US university shuts concert hall to save cash

US university shuts concert hall to save cash


norman lebrecht

July 29, 2015

The E. J. Thomas Hall at the University of Akron, Ohio, hosts many classical performers, particularly soloists who draw audiences from the Cleveland-Columbus corridor.

Yesterday, its director and staff were made redundant and the hall was mothballed.

The University of Akron is no longer a place of culture.

Read here.

akron hall

UPDATE From Jack Harel, oboe professor, University of Akron:

The School of Music is still in great shape. There are two other halls on campus that we use for performances, and the School of Music hasn’t used Thomas Hall as our main venue for several years. I really appreciate your efforts to draw attention to the status of EJ Thomas, but would like to avoid the implication that the School of Music has been lumped in with the hall.


  • Doug says:

    Thia means the Akron Symphony Orchestra now has no home. I found this news inetersting simply because I know for a fact that the orchestra was offered the opportunity to establish a new home at the Goodyear Theater in the old Goodyear Rubber Co headquarters. It actually has a more suitable seating capacity than EJ Thomas, which was an overwrought behemoth. The developer for Goodyear even made the offer to invest capital in improvements contingent on the orchestra providing themselves as an anchor company. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the orchestra’s artistic leadership, one CW, gave that idea the veto. They must be kicking themselves now! LOL!

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    The great Cleveland Orchestra is just too nearby and the Blossom Festival, the summer platform for the Cleveland Orchestra is closer still to Akron.

    • David J Gill says:

      I’m not sure it’s fair to say the Akron Symphony suffers from competition with the Cleveland Orchestra. The CO is full time, year round ensemble with a Severance Hall schedule of 26 weeks of concerts per year while Akron does 9 to 14 weeks of concerts many of which are pops concerts or classical fusion sorts of concerts. I think Akron has a different audience.

  • Bill Sallak says:

    The round of cuts that shuttered EJ Thomas Hall have also shuttered The University of Akron Press. No culture, indeed.

  • John McLaughlin Williams says:

    It’s too bad; the Akron Symphony is a good orchestra. I can attest to several memorable performances while I was living nearby, including a wonderful Villa-Lobos Choros No.6.