A rare peek at Boston’s long-closed subterranean concert hall

Posted on: December 13, 2013

“Steinert Hall, a state-of-the-art theater when it was constructed a century ago deep beneath Boylston Street, once attracted some of the world’s finest classical musicians. Long shuttered, it remains largely out of public sight,” writes Joseph Kahn in Friday’s (12/13) Boston Globe (subscription required). “In 1942, in the wake of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire … many buildings in Boston were either shuttered or forced to invest in expensive upgrades…. The main floor and balcony are buried in stacks of old piano components, filing cabinets, furniture, bookshelves, shipping crates, and other bric-a-brac.… Plaster walls are pockmarked with holes.… ‘It’s where old pianos come to die,’ said building manager Colman McDonagh with a weary smile…. Yet there is much fading grandeur to take in, too…. On either side of the small stage, at balcony level, wall panels bear the names of Schumann, Beethoven, Haydn, Bach, Mozart, and Schubert…. [Boston Conservatory pianist] Michael Lewin, for one, would like to see Steinert Hall’s resurrection. ‘Boston has so much great music but a dearth of great concert spaces other than Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall,’ he says…. ‘The bones of a great recital hall are still there, still fantastic. The question is, how do you salvage it?’ ”

Posted December 13, 2013