Orchestra Hall, one of Minnesota’s cultural and architectural touchstones, opened in 1974 as the home of the Minnesota Orchestra, and since then has drawn upwards of 10 million people to its concerts. The Hall, located in downtown Minneapolis, is particularly renowned for its acoustics, originally designed by Cyril M. Harris. Each feature was planned to enhance the warmth and richness of sound in the space: the 100-plus large cubes that form a distinctive “falling rock” pattern on the auditorium ceiling, dispersing sound throughout the Hall; the wood floor and stage that enhance sound vibration; and the angle of the balconies, offering optimal reflection of sound. The acoustically brilliant space provides a superb aural experience.
Throughout its first four decades, the Hall has been the musical home to five of the Orchestra’s ten music directors. With them the Orchestra has welcomed guest artists ranging from Aaron Copland to Yo-Yo Ma to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, launched the beloved Sommerfest music festival, celebrated the Orchestra’s centennial in 2003, introduced more than a million students to classical music at Young People’s Concerts, and hosted a variety of community concerts and events.
A major renovation, designed by Toronto-based KPMB Architects and built by Mortenson Construction of Minnesota, was completed in fall 2013. The new and upgraded spaces include a greatly expanded lobby, updated backstage facilities for musicians, a refreshed auditorium that maintains the original acoustics for orchestral performances, improved access for those with disabilities, an improved sound system for amplified performances, new and more comfortable seating, and other enhancements to improve the concert-going experience.