The Story Behind Jones Hall
Jones Hall is named after a man who financed extensive construction in downtown Houston, published the Houston Chronicle, and served in the Federal Government during the Great Depression in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation under Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, as the Federal Loan Administrator and then as Roosevelt’s Secretary of Commerce from 1940 to 1945.
Nobody knows more about Jesse H. Jones and his Hall than Steven Fenberg, the former historian of Houston Endowment, Jones’ philanthropic foundation, and author of a new book Remarkable Experiences, The Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts.
Fenberg traces the Symphony’s first performance in 1913 to a theater owned by Jones, the Majestic, where they remained for five seasons. Years later, Jones himself had the idea of replacing the Symphony’s home, the aging City Auditorium, though the project was completed under the co-direction of his widow and nephew.
To learn about the planning, construction and details of the building’s innovative architecture, read his insightful article in our latest In Tune magazine. We also include early details about future plans for the large-scale renovation of Jones Hall. You can pick up a copy of In Tune when you attend a concert, or read it any time online.
Listen to HPM’s Houston Matters interview of Steven Fenberg.
Listen to an earlier interview of Steven Fenberg and 50th Anniversary co-chair Alexandra Pruner with Houston P.A. host Laurent Fouilloud-Buyat, in his podcast here.
Don’t miss Fenberg discussing Edna Saunders, Houston’s influential arts impresaria, whose portrait hangs in the Green Room of Jones Hall.
Do You Remember 1966?
Transport back to the 1966 opening ceremonies, thanks to the wonderful unofficial online archive of the Houston Symphony Chorus. There you will find the digitized scrapbooks of local singer Lee Stevens, including items from the memorable Grand Opening events of October 2 and 3, 1966.
You can see that weekend’s program listing the civic ceremony that officially made Jones Hall Houston’s property. You’ll also learn about the Symphony’s first concert in the new Hall.
The program listed events for the entire month, scheduled to celebrate Houston’s arts and the opening of this crowning performance space.
The scrapbooks include tickets, articles, photos and programs illuminating decades of Symphony and Chorus history. See the scrapbook.
Houston Symphony History
To own a beautiful and comprehensive history of the Houston Symphony covering the opening of Jones Hall and going all the way back to the founding days of 1913, treat yourself to Houston Symphony 100: Celebrating a Century.
You can see selected highlights from our story in a historical timeline here on on our Web site.
Celebrate With Us
Come celebrate our 50 years in Jones Hall on October 22 with a special performance featuring Andrés and the Orchestra, with acclaimed violinist Itzhak Perlman.