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 SEATTLE, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Jack A. Benaroya today announced a $15.8-million donation to the Seattle Symphony, the largest gift ever made to a non-profit organization in western Washington, according to the Symphony. The donation, made through the Benaroya Foundation, will provide $15 million toward the building of a new concert hall and a grant of $400,000 per year in 1993 and 1994 toward the Symphony's annual operating expenses. The announcement was made before a cheering crowd of orchestra members, civic leaders, students, government representatives, artists, arts administrators and Seattle Symphony supporters assembled in the rehearsal hall of the Opera House.
 A new music center, estimated at $62 million, has been proposed for a site adjacent to the Seattle Center, on the north side of Mercer Street between Second and Third avenues. The 2,700-seat facility would provide a permanent home for the Seattle Symphony and would also be used by more than 15 other groups from the Puget Sound region.
 The grant from the Benaroya Foundation stipulates that ground must be broken by Dec. 31, 1996.
 "In the past, our family foundation has made major gifts in the areas of education, health care and the arts. Looking to the future of our vibrant region, we wanted to leave a meaningful legacy to its citizens, and we chose a permanent home for our great orchestra," said Benaroya.
 "The Kreielsheimer Foundation, headed originally by Charlie Osborn and now by Don Johnson, has been most generous in offering to donate the land and for funding the initial studies and plans for the building. This multimillion-dollar commitment on their part was made some years ago, and they have been gracious in extending the deadline to allow the City of Seattle additional time to show acceptable progress toward the development of the concert hall," Benaroya continued.
 "We hope that the time has come for this program to proceed and that our contribution will provide the necessary impetus. It is our sincere hope that this will encourage others to step forward with major gifts so that our great orchestra will have an appropriate new home in which to perform," Benaroya concluded.
 "Today is an extraordinary day for our community and for all of us who care about the arts -- today and for generations to come," commented Seattle Symphony Music Director Gerard Schwarz. "This concert hall is more than just a home for the Seattle Symphony. It is a music center that will be used by many musicians and for many years. It will be a place for creativity and memories that nurture our collective spirit. It will be a focus of pride in what our community values. I want to thank Jack and his family for their vision, courage and belief in giving back to the community by supporting this important project whose time has come."
 "I turned 50 yesterday, but this is certainly a birthday present worth waiting for," said Seattle Mayor Norm Rice. "This extraordinary gift will give the Symphony a good start toward its financial goals, so it can lift its sights to focus on the long-term future as a nationally and internationally renowned orchestra. And this is more than just a magnificent gift to the Seattle Symphony -- it's a gift to every person in this region. The generosity of the Benaroya family has dramatically reduced the amount of public money that will be necessary to build a new concert hall."
 Ronald B. Woodard, chairman of the Seattle Symphony board of directors, said, "This significant gift provides a great stimulus to the Symphony's capital campaign, which also includes increasing our endowment, establishing cash reserves and eliminating our accumulated deficit. Challenge grants from PONCHO and the Kreielsheimer Foundation have allowed us to make great strides toward financial stability," Woodard continued. "And while the Seattle Symphony already exemplified artistic excellence, this new hall will allow them to reach even greater heights. I have recommended to the Symphony's board of directors who have agreed unanimously that we name the concert hall in honor of the Benaroya family."
 "Like education and health care, the arts better our lives," commented violist Norma Durst, the senior member of the orchestra, now in her 45th season. "Having been involved in music education for 31 years of my life, both in the schools and privately, I have taught many children whose lives blossomed through exposure to music. I speak for all my colleagues here when I say thank you, Mr. Benaroya, for embracing what we as musicians are proud to do for our community," concluded Durst.
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 /CONTACT: Marianne Keller, director of public relations, of the Seattle Symphony, 206-443-4740/

CO: Seattle Symphony; Benaroya Foundation ST: Washington IN: ENT SU:

SW-LM -- SE003 -- 4899 05/05/93 13:12 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 5, 1993

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