Rebecca Cohn Auditorium

Rebecca Cohn Auditorium. Part of the Dalhousie (University) Arts Centre complex, and the major concert hall in Halifax.

Rebecca Cohn Auditorium

Rebecca Cohn Auditorium. Part of the Dalhousie (University) Arts Centre complex, and the major concert hall in Halifax.

The auditorium opened officially 19 Nov 1971 with a concert by the Festival Singers, the Dalhousie Singers, members of the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and musicians from Dalhousie University. For the preceding 10 months, however, the auditorium had been used for musical events, including a recital by Isaac Stern and a performance of Così fan tutte by the university's music department.

The auditorium's construction, at a cost of about $5 million, was made possible, in part, through a bequest from the estate of Rebecca Cohn, a Halifax patron of the arts. The multi-purpose hall was designed by architects Fowler, Bould & Mitchell Ltd. The proscenium opening is 18.6 m wide and 7.8 m high, and the stage is 9.6 m deep. In 1974 the stage floor was replaced by one suitable for ballet. The auditorium, which seats 1041, has been praised for its acoustics.

Though owned by the university, the auditorium was managed by Dalhousie Cultural Activities and its program organized and supervised by a board of directors comprising community leaders and university members, with subcommittees for music, theatre, film, and dance. In 1989, when the auditorium became a rental facility, the board and committee structure was abandoned. Its administrative body became the Dalhousie Arts Centre. The first administrator, John Cripton was succeeded by Erik Perth.(1973-84), John Wilkes (1984-7), Murray Farr(1987-8), and Robert Reinholdt in 1988.

The auditorium is a venue for symphony, chamber, jazz, and pop concerts, opera, musical theatre, drama, dance, and film. Among the many performers and groups who have appeared there are Vladimir Ashkenazy, Harry Belafonte, Carlo Bergonzi, Canadian Brass, the COC, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Entre-Six Dance Company, Maynard Ferguson, the Guarneri String Quartet, Moe Koffman, the NACO, the National Ballet of Canada, John Ogdon, Luciano Pavarotti, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, the Toronto Dance Theatre, the TS, and Pinchas Zukerman. Symphony Nova Scotia is the major resident ensemble of the auditorium which is also used regularly by the Kiwanis Music Festival and the Scotia Festival.