The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s New Performing Hall

As the first month of 2023 draws to a close, we dive into a historic lighting project in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Symphony has been a staple of the arts in downtown Milwaukee for decades. Formed in 1959, the symphony symbolically showed Milwaukee’s strides in entering a new decade and becoming a city of arts and entertainment.  

The symphony in Milwaukee has a rich history of world travel and notoriety, first directed and conducted by Harry John Brown from 1959-1968. Following Brown was Kenneth Schermerhorn who initiated a widely successful statewide touring program and later went on to be the director and conductor of the Nashville Orchestra. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra toured both Europe and Japan following Schermerhorn’s era and quickly held their own with symphonies across the world. 

Formerly the Warner Grand Theater movie palace, the magnificent and ornamental theater became the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s new performing hall after sitting vacant and disused for cades. The design architects of the new performing hall were Kahler Slater, a firm with offices in Milwaukee, Madison, Richmond, Chicago, and Singapore. The restoration of the building started in recognition of the grandiosity of the Warner Theater and further, its potential. The theater, built in 1930, features frescoes and ornate plasterwork that was a glimpse into Milwaukee’s history. After closing in 1995, several changes needed to be made to make the old theater perfect for the symphony. An entirely new HVAC system was placed in, a plasma air bipolar ionization system alongside the monumental task of moving a wall 35 feet east for complete acoustic success. The new space now allows for appreciation of the beauty of a Milwaukee treasure. In 2021, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra moved into the renovated space, renamed the Allen-Bradley Hall of the Bradley Symphony Center, allowing their legacy and historical success to continue.  

The hall is anchored by a magnificent grand staircase, fabricated by local metal experts Badger Railing, and the KLIK LEDpod 40 and LEDpod XL28 products highlight the exceptional metalworks.  Please share our great excitement in joining the legacy of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Upwards shot of the new handrails and skylight © Steve Hall


Architect: Kahler Slater

Photographer: © Steve Hall


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