Newark Symphony Hall names new CEO and celebrates Phase 1 completion of $75M restoration

Newark Symphony Hall on Wednesday said the first phase of its $75 million capital improvement program is now complete. The multiyear project is being spearheaded by Talia Young, the venue’s newly appointed CEO, who recently secured an additional $4 million for NSH in Gov. Phil Murphy’s Fiscal Year 2024 state budget.

Renovations at New Jersey’s largest Black-led arts and entertainment venue are set to be completed by 2025, coinciding with its 100th anniversary.

Talia Young. (Newark Symphony Hall)

“We are grateful to everyone who is supporting Newark Symphony Hall throughout this journey, including the state of New Jersey, Prudential Financial and the Mellon Foundation,” Young said. “Thanks to the generosity and dedication of our donors, Newark Symphony Hall is on its way to being restored to its former glory, and we are excited to continue welcoming the community here as we remain open during the renovations.”

After being named interim CEO of Newark Symphony Hall in November 2022, Young developed and initiated a four-phase restoration plan. She has supervised the restoration of the venue and has positioned it as a community development corporation, for-profit venue and nonprofit arts institution by incorporating three pivotal principles: Art is Now, Art is Impact, and Art is Service.

Young has also supported the reestablishment of the Lincoln Park Alliance, a Mayor Ras Baraka economic development initiative with Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, Newark Arts Council and the city of Newark.

“For nearly a century, Newark Symphony Hall has been one of our city’s most glorious cultural institutions,” Baraka said. “The roster of performers who have graced its stage defines the range of music, from opera stars like Roberta Peters and Robert Merrill to singing titans like Judy Garland, Count Basie, Patti LaBelle, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. It is truly appropriate that we provide present and future generations of music stars and audiences with the finest theater in the nation. The restoration of Newark Symphony Hall will keep our city moving forward, and I congratulate Talia Young on her appointment as the hall’s CEO and commend the entire team on their efforts.”

Phase one of Newark Symphony Hall’s restoration plan included an overhaul of its Terrace Ballroom. One of Newark’s largest banquet spaces, the ballroom can now host many of the venue’s community-first events again. The 15,000-square-foot space features a sunken dance floor and an elevated stage with two terraces on each side, all of which have been modernized with new hardwood and bold geometric carpet flooring, color-changing LED lighting and a vibrant vinyl-tiled and gold-accented bar.

Clarke Caton Hintz, the project’s lead design and architect team, sought to emulate NSH’s rich history and unique architecture by preserving the details from the original space including the staircase railings and column plaster moldings, which have been painted gold to accentuate their details. The color scheme was carefully curated and features a bold palette of ivory, gold, jade, teal and pink, reminiscent of the 1920s iconic hues.

In addition to the Terrace Ballroom, improvements that will take place this year include the rehabilitation of the fourth-floor Arts & Education Lab and the restoration of the venue’s theaters, both of which will be led by Clarke Caton Hintz. Additionally, NSH will perform upgrades to the building’s roof, boiler, HVAC and plumbing systems.