Located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, Abravanel Hall is celebrated for its acousticalexcellence and is an architectural icon in the City. The Hall is adorned with more than 12,000 square feet of hand-brushed 24‑karat gold leaf and its grand four-story lobby offers stunning views of the city. The newly redesigned public plaza complements the original architecture while modernizing the space. Abravanel Hall is also the home of the 27-foot-tall Olympic Tower statue by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly.
Abravanel Hall is home to the Utah Symphony with a capacity of 2,811 you can be sure to experience some of the best classical concerts in Utah as well as other contemporary music performances. Abravanel Hall is owned and operated by Salt Lake County Center for Arts and is located next to Temple Square in the same block of the Salt Palace Convention Centre.
Abravanel Hall History
Originally known as Symphony Hall when it was first opened in 1979, the hall was renamed to Abravanel Hall in 1993 after Maurice Abravanel who was a conductor of the Utah Symphony. The construction of the Hall cost $12 milliom and lasted three years, resulting in a building of outstanding quality both inside and out. The hall has had additional work done to it since it’s original construction in 1979, with expansion occuring in 1998 which provided wheelchair accessible restrooms and a new reception and ticket office. The total seating capacity is 2,768 with wheelchair areas provided on the Orchestra and First Tier levels of the hall. The Orchestra has 1,800 seats, the first tier 405 seats, the second tier 305 seats, and the third tier 258 seats.
The hall is a concrete building inside of the main brick building, and is rectangular in shape, with walls constructed with wood. It has a permanent wood concert shell and wood floor and is designed with acoustics as the priority. There are no ninety degree angles in the hall due to it’s effects on sound whilst convex curved surfaces line the walls and ceilings. The shape of Abravanel Hall is similar in shape to many of the world’s greatest symphony halls, for example the Grosser Musikvereinssaal in Vienna.
Entrance into the hall means passing through sound lock corridors which isolate the actual concert from the lobby noise. The lobby itself is four stories high, made of beautiful white oak and has a brass ceiling, not to mention an outstanding view of the city. It has a massive 5,400 square foot glass curtain, a staircase, gold leafing covering the balcony and stairs, as well as The Olympic Tower, a 30 foot high red blown-glass sculpture by artist Dale Chihuly. This sculpture was bought for $625,000 even though it was valued at $900,000 as the artist Chihuly allowed it to be sold at a lower cost as long as it stayed at Abravanel Hall and that the public would be allowed to view it without having to attend a show. The funds were raised by private donors and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.
The stage has no proscenium as it was designed specifically for acoustic performance which is typical for concert halls. The Board of the Utah Symphony (consisting of Maurice Abravanel, O.C. Tanner, and Jack Gallivan) advised the architecture team. The acoustics were designed by Dr. Cyril M. Harris. Harris who was also the consultant for the remodeled Avery Fisher Hall in New York City as well as other excellent halls and centers.
The building was designed by FFKR Architects and Abravanel Hall is considered the most stunning building in Salt Lake City. One feature are the six beautiful brass chandeliers, hydraulic platforms, an illuminated fountain on the plaza during concerts, and a radio assisted listening system. There is a hospitality suite on the first floor and a catering kitchen. As well as concerts, the hall hosts lectures and films.
If you are in Utah, or planning to visit Utah go and gain a new appreciation for Utah’s Best Music at the Abravanel Hall.