Classical Music

Memories of the Meyerson Symphony Center, Which Celebrates 25 Years in Dallas

The first time I remember classical music, I was sitting in Morton H. Meyerson's box. I was staring, wide-eyed at the organ for one of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's noon recitals. Like most things at eight years old, I was convinced someday I would play that monstrous instrument. But we were not supposed to be in Mort's box in his eponymous Symphony Center. Winding through the halls of the building, we'd separated from our group and when we heard the music my mother just opened whichever door was unlocked. And where should we end up, but directly in the line of sight of the stunning C.B. Fisk, Opus 100 organ.

And though Mr. Meyerson never knew that we'd accidentally borrowed his seats (until now), I'll always have the glassy, childhood memory of listening to music from his chair.

Concert halls make all the difference. Sitting in the balcony of the Meyerson, you can hear the lightest tinkling of a piano key and the quietest tap of the timpani. Yesterday on Kris Boyd's THINK, she spoke with Art & Seek reporter Jerome Weeks and music historian Laurie Shulman about the magic of the Meyerson (Art & Seek also made the super rad video above). And Shulman said that what makes the Meyerson such an ideal concert hall is that during the design, the acoustician Russell Johnson was given as much authority as the famed architect, I.M. Pei. So, the concert hall sounds as beautiful as it looks.

The Meyerson is one of few magical places in Dallas, especially for people who've grown up or made their home here. People fall in love over the notes of Beethoven's Emperor concerto, then they come back to take their engagement photos in the stunning marble lobby. Years later, they dress their son in his first suit for the Christmas concert. In his final years, it played home to the incomparable Marvin Hamlisch; it's hosted Tony Bennett, Neil Young, and Diana Ross, among countless others. It's the beautiful backdrop for countless memories, with the common thread of music.

Sure, it's just a building. But it's the kind of building that makes a city special and for the past 25 years it's been doing just that in Dallas.

Celebrate the 25th Birthday of the building all week. From 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday, there will be a parade, concerts, and an open house. Monday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Docent-led tours. 12 p.m. Bach's Lunch with program annotator Laurie Shulman.(Free with reservation: [email protected]) 6:30 p.m. Rush Hour concert with Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. Free. Tuesday: 6:30 p.m. Rush Hour Concert with the DSO, celebrating all the people who made the building possible, with special recognition to the workers from J.W. Bateson. Karina Canellakis conducts the performance. Free. Wednesday: 6:30 p.m. Rush Hour Concert with various disciplines from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Thursday: 6:30 p.m. Rush Hour Concert from Dallas Symphony Chorus with the Lay Family Concert Organ, including a salute to Dallas police, firefighters and first-responders. Saturday, September 13: 8 p.m. Gala Concert in the Meyerson, with DSO conducted by Jaap van Zweden and with a special performance from Itzhak Perlman. Tickets at 8 p.m. Free Simulcast in Klyde Warren Park of the Gala Concert 10 p.m. DSO Gala Concert After Party is a Space Odyssey theme with futuristic space-themed décor, an LED dance floor with galactic videos and "out of this world" dancing to music spun by DJ Lucy Wrubel. Tickets available fro $49 at

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Lauren Smart
Contact: Lauren Smart