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Severance Hall, Home of the Cleveland Orchestra


Severance Hall, Interior

Severance Hall, Interior

(© R. Mastroianni/courtesy of the Cleveland Orchestra) Severance Hall

Severance Hall

(© 2006 S Mitchell; Licensed to About, Inc.) Severance Hall, Lobby

Severance Hall, Lobby

(© R. Mastroianni/Courtesy of the Cleveland Orchestra)

Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra, is located in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. The 2100-seat neo-classical concert hall was a gift of Cleveland businessman, John L. Severance and his wife, Elisabeth.

Mr. Severance’s father had been treasurer of the Standard Oil Company with John D. Rockefeller and his son was president of the fledgling Orchestra’s board of trustees. Unfortunately, Mrs. Severance died unexpectedly before the building was completed.

Building Severance Hall:

Severance hall was designed by the Cleveland architectural firm of Walker and Weeks. The exterior of the building is designed to resemble a Greek temple and is constructed of Indiana limestone to match the nearby Cleveland Museum of Art.

The Interior:

The interior of the building reflects the more popular Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles of the era. One unifying theme to the interior is the lotus flower, a favorite of Mrs. Severance. This motif is found throughout the building and is especially lovely in the foyer ceiling, which is made to resemble Mrs. Severance’s wedding dress.

Designed for Excellence:

Severance Hall was built to encourage artistic excellence. It was one of the first concert halls to be wired for radio broadcasts and carried the young Orchestra’s sound throughout the United States. Under George Szell, artistic director between 1958 and 1970, the concert shell on the stage was remodeled with maple side panels to enhance its acoustics.

The Renovation:

In 1998, the concert hall was completely renovated, re-installing the original Nelson Memorial Pipe Organ and combining the original stage design with improved acoustics. Guest amenities, such as a new restaurant, a gift shop, and improved facilities were also added.

Hotels Near Severance Hall:

The Intercontinental Hotel (check rates), at the Cleveland Clinic, is less than a mile away from Severance Hall and offers elegant accommodations as well as a full range of services. Smaller and more intimate is the Glidden House (check rates), just around the corner. It's a charming bed and breakfast inn, created out of an historic mansion.

(last updated 8-1-08)

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