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Chicago Symphony Center (Chicago, USA)

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Chicago Symphony Center

Chicago Symphony Center

Symphony Center is a music complex located at 220 South Michigan Avenue in the Loop area of Chicago, Illinois. Home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Chicago Symphony Chorus; Civic Orchestra of Chicago; and the Institute for Learning, Access, and Training; Symphony Center includes the 2,522-seat Orchestra Hall, which dates from 1904; Buntrock Hall, a rehearsal and performance space; Grainger Ballroom, an event space overlooking Michigan Avenue and the Art Institute of Chicago; a public multi-story rotunda; Forte restaurant and café; and administrative offices.

In June 1993, plans to significantly renovate and expand Orchestra Hall were approved and the $110 million project resulting in Symphony Center began in 1995 and was completed in 1997.

Designed by architect Daniel Burnham, Orchestra Hall was designated a National Historic Landmark on April 19, 1994. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978.

Built in 1904, Orchestra Hall was designed by renowned Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. The new hall was specifically designed as a home for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which had previously performed in the larger Auditorium Theater. Construction began on May 1, 1904, and the first concert was given 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 1907 through 1996 the ninth-floor penthouse of the building served as the home of the Cliff Dwellers Club, with interior architecture by Howard Van Doren Shaw and the first significant mural of John Warner Norton.

The administrative offices are located within the historic Chapin and Gore Building, which was built in 1904. The building was designed by architectural partners Richard E. Schmidt and Hugh M. G. Garden. The building was attached to the Symphony Center campus as part of the 1997 renovation.

Orchestra Hall was also used as a movie theater during the 1910s, to maintain income during the summer months, when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was playing at the Ravinia Festival. Lectures and other programs were held at Orchestra Hall in with speakers including Harry Houdini, Richard E. Byrd, Amelia Earhart, Bertrand Russell and Orson Welles.

In 2008 the venue hosted the 2008 Green National Convention alongside the Palmer House Hilton.

In 2012 the venue hosted the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates alongside the UIC Pavilion. This was held in Chicago simultaneous to the 2012 Chicago Summit.

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