DSA and City of Dallas announce transition of management of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center

Meyerson front outside

Dallas, Texas (May 22, 2019) – The Dallas Symphony Association (DSA) and the City of Dallas (City) today announce the agreement for transition of management of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center from the City to the DSA. The Dallas City Council voted in favor of moving the day-to-day administration and overall upkeep of the building to the DSA via a 99-year lease.

“We are thrilled with the opportunity for a long-term management agreement for the Meyerson, which is an iconic building in Dallas and one of the top concert halls in America,” said Kim Noltemy, President & CEO of the DSA. “We are grateful to the City of Dallas and the Office of Cultural Affairs, as well as our arts colleagues, for the collaboration that has enabled this agreement to move forward. The DSA is committed to taking care of this incredible asset, and we understand our responsibility to ensure the building is fully utilized. We want all Dallas citizens to feel that it is their concert hall.”

“The Meyerson is one of the ten best symphony halls in the world, and the DSA is honored that the City is entrusting us with its care,” said Sanjiv Yajnik, Chairman of the DSA Board of Governors. “The arts – including music – are vital in creating vibrant communities, and we look forward to building upon the Meyerson’s long-standing reputation as a home for the very best classically trained musicians.”

“The City of Dallas is very optimistic and enthusiastic about the opportunity that the DSA’s management of the Meyerson presents. Given Kim Noltemy’s leadership, and the support of their board, I believe that the Dallas Symphony is prepared to take on this role and optimize the utilization of the hall,” said Jennifer Scripps, Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs. “The DSA is committing to both continuing and bolstering their multi-generational support for this iconic venue, and the City of Dallas will do everything in its power to ensure a smooth transition as we work to address deferred maintenance and handover operations.” 

The new agreement is a 99-year lease of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center effective July 1, 2019. The DSA will become responsible for all operations and annual maintenance costs of the building. The City of Dallas commits to expending dedicated capital funds for deferred maintenance approved by voters in the 2006 and 2017 bond programs. 

The DSA is pleased to work directly with the resident organizations to continue to provide a space for wonderful concerts with Dallas’s finest performing arts groups. Grandfathered not-for-profit users – including The Black Academy of Arts and Letters’s MLK Celebration, Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas, Dallas-based public high school graduations, Dallas Bach Society, Dallas Winds, Fine Arts Chamber Players, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra and Turtle Creek Chorale – will have a preferred rent rate. The DSA is committed to renting the venue when the DSO and the resident organizations are not performing, making sure the Meyerson is utilized and enjoyed as much as possible. The DSA is also dedicated to education and access, as demonstrated through the annual Free Parks Concert Series performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the distribution of thousands of free tickets to Dallas students and a myriad of free education programs serving more than 20,000 Dallas children each year. As part of this, the DSA recently launched a new Southern Dallas Residency which will provide further opportunities in the area, including instruments and music lessons free of charge.

“When we set out to design this hall, I committed to lead the charge to secure the very best, in terms of acoustics and design, for Dallas,” said Morton Meyerson. “I believe that we accomplished that, and with this management transfer, we are able to maintain that level of quality for future concertgoers, students and community members.”

About the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center

Opened in 1989, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center was created in response to both a city-wide desire for a major facility for cultural activities and gatherings and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s need for a new home. Following a historic 1979 bond election that set the stage for the creation of the Dallas Arts District, community leaders and the Dallas Symphony Association began drafting plans to build a symphony center in downtown Dallas. Once opened, the response to the newly built symphony center was overwhelmingly positive and the hall continues to serve as an architectural and acoustic benchmark by which concert halls around the world are judged. The Meyerson’s magnificence has endured, remaining “the crown jewel of the Dallas Arts District” (D Magazine), being named a “Top Ten Best-Sounding Concert Hall in the World” (Business Insider) and receiving a 25-Year Excellence Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Dallas.

Designed by master architect I.M. Pei (of Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners), the Meyerson is the very model of a modern symphony center, with roots stretching back through the centuries and across the continents. Working in close concert with acoustics expert Russell Johnson of Artec Consultants, Pei took his cue from the acoustician and wrapped the building around the prescribed 2,062-seat horseshoe-shaped auditorium. This approach allows the strong architectural statement made by Pei with the Meyerson’s crisp contemporary exteriors to stand in marked contrast to the warmth of the concert hall found within.

The Meyerson Symphony Center is the cornerstone of the Dallas Arts District and the touchstone of the North Texas community. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the hall’s primary tenant, plays an active role in the life of the North Texas community and provides a wide range of artistic, educational and community outreach services to nearly 211,000 adults and children per year. Each season, the Dallas Symphony performs more than 150 concerts, including classical, pops, family, youth, holiday, community and special concerts. The Dallas Symphony’s education programs offer a continuum of free learning opportunities to tens of thousands of students of all ages.  As a revered and welcoming place for the Dallas community, the Meyerson hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors for events ranging from concerts and lectures to graduations and galas.