Almost a Century of History
Born as the Salaam Temple in 1925, Newark Symphony Hall has been the home of almost a century of arts and culture in what is now New Jersey’s oldest and largest arts and entertainment venue. Shortly after our introduction into Newark’s cultural nightlife, the Salaam Temple – quickly nicknamed “The Mosque” by visitors who crossed our threshold – began to draw diverse audiences and became the epicenter of Brick City’s live entertainment scene.
The invention of talking pictures, vaudeville acts and symphony orchestras made way to include a robust cinema where audiences could enjoy the grandeur of the latest film in style. During the Great Depression, we survived the hardship of the economic downturn with new management determined to see the Mosque bolster the city’s spirit and embody her resilience. The Griffith Music Foundation, helmed by Lena Donaldson Griffith, owner of the Griffith Piano Company, recognized the power of the arts to foster our community and turned the Mosque into the powerhouse artists and entertainers of all backgrounds were eager to add to their tours.
The Performances of Legends
Whether you preferred classical music (New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein) or opera (Marian Anderson, Placido Domingo, Jerome Hines), ballet (Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, The New Jersey Ballet Company) or piano virtuosos (Victor Borge, Van Cliburn), rock ‘n roll (The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones) or R&B (Aretha Franklin, The Temptations), gospel (James Cleveland, Kirk Franklin) or songs from the Great American Songbook (Judy Garland, Tony Bennett), anyone and everyone has performed at the Hall.
And despite falling on hard times during the late 20th Century, artists continued to tread the boards of our grand stage, delighting audiences far and wide. In the last 50 years, you may have seen Gladys Knight, The O’Jays, Richard Pryor, Queen Latifah, Dick Gregory, Marilia Mendonca, Vice Ganda, Beverly Sills, Patti LaBelle, Robert Merrill and Leontyne Price command a packed house here. And we intend to keep that legacy going for the next generation of legends and legends-in-the-making.
Community Enrichment Now & Into the Future
Thanks to our invaluable educational programs and outreach, Newark Symphony Hall is where the community seeks inspiration, entertainment and guidance by the leaders, trendsetters and emerging voices in the world of the performing arts. With more than 90+ years of great entertainers, innovators, and teachers sharing their gifts within our walls, we are as committed as ever to providing an artistically rich experience for art lovers of all ages.
Staff & Board of Directors