St Louis to spend $100m on hall upgrade

St Louis to spend $100m on hall upgrade


norman lebrecht

March 17, 2022

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Powell Hall, originally named the St. Louis Theatre, was erected as a movie theater in 1925 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Primary project goals include fostering innovation and greater community connections through the creation of a music center, enhancing the audience and artist experience, and modernizing the venue while preserving its historic character.

Marie-Hélène Bernard, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra President, and CEO, said, “This is an exciting chapter in the SLSO’s history. The project will improve every aspect of the audience and artist experience and will better support our mission as performers and educators, enriching lives through the power of music and fostering a sense of belonging for everyone. We will preserve the history of Powell Hall while also creating a hub for community, innovation, and powerful music experiences.”

Stéphane Denève, Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, said, “Ever since I first collaborated with our fabulous orchestra almost 20 years ago, I have been amazed by Powell Hall’s incredibly warm acoustics, its distinct sound depth—This great venue has a unique character and I always feel its beautiful soul while rehearsing or performing on stage. I am so excited by the renovation and expansion of our home. It will enhance all we love about Powell Hall, and I can’t wait to engage with our wonderful community in a space that is even more welcoming for all.”


  • CA says:

    About time. The interior lobby area smells of mold or something like that, Street emergency sirens are audible on stage, the lower level rooms are damp etc. Way overdue. Beautiful hall but it has sadly not received the overhaul it has long needed until now. Let’s hope it all goes to plan.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Renewing and refurbishing these old, beautiful (and acoustically beautiful) halls is so much better than building new, badly designed, overpriced monstrosities.
    Best wishes to everyone connected with the Powell Hall renewal!

  • I was a conducting student of Walter Susskind there from 1970-72 and I must say it is still a hall of beautiful elegance.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      I was in a junior orchestra there conducted by Leonard Slatkin around 1969-70. It seemed like a palace. Sketchy area at the time (my car battery was stolen one night…that is, my parents’ car battery…), but I have fond memories of what was then a newly refurbished movie palace.

  • fflambeau says:

    Sounds like they are following the format in Milwaukee which also renovated for $90 million an old movie house and added these same things.