Symphony Hall

301 Massachusetts Avenue,
Boston, MA 02115

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WSSfan on February 7, 2022 at 9:07 am

I’ve been to Symphony Hall afew times. It’s beautiful, both inside and out. In addition to having been to both Boston Pops Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts there, my high school Select Chorus performed a concert there in the winter of 1969, I saw all three showings of the original 19611 film version of West Side Story with a fantastic live rendition of the musical score on Presidents' Day weekend of 2015, and one Boston Pops Orchestra Concert of the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”, with a live rendition of the score by the Boston Pops Orchestra. Didn’t like it nearly as much as I liked the West Side Story/Boston Symphony Orchestra concert, however.

Symphony Hall is fantastic-looking inside, and it sure holds a lot of people! Wow!

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm

On Fri-Sat Dec. 26-27 there will be 3 showings of the movie “Home Alone” on Symphony Hall’s “big screen”. The Boston Pops orchestra will provide music for the movie. I have no idea how they plan to integrate live music from a large orchestra into this film. On Saturday Nov. 1, 2014 there will be the annual WCRB Classical Cartoon Festival, 10 AM – 4 PM, featuring Warner Brothers cartoons starring Bugs Bunny and other film luminaries.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm

And the “Classical Cartoon Festival” will be back again on Sat. Oct. 29, 10AM – 4PM, featuring Warner Bros. cartoons on the “giant screen”, plus live performers.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 29, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Glad to hear this. I worried that this event would disappear with WCRB’s sale to WGBH.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 29, 2010 at 1:50 pm

The latest version of the “All Classical Cartoon Festival” will be held at Symphony Hall on Sat Oct 23, 10AM – 4PM, featuring all Warner Brothers cartoons on the “giant screen”. The festival is a WGBH event.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 14, 2010 at 8:01 am

From Boxoffice Magazine, March 26, 1955, in an article on the history of art house exhibition in Boston:

“…Yet the history of the art picture in this city is an interesting and unique one. In 1922, during the silent days, George Kraska introduced this type of film to Boston audiences when he hired Symphony Hall and opened with a special engagement of the Russian film "Potemkim,” using the head organist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra as the accompanist.“
[Note, the year 1922 must be in error, since Eisenstein’s Potemkin was made later, in 1925. Most likely it was after December 1926 when the movie opened in New York, or else in early 1927. The article also states that later, in 1927, Kraska took over the Fine Arts Theatre, up Massachusetts Avenue a bit at Norway Street, for his programs.]
Go to page 95.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 13, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Gerry- yes, the area is something like a mini-upper West Side. When I used to attend performances at Lincoln Center at night I would dash rapidly thru the dark creepy streets back to my hotel. After performances at Symphony Hall you and Ron can walk all around the Fenway, Roxbury Crossing, the South End, but you won’t find me there.It may be wonderfully peaceful today, but back in the 1960s and 1970s it was a menacing dark zone full of creeps.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 11, 2008 at 5:47 pm

I attend Boston Symphony concerts at Symphony Hall all the time, coming up from Providence by the MBTA. Week after week I have walked for many blocks in every direction, day and night, with no problems. I have been doing this for many years. I am a compulsive walker, and often use side streets in the area. I often walk before and after performances to or from Ruggles Station, the Massachusetts Avenue T station, at night up and down the dark walkway over the rail line between Mass Avenue and Back Bay Station, up or down Columbus Avenue. Never a problem. I do not see any social decay here or anything going to hell. Quite the contrary; I find it an exciting, lively, safe area. I’d love to live there! It reminds me of the upper West Side in Manhattan near Lincoln Center.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 11, 2008 at 4:58 pm

The neighborhood surrounding Symphony Hall is largely populated by students from Northeastern, Berklee, Boston Conservatory, and New England Conservatory. I’ve never seen or heard of any “social decay” anywhere near there, beyond the occasional drunk student. I’d walk there at any time of day or night.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Starting when I was in middle school in the early 1950s I worked at Symphony Hall as an usher, ticket-taker, and occasionally as a relief stage doorkeeper. It was a perfectly safe area then, working between 6PM and 9 PM, sometimes to 11PM. Even the side streets were safe late at night. The fans who hung out at the stage door in back were very nice people. I often walked thru the Public Garden and Boston Common late at night in those days – no problems. I had never even heard of expressions such as “mugging” and “rip off”. It all started to go to hell after 1960. The timing may have been a coincidence but, rightly or wrongly, I blamed the social decay on the JFK-LBJ years. I would never walk around late at night in this area today.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 30, 2008 at 11:15 pm

There’s nothing “rough” about Symphony Hall’s neighborhood. It is next to Northeastern University, Jordan Hall, the Christian Science Church, and other fine institutions.

MPol on September 30, 2008 at 11:13 pm

I also might add, however, that it’s too bad that Symphony Hall’s in such a rough area. Be careful there at night, if you go.

MPol on September 30, 2008 at 11:12 pm

Symphony Hall’s a beautiful place. I remember my high school chorus (of which I was a member) giving a concert there, back in 1969, the year I graduated. I’ve also seen some live concerts there, such as Judy Collins and Arlo Guthrie.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 29, 2008 at 1:57 pm

The building is currently undergoing extensive refurbishment. The half-circle clerestory windows high up on the auditorium sidewalls are being refitted with glass and will be functional once again after being boarded up way back in the 1940s.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on October 26, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Boston Symphony Orchestra program booklets give a history of the hall. Included in that history is the fact that the Boston premiere of Cecil B. De Mille’s film version of Carmen, starring Geraldine Farrar, took place here in 1915.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on December 9, 2006 at 4:24 am

This looked to me like the original projection booth for sporadic movie events with 35mm equipment, in the silent era and later as well. It is in the rear of the second balcony.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 9, 2006 at 11:59 am

Symphony Hall was built as a concert hall. But films have been shown there in the past, especially during the silent era. There is a display case inside showing some of the films from that were shown there…such as a silent version of Carmen, some Russian silents like Potemkin and, I believe, Ten Days That Shook the World. More recently when the Boston Symphony performed Prokofiev’s film-cantata Alexander Nevsky, Eisenstein’s film was projected and the live orchestra substituted for the recorded soundtrack film score.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 26, 2006 at 3:06 pm

WCRB radio is having a Classical Cartoon Festival here next Saturday. They’ve been doing this for eight years now, yet I never knew about it before today.

I just hope it isn’t the last one; WCRB radio is for sale.