301 Massachusetts Avenue,
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The Boston Symphony Orchestra (Official)
Architects: Charles Follen McKim
Firms: McKim, Mead & White
Symphony Hall was built in 1900 as a replacement for the old Boston Music Hall downtown (later reworked into the Orpheum Theatre). Its auditorium resembled that of the old Boston Music Hall: a rectangle with two shallow balconies, each with long side galleries with half-circle clerestory windows high above. Its stage, however, has a proscenium arch. It is the home of the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras, as well as a busy concert venue. It was designed by Charles Follen McKim of McKim, Mead and White. Wallace Sabine was the acoustical consultant. It opened on October 15, 1900.
“Road Show” film presentations came to Symphony Hall in early-1913. The first two movies were “The Life of Saint Patrick” and “Cleopatra”. Symphony Hall was also a venue for travelogue programs, such as those produced by Burton Holmes and Lowell Thomas. These consisted of themed movies and slides (later, in color), with a host/narrator on stage. These programs were very popular right into the 1950’s. They were similar to the travel shows on PBS-TV today.
A few years ago, during a Saturday open house, a Buster Keaton silent film comedy was shown, with organ music.
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