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San Diego Symphony Space Gets New Name

Video by Nicholas Mcvicker

In 2002, the San Diego Symphony received the largest gift ever given to a U.S. orchestra. Joan and Irwin Jacobs pledged $120 million to the Symphony. Irwin Jacobs is the co-founder and former chairman of Qualcomm.

The San Diego Symphony has a new home. It’s the same building, but it’s now called the Jacobs Music Center, in honor of an historic gift of support.

The gift stabilized an organization suffering from closures and bankruptcy.

Eleven years later, the Symphony is recognizing that support by naming its downtown location the Jacobs Music Center. Edward "Ward" Gill is the Symphony’s CEO. "Now the hall is not just a Symphony. It’s really a music center. It’s not just the sound chamber, it’s the lobby area, the box office — It's everything we have here," Gill explained.

It also includes state-of-the-art practice rooms and administrative offices. The main performance space will still be called Copley Symphony Hall.

The hall opened in 1929 and was called the Fox Theatre. It changed to Copley Symphony Hall in 1985 when Helen Copley, then publisher of The San Diego Union-Tribune, donated $2 million to help the Symphony acquire it as a permanent performance space.

The upper and lower lobbies are newly renovated. There are four new bars, food services and LED screens meant to enhance the audience experience. The plan is to add more intimate performances in the lobby spaces during the week.

The new Jacobs Music Center will be unveiled before Friday night's performance of "Gershwin's An American In Paris," part of the Jacobs Masterworks series.

The Jacobs family is also a major financial supporter of KPBS.

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