Take your seat in Severance Hall’s spectacular auditorium and enjoy a musical performance enhanced by some of the best acoustics in the country. Or, simply come here to admire the elegant architecture during a tour of the building to learn about its history.
Severance Hall was completed in 1931. It was mostly funded by a local couple, John and Elisabeth Severance. She died during the design stage and never saw its completion. The fine classical music venue is home to the much-praised Cleveland Orchestra.
From the art deco exterior you will pass into the foyer which was designed in an Egyptian revivalist style. If you are here to see a performance, start your evening with a meal in the Severance Restaurant. The fine-dining venue overlooks Wade Lagoon and the Fine Arts Garden.
When it is showtime, find your place in the 2,100-seater auditorium. The concert hall is a mix of art deco and French nouveau. You’ll see how the various elements have all been tied together by the repetition of certain motifs, most notably the lotus flower. It is said to have been Mrs. Severance’s favorite flower.
Also note the acoustics-enhancing wood-paneled shell above the stage, which was installed in 1958. The hall’s Norton Memorial Organ is another highlight. It is made up of 6,025 lead, wood, tin and zinc pipes, the tallest of which is 32 feet (10 meters) tall.
Severance Hall is located in Cleveland’s University Circle and the area is serviced by public transport. You can also drive and prepay via the Cleveland Orchestra’s website to park in the adjacent Case Western Reserve University Campus Center Garage. It gives easy access to Severance Hall.
Prices and times for concerts vary but the hall is free to visit every weekday, except public holidays. Free public tours are organized on selected Sundays during the concert season, which runs from September to early May. Note that those under 7 years old are not allowed to attend adult concerts, but special concerts are held on weekend afternoons for children.