April 5, 1976: Berklee Performance Center Opens
The Berklee College of Music opened its new Berklee Performance Center on April 5, 1976.
From its first days as Schillinger House, at 284 Newbury Street, the absence of a large performance space hampered Berklee. It could only cast its eyes covetously toward the New England Conservatory and its spectacular Jordan Hall. Berklee had to make do with rental space. Sometimes that was the New England Mutual Hall, but more often than not it was the John Hancock Hall, in the John Hancock Building (the one topped by the weather beacon), at Berkeley and Stuart Streets.
Berklee staged some memorable events at John Hancock Hall, such as Joe Viola’s Musical History of the Saxophone in October 1956, and the first Jazz International Concert in November 1958, showcasing Berklee’s foreign students: Toshiko Akiyoshi, Gabor Szabo, and Arif Mardin. And Berklee used the hall for commencements, speaking engagements, and other functions that attracted a crowd.
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