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Severance Hall

11001 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, 44106

Severance Hall
Photo: License: CC0 1.0
Severance Hall is a concert hall located in the University Circle section of Cleveland, Ohio. Opened in 1931, Severance Hall was named after patrons John L. Severance and his wife, Elisabeth Huntingdon DeWitt Severance.
The Cleveland Orchestra first performed at Grays Armory in downtown Cleveland and later moved to the Masonic Auditorium for concerts during the 1920s. But both buildings also hosted other types of events that occasionally created scheduling conflicts for the Orchestra.

The Orchestra’s administration soon came to realize the advantages that having a permanent concert hall would bring to the ensemble's performances, rehearsals, and radio broadcasts.

After encouragement from Cleveland Orchestra founder Adella Prentiss Hughes and music director Nikolai Sokoloff, plans for Severance Hall began to emerge based on a plot of land offered by Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) at a leasing cost of $1.00 per year and potential funds contributed by the general public and local philanthropists.

Though Elisabeth Severance died in 1929, John Severance was determined to see the project through to its completion and intended for the concert hall to serve as a de facto memorial to his late wife. Despite a collapse of the United States’ economy in 1929, the groundbreaking for Severance Hall was held on November 14, 1929. Severance Hall opened on February 5, 1931, hosting a gala concert broadcast live across the radio to mark the occasion.

The interior of Severance Hall features a variety of architectural styles, including Art Deco and elements of Egyptian Revival. The Grand Foyer is surrounded by marble columns and decorated with papyrus and lotus flower patterns that are used in a number of places. The main concert hall features a silvery aluminum leaf ceiling with designs based on 18th century English point lace.

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