Meet the team renovating Music Hall

Posted at 9:45 AM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-15 09:45:00-04

CINCINNATI -- Five firms, specializing in everything from historic preservation to lighting and acoustics, will take on a $129 million renovation of Cincinnati's historic Music Hall.

Two firms are on the design team: Martinez + Johnson Architecture, with offices in Washington and New York, and Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel, based in Pittsburgh.

Martinez + Johnson's work includes renovation and restoration of the Kings Theatre in Brookyln, Boston Opera House, Peabody Opera House in St. Louis and Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.


Kings Theatre - Brooklyn, NYPhotograph by Max Touheyc/o Curbed NY

Posted by Martinez + Johnson Architecture on Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel has completed renovation work on Shaw Hall at West Liberty University, Carr Hall at Allegheny College and Oglebay Hall at West Virginia University.

Akustiks, based in Connecticut, has already been at work meeting with the full orchestra for acoustical testing at Music Hall. The company has done work on Indianapolis' Hilbert Circle Theater, The Smith Center in Las Vegas and Nokia Theatre in New York.

Schuler Shook, based in Chicago and Minneapolis, will oversee improvements to Music Hall's lighting. The firm's work includes Dallas City Performance Hall, The Howard Theatre in Washington and Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.

Messer Construction is the project's construction manager.

"This design team is keenly aware of how this building is cherished by the citizens of Cincinnati and southwestern Ohio and that generations of families in this community have memorable experiences in this building," Martinez + Johnson's Gary Martinez said.

The city of Cincinnati owns Music Hall and leases it to the Music Hall Revitalization Company, formed in 2010 specifically to coordinate renovation efforts. The Music Hall Revitalization Company picked the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, or 3CDC, to be its developer on the massive project. The Cincinnati Arts Association manages the hall, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet all make their homes there.

How Long It Will Take

The project started in August with soil stabilization and removal of a stage column. More work starts in November, focused on back-of-the-house asbestos abatement and initial construction work.

Performances will continue at Music Hall until June 2016, when the building's totally closed. The CSO, Pops and May Festival will have their 2016-2017 seasons at the Taft Theatre, and the Opera will move to the Aronoff Center for the Arts.

The Cincinnati Ballet will continue performing at the Aronoff until Music Hall's renovations are complete in fall 2017.

So far, backers have raised all but $6 million of the project's cost, including $53 million in private donations. Last fall, Hamilton County Commissioners declined to include the landmark on a proposed "icon" sales tax that would have helped fund renovations for Music Hall and the Union Terminal. Voters eventually passed the scaled-back provision that only covers Union Terminal.

MORE: Music Hall restoration gets $25 million in tax credits

In May, the Lindner family pledged $10 million for Music Hall's renovation.