Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center

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Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
Dallas Meyerson Center 02.jpg
Address Dallas Arts District
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Type Concert Hall
Capacity 2,062
Opened 1989
Architect I.M. Pei

The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center is a concert hall located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas (USA). Ranked one of the world's greatest orchestra halls,[1] it was designed by architect I.M. Pei and acoustician Russell Johnson's Artec Consultants, Inc. The structural engineers for this project was Leslie E. Robertson Associates, and opened in September 1989.

The Center is named for Morton H Meyerson, arts patron and business partner of Ross Perot, who provided $10 million in funds for its construction. It is the permanent home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Symphony Chorus, as well as the primary performing venue of the Dallas Wind Symphony as well as several other Dallas based musical organizations. The Meyerson Symphony Center is owned and managed by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs.


The exterior of the large pavilion and lobby is circular and constructed of glass and metal supports to contrast with the solid geometric lines of the actual hall. Architect I. M. Pei, and structural engineer Leslie E. Robertson Associates has described the structure of the hall's interior as "very conservative". "It is conservative for reasons I no longer accept," he said in 2000. "I feel that the hall doesn't fully represent what I would have liked to do. It was my first one."[2] Because the music performed in the hall was likely to be from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Pei was unwilling to impose modern styles of architecture on the interior.[3]

The trustees and acoustic team had decided on the shoebox style before Pei was hired, and he sought to sculpt the exteriors with more innovative designs. "I felt the need to be free," he said. "Therefore, to wrap another form around the shoebox, I started to use curvilinear forms.... It does have some spatial excitement in that space for that reason."[3]


The Meyerson Symphony Center also is home to the 4,535 pipe C.B. Fisk Opus 100 organ, known as the Lay Family Concert Organ.[4] Although it had been Charles Fisk's dream to build a monumental concert organ (the firm unsuccessfully bid on the contract for San Francisco's Davies Hall), and despite years of planning and design, he never lived to see it built, dying in 1983. The resulting instrument, built in 1991 and nearly unanimously hailed as a musical triumph, whilst it built on some of his ideas, was quite different from his original designs. The première performance was given in September 1992 by the organist Michael Murray[5] and David Higgs.[6]


The Eugene McDermott Concert Hall, designed by Russell Johnson's firm, Artec Acoustic Consultants (also responsible for the Pikes Peak Center's El Pomar Great Hall), is in the standard European shoebox style and seats 2,062. 74 thick concrete chamber doors around the top of the hall weighing 2.5 tons each can be opened and closed to increase or reduce reverberance, 56 acoustical curtains help diminish sound vibrations and a system of canopies weighing more than 42 tons is suspended above the stage and can be raised, lowered, or tilted to reflect the sound throughout the audience chamber.[7] The shoebox design was intended to achieve acoustics performance comparable to that of the Vienna Musikverein and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.[8][9] Russell Johnson, who died in August 2007, requested in his will that he be buried in the Meyerson, but logistical complications prevented the request from being granted.[10]


The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center has: · 260,000 square feet (24,000 m2) above ground space · 225,000 square feet (20,900 m2) below ground space · 35,130 cubic yards (26,860 m3) of concrete · 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) of Italian travertine marble · 22,000 pieces of Indiana limestone · 4,535 organ pipes · 2,062 seats · 918 square panels of African (Makore) cherrywood · 216 square panels of American cherrywood · 211 glass panels (no two alike) comprising the conoid windows · 85-foot (26 m) high ceiling in the concert hall · 74 concrete reverberation chamber doors, each weighing as much as 2.5 tons · 56 acoustical curtains · 50 restrooms · 4 private suites for meetings, banquets, and recitals

See also


  1. Dallas Morning News, September 20. 2009.
  2. von Boehm, p. 29.
  3. 3.0 3.1 von Boehm, p. 30.
  4. Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
  5. 2nd September ;
  6. 28th September ; DELOS 3148
  7. Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Retrieved November 30, 2009
  8. Donal Henahan, (September 12, 1989). "The Acoustics of Dallas's New Concert Hall". New York Times, 12 September 1989. Retrieved August 12, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Tapio Lahti and Henrik Möller,. "Concert Hall Acoustics and the Computer". ARK -Finnish Architectural Review, April 1996. Retrieved August 12, 2006. External link in |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Russell Johnson Sought Meyerson Burial," D Magazine: Frontburner, November 30, 2009


  • von Boehm, Gero. Conversations with I.M. Pei: Light is the Key. Munich: Prestel, 2000. ISBN 3-7913-2176-5.

External links