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Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony
Lara Swimmer, Photographer

Seattle Symphony

Written by Scott Messmore
The Seattle Symphony is one of the oldest symphonies in the nation and has gained an international reputation for musical and performing excellence. Founded in 1903, the Seattle Symphony has had a nearly century long commitment to performing 20th century composers in addition to the classical standards. For the 2001-2002 musical season (see concert schedule page), the Seattle Symphony is performing a wide range of musical works ranging from modern maestro Yo-Yo Ma to the classical works of Beethoven, Stravinsky and Brahms. The Seattle Symphony is now performing in the new Benaroya Hall which houses the 2,500 seat S. Mark
Taper Foundation Auditorium and the more intimate 540-seat Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. Occupying an entire city block in downtown Seattle, Benaroya Hall has been hailed by media and musical critics as a great addition to the list of the world's concert halls. For this season alone, the Seattle Symphony will perform 150 times in Benaroya Hall and throughout the Seattle area. In September, the Seattle Symphony will perform its Beethoven in Benaroya Hall festival and the Pacific Rim festival titled Fusion-From West to East: East to West is being held in May, 2002. Fusion
Music Director Gerard Schwarz conducts the Seattle Symphony in Benaroya Hall, Seattle, Washington
© Dan Lamont Photo
will be a performance in cooperation with the Seattle Art Museum exhibit, Treasures from a Lost Civilization: Ancient Chinese Art from Sichuan. All concert performances in the Masterpiece Series are preceded by half-hour lectures with musicians, historians and composers. The lectures discuss the work to be performed that night and are free for all ticket holders.

Special Music Programs

The Seattle Symphony has made a great commitment to music education and community service. The Seattle Symphony has several different educational and music programs for concertgoers and the general public. The Seattle Symphony has made a great commitment to music education and community service.
Local communities can host the Seattle Symphony with the In the Neighborhood program and secondary schools can bring their school children to symphony rehearsals. During Open Rehearsals the conductor will speak to the children and answer questions. The Campus Club allows college level students to purchase reduced rate tickets, Musically Speaking plays on six Sundays and features comments from the symphony's music director and Tiny Tots is a music program for families with children up to five years old.

Benaroya Hall

Benaroya Hall opened in September of 1998 to rave reviews. The 189,750 square foot hall
Seattle Symphony Musicians
© Dan Lamont Photo
seats 2,500 people in the Taper Auditorium and 540 in the recital hall. Benaroya Hall took three years to build and cost $118 million. The hall is full of artwork by Robert Rauschenberg and glass artist Dale Chihuly. Benaroya Hall was piece together with dense wood paneling that resonates the music throughout the hall. Each piece of paneling is a different size to create the best acoustics possible. In fact, Benaroya Hall is a box within a box to prevent outside noise and vibration from entering the building during performances.

Hours of Operation and Location

The Seattle Symphony in Benaroya Hall is located at 200
Seattle Symphony
© Dan Lamont Photo
University Street directly across the Seattle Art Museum in downtown Seattle. Public entrance to the concert hall is on Third Avenue. Ticket prices vary with the type of performance and time of day. Call 206-215-4747 for ticket information. The box office is located at Third Avenue and Union and is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Seniors and students can purchase special $10 tickets one hour before a performance depending on availability. Groups of 10 or more visitors can get reduced rates by calling 206-215-4784. Cameras, audio and video recording devices are prohibited and visitors need to turn off cellular phones, beepers and electronic watches during performances. Late arriving patrons will not be seated until a break in the music. Benaroya Hall is a smoke free concert hall.

For more information about the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall, call 206-336-6672.

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Last Updated: September 23, 2015