C Cleveland

Saturday, January 16, 2010

John Long Severance and his wife, Elisabeth, pledged $1 million in 1928 for construction of a permanent home for The Cleveland Orchestra. Prior to then, the Orchestra performed in auditoriums and theaters throughout the city and on the road.

Not long after the Severances announced their pledge, Elisabeth died unexpectedly.

Elisabeth Severance

John Severance devoted himself to making the hall a memorial to his beloved Elisabeth. The final cost was nearly $7 million with almost half coming from Severance himself.

The building was designed by the Cleveland architectural firm, Walker & Weeks, who also designed the Cleveland Public Library. The Georgian exterior complements the classic architecture of the Cleveland Museum of Art, which sits directly across the street.

Cleveland Museum of Art

Both are situated in the heart of University Circle, which houses major cultural, medical and educational institutions.

University Circle - (Hint..I work in one of these buildings!)

From 1998-2000, Severance Hall underwent a $36 million renovation and restoration project. The renovation included construction of a new concert stage, improved patron access and amenities in public gathering spaces, improved accommodations for musicians and artists, including expanded backstage facilities and new lighting, communication, and technical support systems to facilitate broadcast and recording of The Cleveland Orchestra.

The restoration included the 2,100-seat Concert Hall, the 400-seat Reinberger Chamber Hall, the Grand Foyer, and other patron spaces. In addition, refurbishment and restoration of the hall's original E.M. Skinner Norton Memorial Organ by Schantz Organ Company, and re-installation of the organ's 6,025 pipes as part of the new concert shell.

Skinner Organ

Lerner Lobby

Smith Lobby

Concert Hall

As if this weren't enough, a five-story addition (39,000 square feet) was constructed at the rear of the building. This space allows for additional backstage facilities to accommodate a wider variety of musical presentations as well as a full service restaurant and facilities for private events.

Severance Hall is truly a magnificent concert hall befitting the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra.

Severance Restaurant

Ong Gallery

Detail of Reinberger Chamber Hall

Reinberger Hall

My favorite addition? A 150% increase in women's restrooms!


  1. I am enjoying discovering aspects of Cleveland with you. Thanks!

  2. I love your educational posts. The big question is... can you strip in there? Let's find out.

  3. Chrissy, I can see why you like Cleveland so much!


  4. What what a brilliant piece of history and a brillian piece of architecture.

  5. You make living in Cleveland seem very appealing.

  6. I love going to Severance Hall. Boo and I are ticket holders, not in the boxes mind you, but I enjoy watching her face during the performances. She loves them.
    I love them!

    Great photos Kickie!

  7. Absolutely gorgeous....and it took a lot to admit that for someone living near Pittsburgh.

  8. Thank you for the tour, amazing! It's nice to see a city and it's architecture when all I know of Cleveland is that it Rocks per Drew Carey...

  9. Hey Chrissy! Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! I loved this. I'm gonna have to come visit your lovely city. Wow. Indigo

  10. Thanks for taking us to a tour around such a beautiful building!!

  11. Holy cow...the inside of the concert hall is BREATHTAKING!!!

    The more you share of Cleveland, the more it makes me wanna visit your beautiful city.

    Thanks so much for sharing both it's beauty and history!


    P.S. that first shot is bellissima!


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