Orchestra Hall

220 S. Michigan Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60604

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Orchestra Hall

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Chicago’s famed Orchestra Hall, designed by noted Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, and opened on December 14, 1904. It has been home to films intermittently in its long history, first from May-October 1915, and then May-September 1916 showing cinema concerts.

A similar pattern followed for several years, and at one point the building even sported an electric Paramount/Artcraft sign. Since then, the Hall has seen movies on special occasions, and even now will occasionally accompany a silent film.

Contributed by BWChicago

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

DavidZornig on November 19, 2008 at 2:36 pm

We were in Orchestra Hall endlessly as school kids. My grade school Ogden had a music program that included regular, daytime concert trips to Orchestra Hall. At least 2-4 times a school year.

One conductor I remember well was Dave Mazur. A girl in our class was an accomplished violinist in our school band, Debbie Hoffman. And her father Irwin Hoffman was at that time first violin at the CSO. As I recall Hoffman briefly took over conductor duties when Mazur’s predecessor, who’d been there a long time, retired or moved on. Might have been George Solti, but I think it was before him. And I could have the chronology wrong.
We definately had the same CSO & conductors as the evening performances had.

The stage was huge as one could imagine with possible dumb waiters that brought the grand piano up when needed. Also 3 giant tubular sections above some choral group areas, all above the stage. Not sure if the tubes were acoustically functional, or just decorative. Either way the acoustics are always perfect at Orchestra Hall.
Nice comfy, deep red velvety seats too.

The last thing I saw there was a St. Patrick’s Day reading by John Malkovich a few years back. Which included a Western Illinois based orchestra surprisingly featuring our percussionist from grade school, after over 35 years. And now on the same stage we used to watch.
Plus a prominent solo Irish dancer who danced on a wood platform at certain points in the story.

The interior seems to the eye to have jsut as much seating area as there is stage area. As the main floor is kind of short, with several levels of balconies directly over the main floor.
Not really staggered back as much as you would expect.

DavidZornig on February 13, 2009 at 11:59 am

The CSO will be performing live to a showing of the classic Chaplin film “Modern Times”, on March 6th 2009 at Orchestra Hall.

CharmaineZoe on January 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm

The Orchestra Hall was opened on May 1st 1915 as a moving picture theatre after being leased and refitted throughout by the Strand Theatre Company of Chicago.

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