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Orchestra Hall, Detroit

Detroit's Orchestra Hall was built in 1919, in barely five months, because Ossip Gabrilowitsch demanded that the Detroit Symphony Orchestra build a suitable auditorium before he assumed his position as music director. The Orchestra used to play at the old Detroit Opera House.

The 2014-seat hall was designed by architect C. Howard Crane. The first concert took place on October 23, 1919. The hall was renowned for its marvellous acoustic properties. It was home to the orchestra until 1939, when due to the financial difficulties of the Great Depression, they had to enter a more economical arrangement at the Masonic Temple Theater. Orchestra Hall was renamed Paradise Theater in 1941, and became a major jazz venue, hosting such renowned jazz musicians as Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

But in 1951, the Paradise closed, and the building was abandoned for several years, even scheduled for demolition. Principal DSO bassoonist Paul Ganson spearheaded a fundraiser movement to restore Orchestra Hall and add it to the National Register of Historic Sites.

Renovation work started in 1970 and went on for about two decades. A lot of things had to be worked on, such as the box seats, a new stage, aisle lighting, restoration of historical decorations, all the while trying to maintain the acoustic properties the hall was historically known for. In 1989, the DSO moved back in. Additional work on the hall was done in the summer months of 2002 and 2003, simultaneous with the building of an adjoining auditorium for jazz and chamber music, the Max M. Fisher Music Center, which opened in 2003, and a new store for DSO merchandise.