Completed in September 1980 after more than two years of construction, the 2,743-seat, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall is the home of the San Francisco Symphony and part of the War Memorial Performing Arts Center. The hall is next to the War Memorial Opera House and is located on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street in San Francisco. A 9,000-pipe Ruffatti pipe organ was added in 1984.
More than 6,000 individuals, foundations and corporations donated the money needed to build the hall. The City of San Francisco donated the land, and the state and federal governments gave a total of $10 million toward the $28 million project. The San Francisco Symphony's home owes its name to the efforts and perseverance of Louise M. Davies, the largest individual contributor to the building.
During the summer of 1992, Davies Symphony Hall underwent a major renovation, enhancing its acoustics to ensure an better musical experience, and making the interior more beautiful still. Special care also was taken to provide improved accommodations for disabled persons.
Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill along with acoustical consultants Bolt, Beranek and Newman, its modern design is elegant inside and out.
The move from the War Memorial Opera House to Davies Symphony Hall in 1980 marked a new era for the San Francisco Symphony. The SFO's new home allowed for year-round programming that raised its artistic quality to new heights and turned the symphony into a cultural force in the world.
All in all it deserves its reputation as one of the most interesting new buildings in San Francisco. Though capable of seating nearly 3,000, it has an intimate feel to it. The acoustic problems, which have dogged it at the start, have since been overcome so that San Francisco can today take justified pride in its concert hall, financed entirely by private funds.
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