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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Boston's Symphony to Renovate Hall




BOSTON -- Boston Symphony Hall, one of the world's most famous concert halls, will mark its 100th anniversary this fall with a gentle facelift and a series of special performances.


A season-long gala will peak with a four-day centennial weekend starting with a ball and ending with a free open house for the community on Oct. 15 - 100 years to the day after Wilhelm Gericke inaugurated the facility with a performance of Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis," officials announced Monday.


The celebration will highlight Symphony Hall's beloved place in the Boston community, for although the city's ballet and museums often are forced to play second fiddle to New York's cultural institutions, Symphony Hall's preeminence is accepted worldwide.


The hall is considered by many to be one of the three best concert spaces in the world, along with Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and Vienna's Musikverein.


The hall's century-old walls and floors, with scuffed paint and chipped varnish, will remain untouched as the Boston Symphony Orchestra's leaders renovate the surrounding rooms and make the auditorium wheelchair accessible.


The building's exterior, which some have called drab and common, will be enhanced and upgraded.


"It is our commitment that we will do all this without in any way affecting the structure of the building or affecting its acoustics," said BSO managing director Mark Volpe.


Music director Seiji Ozawa, who will end a 28-year run in Boston after the 2001-02 season, told reporters at a news conference that he was excited by the plan to renew the hall.


"I am a very lucky person to have worked in this hall for 26 years," he said. "I am spoiled."


But Ozawa noted that Symphony Hall needed to look better from the outside to better reflect the beauty of its acoustics. He pledged that the renovation would be carried out with care.


"This hall could look better," he said. "We are very careful because you can't get this back if you do it wrong."