largest and finest instrument owned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It is placed in a forty feet high and twelve feet deep chamber behind the stage. According to acousticians and organ builders, the Hall provides the ideal acoustics for the organ to function to the best of its abilities.
Boston Symphony Hall Tickets
The Boston Globe described the Symphony Hall as ‘perfect in all requirements.’ In terms of acoustics, it is ranked among the top three concert halls in the world.
Attending a live performance at this historic music venue is a delight for the audience. A number of orchestral shows are scheduled in the upcoming months. If you want to be a part of any one of these, then make sure you have your Boston Symphony Hall tickets booked in time.