International House: 1414 East 59th Street
Mandel Hall: 1131 East 57th Street
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts: 915 East 60th Street
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel: 5850 South Woodlawn Avenue
Mandel Hall was a gift to the young University of Chicago by department store tycoon Leon Mandel. It is modeled after the great hall of Crosby House, built in 1472 by Sir John Crosby, Sheriff of London. The house was actually rented to Richard Duke of Gloucester (Richard III) after his nephews had been imprisoned in the Tower.
By the time it had been admired by Leon Mandel, Crosby House had been a Presbyterian Meeting House, a restaurant and a bank and it would soon be moved from its original site in Bishopsgate Street to its present location on Cheney Walk on the Embankment in Chelsea. In any case, something about the storied edifice struck the Chicagoan's fancy and its noble hall became the inspiration for a musical American cousin.
Despite its gothic roots, the interior of Chicago's Mandel Hall, capable of seating almost 1000, is decidedly Victorian, boasting an ornate balcony, detailed oak woodwork, ornamental painting, and majestic windows, including one by Tiffany and Co., a gift of the class of 1902. The graceful size of the hall and its fine acoustics made it an immediate favorite of area music-lovers.
The first concert in Mandel Hall, on December 21, 1903, featured works by Mozart and Wagner, Beethoven's Leonore Overture, No.3 and Strauss's Death and Transfiguration performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, then known as the Theodore Thomas Orchestra. The Chicago Symphony continued to use Mandel for both symphonic and smaller ensemble concerts until the mid-1970's when rising costs made South Side productions prohibitive.
In the mid-1940s, classical music in Mandel Hall became organized as the University Concerts series. It was this organization that first presented 24-year-old violinist Isaac Stern, introduced guitarist Andres Segovia to local audiences and welcomed the newly formed Juilliard String Quartet to Chicago. These early years boasted a "dean's list" of legendary performers: organist Marcel Dupre, the Budapest String Quartet, violinist Alexander Schneider, harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and keyboard greats Grant Johannesen, Eugene Istomin and Artur Schnabel. The practice of hosting stellar debuts continues to this day with violinist Hilary Hahn, soprano Cecilia Bartoli, tenor Ian Bostridge, flutist Emmanuel Pahud and cellist Pieter Wispelwey among many taking their first Chicago bows at Mandel Hall.
Along with its dedication to the classics, Mandel Hall has also consistently showcased the music of ascending composers. It was within Mandel's ivied walls that Samuel Barber conducted the first performance of his Capricorn Concerto, Aaron Copland first played his Piano Sonata for the public, Isaac Stern premiered Hindemith's Violin Sonata and Gregor Piatigorsky introduced Martinu's Variations on a Russian Theme. In 1964, Professor Ralph Shapey founded the Contemporary Chamber Players (CCP), making the University's dedication to new music and new composers official. Almost 40 years later, the CCP continues to keep Mandel Hall a centenarian on the cutting edge of new music performance.
Now organized as the University of Chicago Presents and including four concert series and a number of related events, professional concerts continue to animate Mandel Hall. The 2003-04 season marked the beginning of the Hall's second century.
Renovations to Mandel Hall were completed in the winter of 2012.
The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
The Logan Center is designed to serve as a hub for the vibrant arts scene at UChicago. Williams and Tsien designed the 11-story, 184,000-square-foot building as an elegant “mixing bowl for the arts,” in which artists and scholars of many disciplines will work and perform, creating new possibilities for spontaneous collaboration. The building houses classrooms, studios, rehearsal rooms, and exhibition and performance spaces. These innovative facilities will be home to academic and extracurricular programs at the University, in cinema and media studies, creative writing, music, theater and performance studies, and the visual arts.
Designed by Williams and Tsien, the buildingʼs light-filled glass and stone tower adjoins a three-story “podium” with a saw-tooth roof. The 170-foot tower houses a performance penthouse, screening room, rooftop deck, classrooms, rehearsal rooms, and performance labs, while the podium features studio space, music practice rooms, workshops, a café, a digital media center, production and editing labs, two theaters, and a 474-seat performance hall.
Logan Center for the Arts Seating Chart
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
In 1910, John D. Rockefeller made a gift of $10 million to the University of Chicago. It would be, he said, his final gift to the University, and was made with one stipulation: that $1.5 million be used to build a chapel for the University, a chapel that would be the central and dominant feature of the University group.
University Chapel was dedicated in 1928 and was renamed for Rockefeller upon his death a few years later. True to his wishes, it remains a central architectural feature of the campus. Its majestic limestone exterior rises dramatically along the Midway Plaisance; its breathtaking Gothic interior inspires awe and reverence.
Today the chapel serves the University and the community through educational, social, and interfaith activities. The chapel is a focus for the essential life of the campus, a place where significant life passages are marked: weddings, memorials and convocations. Furthermore, it sustains a long and distinguished tradition in performance of the organ, carillon, orchestral, and sacred choral repertoire. Its acoustics are particularly suited to the human voice. When appropriate, the University of Chicago Presents programs concerts in this glorious acoustical and architectural gem.