3711 Woodward | Detroit, MI 48201
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The Society had offered Ossip Gabrilowitsch, famed Russian pianist and music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, an extension of his contract, but Gabrilowisch agreed to accept the position only on the condition that a concert hall worthy of the orchestra be built. Designed by noted architect C. Howard Crane, Orchestra Hall celebrated its inaugural concert on October 23, 1919.
As noted in the program for the last concert of the 1918-1919 season: “The new hall not only fills a demand, but marks a new era in the annals of musical history in Detroit. It will be the center of Detroit’s musical life.” And for the next twenty years, Orchestra Hall, the DSO and Gabrilowitsch enjoyed an artistic golden era in which the hall played host to the world’s most famous composers, conductors and performers. But by 1939, three years after Gabrilowitsch’s premature death, wracked by the Great Depression and encumbered with debt, the Orchestra left the Hall for the economy and promise of Masonic Auditorium.