Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia

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Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia

Coordinates: 39°56′48″N 75°09′56″W / 39.9467°N 75.1656°W / 39.9467; -75.1656

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is a large performing arts venue located on Broad Street, along the stretch known as the "Avenue of the Arts", in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is owned and operated by Kimmel Center, Inc., an organization which also manages the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. The center is named after philanthropist Sidney Kimmel.

The Center is the home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of America's Big Five symphony orchestras and regarded as one of the best in the world.

Other resident performing arts organizations at the Kimmel Center include the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Philadanco and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. It is also home to a performance series known as "Kimmel Center Presents", which hosts a variety of jazz, classical, and world pop performers.


In 1986, the Philadelphia Orchestra approved a plan to construct a new concert hall to replace the aging Academy of Music. In 1993, Sidney Kimmel donated $12 million to the project and in 1995, Orchestra and community leaders met to help revitalize the concert hall and also discussed merging it with a venue to house other area organizations and visiting artists. The two projects were officially merged as the Regional Performing Arts Center in 1996 and construction began in 1998. In 2000, the center was named for Stanley Kimmel in recognition of his gift in 1993 and an additional $3 million donation in 1998. The concert hall was named Verizon Hall to recognize contributions totaling $14.5 million in cash, equipment and services from Verizon and the Verizon Foundation.

The architect of the Center was Rafael Viñoly, and the acoustician was Artec Consultants. The Kimmel Center officially opened in an unfinished state on December 16, 2001. This followed a gala preview on December 14 featuring performances by André Watts, Denyce Graves, Frederica von Stade and Sir Elton John and the Philadelphia Orchestra premier at Verizon Hall on December 15. Numerous cost overruns and construction delays led to the filing of a lawsuit in 2005 by officials of the Kimmel Center against Viñoly. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed sum.

Performance and other facilities

All are located under a distinctive vaulted glass ceiling. The Center itself is a popular attraction, keeping its doors open to the public seven days a week. It hosts thousands of visitors annually who are able to take free tours of the facility.

  • Verizon Hall, with 2,500 seats, is the main performance auditorium. It contains a pipe organ by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, which is the largest mechanical action pipe organ in an American concert hall.
  • Perelman Theater, with 650 seats, has a 75-foot (23 m)-diameter turntable stage that permits the space to be used as a recital hall or a proscenium theater with a stage, fly-loft and orchestra pit.
  • Dorrance H. Hamilton Roof Garden located above the Perelman Theater.
  • Smaller performance spaces and meeting rooms.
Other noteworthy programs

The Kimmel Center offers a variety of other programs besides concerts, specifically in the field of education. The Kimmel Center is home to their very own Youth Jazz Orchestra called The Kimmel Center Youth Jazz Ensemble (KCYJE). This Ensemble includes many of the best youth jazz musicians in the Philadelphia/New Jersey Area. The Ensemble is recognized as a youth version of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Additionally, The Kimmel Center holds a Teen Summer Arts Camp every year. Ten-day programs are offered in chamber music, choral/vocal music, and jazz.


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