For FAQs specifically relating to the resident companies, please utilize the following links:
What is the timetable?
- Music Hall closed for construction in early June 2016 and will reopen in the fall of 2017.
Where will I see performances during this construction period?
- The CSO, Cincinnati Pops, and May Festival performances will be held at the restored Taft Theatre during the 2016-17 season.
- Cincinnati Opera performances will take place at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in 2016 and 2017.
- Cincinnati Ballet currently performs at the Aronoff Center and will continue to perform there during construction.
- The CSO is proud to be the official orchestra for both Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Opera and looks forward to performing with these organizations at the Aronoff Center in 2016 and 2017.
Why does Music Hall need to be renovated?
- Under the surface of Music Hall lies structural deterioration not unexpected for a building that first opened to the public in 1878, and while this deterioration doesn’t pose an immediate hazard, engineers have determined that structural issues must be addressed for the building’s long-term viability.
- Music Hall hasn’t undergone a major renovation in over 40 years, and the building’s mechanical systems including electrical, plumbing, fire suppression, air conditioning and heating are all operating on borrowed time – well beyond their life expectancy.
- This deferred maintenance comes at a significant cost in both efficiency and repairs, and the funds required to replace these essential systems are well into the millions of dollars.
- The systems must be replaced, and will ultimately lead to far more energy and cost efficient operations and a more comfortable Music Hall.
- Music Hall presents many challenges from an accessibility standpoint. The building will be completely handicap accessible with elevators available at street level for anyone with mobility needs.
- When Music Hall is at capacity, there are approximately 39 women for every women’s restroom stall and 56 men for every men’s room stall. Most of these restrooms require going up and down stairs. This will all be greatly improved after construction is completed.
- The leading complaint from people attending performances and events in Music Hall’s Springer Auditorium is that the seating, largely designed for 19th century audiences, is cramped and uncomfortable. The facility’s long-term viability as an active performance venue requires improvements to seat comfort, especially in the two balconies.
- In addition, Music Hall will receive some much needed TLC in the form of paint, replacing carpeting, opening windows, etc. to restore this historic gem.
Who is paying for the Music Hall project?
- A combination of private and public funds is being used to finance the project.
- The public funds have come in the way of tax credits and commitments from the City of Cincinnati and the State of Ohio.
- While most of the money has been committed, private fundraising is still active. GIVE NOW
Who owns Music Hall?
- Music Hall is owned by the City of Cincinnati and managed by the CAA.
- MHRC now holds a long-term lease for the building and has hired 3CDC to specifically manage the renovation project. 3CDC is working on a daily basis with the expert Design Team and resident companies.
What will Music Hall’s capacity be after construction?
- After exhaustive study and a great deal of consideration, all of Music Hall’s resident arts groups are in support of a post-renovation seating capacity ranging from about 2000 to 2500, depending on the final design, with flexible seating configurations for the auditorium’s many purposes and performance needs.
- Much of the seating capacity reduction can simply be attributed to larger, more comfortable seats, functionality and accessibility.
What about Music Hall’s acoustics?
- A great deal of attention and careful planning has gone into the Hall’s acoustics.
- After an extensive search process that involved CSO musicians, the renowned firm Akustiks was engaged as acoustic consultants. The firm’s principals are responsible for the celebrated acoustic improvements at Cleveland’s Severance Hall, as well as the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York. They have also been engaged to handle acoustics for the pending renovation of Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, renamed David Geffen Hall, in New York City.
- The team from Akustiks has already begun a thorough evaluation with Louis Langrée and the CSO, and five extensive tests were conducted in Springer Auditorium on June 1, 2015 while the Orchestra performed. They have also engaged in listening exercises and discussions with the Cincinnati Opera.
- The acoustics at Music Hall vary dramatically depending on your seat location. The auditorium’s warm sonic identity will be maintained, while at the same time enhanced by creating an even, present sound throughout that conveys the full timbral and dynamic palette of the performers, and which in turn creates an intimate experience between the stage and audience. In short, Music Hall’s acoustics will be better than ever following construction.
Will Music Hall retain its historic character?
- 3CDC, the design team and Music Hall’s resident companies are working closely with the State Historic Preservation Office to ensure that Music Hall retains its historic character.
- Nearly 20% of the funding for Music Hall’s renovation will be provided via the $25 million catalytic tax credit the Hall was awarded from the Ohio Development Services Agency last December as part of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program. Accepting these tax credits essentially guarantees the Hall will retain its historic character, as one of the main requirements of the program involves receiving approval from both the state and federal historic preservation offices. In addition, upon completion, a state-appointed preservation officer must review the site to ensure the historic character was maintained and renovations were made according to the approved plans and the Secretary of the Interior’s national historic guidelines.
- The large chandelier in the auditorium will be restored.
How will the renovation impact the Music Hall Ballroom, Corbett Tower, the Critics Club, etc.?
- 3CDC and the design team are working closely with the resident companies on plans for various spaces in Music Hall. Plans will be announced at a later date. Visit musichallcincinnati.org regularly for the latest news and updates.
- The project’s goal is to provide an enhanced audience experiences throughout the facility.
How will you accommodate popular performances that now sell out?
- As the resident companies are able and as demand warrants, performances will be added to accommodate more people.
- Increasing the number of performances is a consistent practice among arts presenters and orchestras around the country and around the world.
- This is not to say performances won’t sell out, as that’s certainly been the case in recent years.
Will you raise ticket prices?
- Music Hall’s resident companies all remain firmly committed to accessible ticket prices and reaching out to new audiences.
- Just like now, ticket prices will vary depending on the program.
- There are important elements that allow our region to sustain great art institutions and at the same time make ticket prices as affordable as possible, including support from ArtsWave, annual fund donors, endowment gifts and estate gifts.
How will you retain audiences during the transition?
- We are committed to making the transition to the revitalized Music Hall as smooth as possible with personalized support for each patron.
- For the CSO and Pops, transition plans include providing opportunities to experience the Orchestra in the Taft Theatre prior to the 2016-17 season, a “Meet Your Seat” event, and enhanced communications throughout the transition there and back again.
- Cincinnati Opera will offer personalized patron assistance, “Meet Your Seat” and community engagement events at the Aronoff Center prior to the 2016 season, and enhanced communications throughout the transition.
- The May Festival will also offer a “Meet Your Seat” event.
- The best way to ensure great seats at the best price is to subscribe.
How is the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (SPMH) involved?
- SPMH supports the renovation and has committed $3 million to the project. This organization has long been an advocate for protecting and preserving Music Hall, and has put considerable focus and energy into this major renovation
What happened with the Hamilton County Sales Tax?
- Voters in Hamilton County approved a sales tax levy to support the renovation of Union Terminal last November. Music Hall was not ultimately included on the ballot.
How do I support the Music Hall project?
- MHRC’s fundraising campaign has not quite reached the project goal and support from the public is needed to close the gap. Contributions can be received at musichallcincinnati.org. Please visit Music Hall Revitalization’s Company’s Give Now page for more information.
- It’s also vitally important to continue supporting Music Hall’s resident companies through this transition period with subscriptions, donations, ticket purchase and volunteer hours.
- Future opportunities for purchasing mementos from the building will be announced at a later date.