Newark Symphony Hall enjoys a long and rich cultural history as New Jersey’s oldest and largest showcase for the arts, education and entertainment programming. This
multi-facility edifice was built by the Shriners, a Masonic order, in 1925 and known as the Salaam Temple. The façade is quite imposing with its massive Ionic columns and
the interior is elegant with its sculpted marble designs with gold-leaf ornamentation in the Greek and Egyptian styles.
During the era of Vaudeville and the advent of the “talkies,” Salaam Temple was utilized as a major theater. The main hall or theater was the “Mosque” to the Shriners,
but it was not long before the building was known as “The Mosque”. The Griffith Music Foundation took over the management of the Mosque Theater around 1938. Under
the leadership of Mrs. Parker O. Griffith, complete seasons of concerts and recitals were held.
Such historic artists of genius stature, such as Arturo Toscanini, Vladimir Horowitz, Marian Anderson, William Warfield, Lily Pons and George Gershwin performed here.
The Boston and Cleveland Symphony Orchestras and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo also graced the stage of the venerable theater. Mrs. Griffith placed a great deal of
emphasis on the exposure of the youth of all races and creeds to classical music. Following the death of Mrs. Griffith, a huge loss of funding saw the Mosque fall upon
The Mosque was also the home of New Jersey’s premier musical and artistic companies, including the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey State Opera, the New
Jersey Ballet Company and the Theatre of Universal Images. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra organized the now-renowned Newark Boys Chorus, which often appeared with the
Victor Borge, Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, Richard Pryor, James Cleveland, Iyanla VanZant, Kirk Franklin, Sinbad, Queen Latifah, Gladys Knight, the Temptations,
the O’Jays and many, many more artists have performed here. Community organizations have been conducting their annual programs here at Newark Symphony Hall for
twenty-five years and more.
Great opera productions and opera stars have added yet another dimension to the history of the Hall. A roster of stars including Jerome Hines, Beverly Sills, Roberta
Peters, Leontyne Price, Robert Merrill and too many others to mention have enjoyed the great acoustics in the concert hall. “If the walls could talk, wonder what they
Throughout the season, Newark Symphony Hall looks forward to producing the best in the performing arts. The Hall welcomes you and thanks you for your continued
patronage. Newark Symphony Hall is like a fine wine – getting better with age!