Cleveland's Severance Hall
Named by noted Cleveland industrialist and philanthropist John Long Severance in memory of his late wife Elizabeth Huntington (DeWitt) Severance, this fine Neoclassical concert hall marks one’s arrival at the vibrant University Circle district of educational, medical, art and cultural institutions.
Severance Hall, which faces the Wade Lagoon fronting the Cleveland Museum of Art along Euclid Avenue, was substantially funded by Mr. Severance’s original $2.5 million donation, and opened in February of 1931. It has served continually since then as the home and primary performance venue of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra.
Designed by the locally noted architectural firm of Walker & Weeks, the handsome structure embodies Art Moderne (Art Deco) flourishes on its late Classical form. One such element is the building portico’s pediment sculpture by Henry Hering. The interior of the concert hall — with its substantial use of aluminum, and its rich and colorful mix of Greek, Roman and Egyptian motifs — represents one of the best of Art Deco interiors extant anywhere throughout the United States.
The seeds for Severance Hall were sown in the 1920s, when Adella Prentiss Hughes, founder of the Cleveland Orchestra, along with its musical director, lobbied for a permanent home concert hall. Land acquired from Western Reserve University (now part of Case Western Reserve University) provided the building site. Mr. Severance, an Oberlin College graduate who had served in such corporate entities as Standard Oil, American Linseed Co., Colonial Salt and Linde Air Products, provided much of the funding and impetus for the facility. He also bequeathed his extensive art collection, then valued at $3 million, to the Cleveland Museum of Art upon his death.
The Cleveland Orchestra’s noted and long term Music Director, George Szell, initiated an acoustic redesign of the hall in 1958, under the supervision of acoustics maestro Heinrich Keilholz, with the collaboration of the architectural firm of Garfield, Harris, Schafer, Flynn & Williams. The result provided new vibrancy and a ‘harder’ sound benefiting the Orchestra’s presentations. Other exterior and auxiliary space modifications ensued in the 1970s.
A major $36 million expansion and restoration of Severance Hall began in 1998. With design by architect David M. Schwarz, that renovation, upon the facility’s reopening in 2000, secured for the concert hall the National Preservation Honor Award.
The areas surrounding Severance Hall have seen intensified development, from significant construction on the Case Western Reserve University campus to a major expansion program for University Hospitals of Cleveland, including a new world-class cancer center. The revamped Euclid Corridor and RTA Healthline have also enhanced the region's connectivity to other significant destinations and downtown Cleveland's core.
- The Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art One of the gems of Cleveland’s University Circle area is the renowned Cleveland Museum of Art. The Wade Park Historic District of Cleveland encompasses about 65 acres at the core of University Circle. Land donated to...
- Cleveland's University Circle
Come to Cleveland's mecca of cultural, educational and entertainment institutions.
- The Cleveland Museum of Natural History
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History Situated clockwise around Wade Oval to the north of The Cleveland Museum of Art is The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The first natural history collection in the city consisted of two rooms of a small...
- Cleveland Botanical Garden
Cleveland Botanical Garden Consisting initially of nothing more than a converted boathouse on Wade Park Lagoon in the University Circle area, the very first garden center in any American city was founded in Cleveland in 1930. In its early years, The.
- Epworth-Euclid Church, Cleveland, Ohio
Epworth-Euclid Church, Cleveland, Ohio Approaching its 90th year of serving its congregation, the âOil-Canâ Church, erected in 1928, regally presides over a key intersection in Clevelandâs east-side University Circle area. This modern...
- Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM)
In addition to educating new crops of aspiring musicians, singers and conductors, this Institute serves as recruitment ground for the nearby Cleveland Orchestra.
- Cleveland's University Circle
Anyone who has traveled to Cleveland has marveled at the wonder that is University Circle.
- Little-Known Santa No. 8
There has never been much of a following for Little-Known Santa No. 8 until recently. Thats because of dare I say it? blatant species bigotry.
- Neptunian with 3 Navels in a Tube-Top
Many Neptunians even those with more than 3 navels prefer to run around in tube-tops most of the time.
More by this Author
This ornate lifestyle center anchors a retail hub in Cleveland's eastern suburbs.
It isn't every school district that operates out of a former planetarium.
It's oh-so-easy to start. Trust me.