The 19th century is still standing strong at the corner of 14th and Elm. From the cobblestone street with embedded streetcar tracks, to the original acoustic system in the stately Springer Auditorium, Music Hall remains a testament to Cincinnati's investment in the arts. It may not host the University of Cincinnati's Bearcats basketball team any longer, but the Cincinnati Opera, Symphony and Pops Orchestras, and May Festival Chorus all still call Music Hall home.
Located in the heart of Over-the-Rhine since 1878, Music Hall was originally built as a combination performance venue and industrial exposition center. The red brick turrets and stained glass windows are a mixture of architectural styles, often referred to as "romantic eclectic". The grand, high-ceilinged main lobby leads to the main performance area, Springer Auditorium, as well as a number of ballrooms and reception halls. The velvet seats and gilded balconies of the main auditorium are crowned by a massive glass chandelier and the rare surviving acoustics. When first constructed, this auditorium housed many of the same performance groups that it does today, while a sport arena in the North Hall hosted tennis, wrestling, boxing, and basketball matches. Before a dedicated center was built, most large conventions were also held here, perhaps most famously the Democratic National Convention of 1880.
The dedication of Music Hall in 1878 took place at the time of the 4th annual May Festival. This concert tradition continues to take place every year and is the oldest choral festival in the country. The Symphony Orchestra is a beloved fixture of Music Hall, and the Pops Orchestra regularly performs fun theme nights or holiday concerts. Cincinnati Opera hosts continually ambitious productions in the space as well. The Ballroom is often the place to see and be seen for the arts community, hosting glamorous fundraisers and arts events. Many community groups and individuals also rent the Ballroom and other meeting rooms in Music Hall for proms, weddings, and the like.
This National Historic Landmark may not have a dress code, but any event here gives a great excuse to break out your ball gown and opera glasses, and revel in a classical night at the arts.