The Meyerson Symphony Center (Hardcover)

Building a Dream

By Laurie C. Shulman, Morton Meyerson (Foreword by)

University of North Texas Press, 9781574410822, 399pp.

Publication Date: February 1, 2000

List Price: 39.95*
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MORE THAN ten years in planning and construction, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center has become a major landmark in North Texas and a source of prestige and pride for Dallas citizens. With its combination of extraordinary acoustics, distinguished architecture, and a magnificent concert organ, the Meyerson has joined the ranks of the world's great halls, comparing favorably with Carnegie Hall, Vienna's Musikvereinssaal, and Amsterdam's Concertgebouw.

Laurie Shulman's book places the Meyerson in its socio-political context, tracing its history to the early 1970s when financial collapse forced the Dallas Symphony to suspend operations. Drawing on interviews with more than 100 individuals as well as documentary resources, her narrative shows how the orchestra's recovery led to a splendid new hall.

A series of plot twists adds suspense and drama to the saga. Plans took shape during an economic boom, then faltered during the steep recession of the mid-1980s. Financing was structured through a unique public/private partnership that has become a model for other communities around the United States. Three bond elections, the first of which failed, took place before the public sector's commitment was ensured. H. Ross Perot's signature donation of $10 million named the hall not for himself, but for Morton H. Meyerson, the driving force behind the decade-long project. The steering committee assigned equal authority to architect and acoustician alike, an unprecedented arrangement that led to heated arguments about visual vs. aural aesthetics. Delays in securing a site in Dallas' fledgling Arts District contributed to escalating costs, which in turn prompted political opponents to levelaccusations of elitism and profligate spending.

The Meyerson Symphony Center: Building a Dream weaves all of these strands by relating this compelling story through the words of the people who made it happen. It is a riveting, behind-the-scenes tale of urban planning and reclamation, triumph over adversity, and unflagging commitment to the highest standards. Shulman incorporates a wealth of information about city politics, a boom-to-bust economy, and the challenges of press and public relations, as well as significant new information about acoustics, architectrue, and organ design.