Symphony Hall to be Renamed for Abravanel
By William S. Goodfellow
Deseret News, 05 January 1993, Page B1
In a quickly called meeting on 4 January 1993, Salt Lake County Commission Chairman Jim Bradley told Utah Symphony board members that Symphony Hall would be renamed for Maurice Abravanel, “who in his 32 seasons as its conductor led the orchestra to international prominence.” A formal announcement was to be made the following day at a 90th-birthday dinner for the Abravanel.
Symphony Hall opened in 1979 as part of the county's Bicentennial Center for Arts. Abravanel retired earlier in 1979 and never conducted the Utah Symphony in the new facility.
“Forty-five years ago he took over a semi-professional ensemble and transformed it into a nationally respected symphony orchestra, which created world-class recordings of masterworks and premiered new ones,'' Bradley said.
Three halls were named in Abravanel's honor before Symphony hall, at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, which he directed for 27 years, and at retirement communities in Oceanside, California, and Long Island, New York.
Since his retirement, Abravanel has received the Gold Baton of the American Symphony Orchestra League and the Conductors Guild's Theodore Thomas Award. In 1991, President Bush presented to him the National Medal of Arts at the White House.