“To have the opportunity to improve the beautiful hall we call home, and to improve the musical communication on stage with the musicians, and to create a more intimate connection with our audiences, is a fantastic dream.”
- Rafael Payare, Music Director San Diego Symphony
Originally built in 1929 as The Fox Theatre, this movie palace and performance venue became the property of the San Diego Symphony in 1984. The beauty and majesty of this historic hall added to the stature and artistic growth of the orchestra. In October 2013, the complex consisting of Copley Symphony Hall, the newly renovated lobbies, the backstage areas and the administrative offices was officially named the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Center.
Under the leadership of Music Director Rafael Payare and Chief Executive Officer Martha Gilmer, the Symphony has begun a $125 million renovation of its indoor home to be completed in the fall of 2023. The renovation of The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Center and Copley Symphony Hall will complement The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park™ and provide San Diego with two extraordinary venues – one indoors and one outdoors – both designed to celebrate music and community.
Learn more about the renovation through our bi-monthly video series Inside Jacobs Music Center. Episodes are streamed live on our Facebook and YouTube pages, and the recordings can be viewed at any time following the livestream. Click here to view past episodes.
The new Jacobs Music Center will create a multi-functional facility that has a stage with a fixed orchestral shell that includes a choral terrace, as well as reconfigured seating to enhance sight lines and improve the audience’s connectivity with the musicians onstage and with each other.
Along with extensive acoustic upgrades that benefit everyone – including patrons, musicians, conductors, soloists and audience members in every seat in the auditorium – the project also includes multipurpose spaces that can be used as entertainment, masterclass and lecture spaces.
Further improvements include additional sets of pipes for the legendary theater organ, a new Seventh Avenue entrance, dramatically improved ADA access for patrons and artists, added production spaces, upgraded guest artist dressing rooms, a new musicians' lounge, an expanded music library and a new artist entrance providing direct backstage access.
“After witnessing many years of consistent artistic growth, we will soon have an incredible opportunity for even greater artistic achievements on the highest level with our newly renovated concert hall at the Jacobs Music Center. The new and improved acoustics will take us from a great 1920s movie palace to a great 21st century concert hall. With the Rady Shell, the renovated JMC and Rafael Payare’s leadership, our future in San Diego is rich.”
- Jeff Thayer, Concertmaster San Diego Symphony Orchestra
The Jacobs Music Center Renovation is a reinvestment in downtown San Diego, providing the orchestra and the community with a venue that celebrates the making of music and highlights the significance of listening for all of us.
Preserving this historic theater and enhancing its acoustics and visual connectivity allow us to really listen to and experience each other. They also ensure that downtown will continue to contribute to San Diego’s rich cultural fabric and make it a destination for cultural travelers near and far. This bedrock investment in the cultural life of the city is also critical for the orchestra’s ongoing artistic evolution.
There is no great city without a great orchestra.
We ask you to join this historic campaign by investing in the San Diego Symphony Orchestra’s future. With your participation in the Jacobs Music Center Renovation and Endowment Campaign, you will play a vital role in ensuring the Symphony’s ongoing programmatic excellence and the continued ascension of San Diego as a cultural destination.
We are honored to provide distinctive, high-profile recognition to individual, corporate and foundation partners. For more information about establishing your legacy at the San Diego Symphony, please contact Jen Nicolai at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also download the full campaign brochure HERE.
We Look Forward to Welcoming You HOME in Fall 2023
as we Build a SOUND Tomorrow!