June 2023 Donor Spotlight - Martha and Ed Dennis

There are many components to the art of a symphony. From the craftsmanship of each instrument and the mastery of the musician holding it, to the vision of the composer, and the skillful timing of the conductor. One crucial element that cannot be overlooked, which serves to bring all the other pieces together, is the venue. It is the venue which most excites Ed and Martha Dennis, generous supporters of the San Diego Symphony and, for Martha, lifelong fan of classical music. In her words, “having a world-class acoustical hall is a wonderful opportunity for San Diego and we feel that it will be another significant star attraction in our San Diego landscape.”

Ed and Martha have lived in San Diego since 1970. Martha was foundational in the region’s telecommunication industry and Ed has been a professor at UC San Diego since they came. In addition to supporting the San Diego Symphony, Martha served as President of The La Jolla Music Society and has supported arts and education in San Diego for decades. They have traveled the world to hear orchestras in great concert halls such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Philharmonie du Paris. “Every one of these experiences has left us with stunning and lasting memories of those uniquely special venues and the music that we heard presented in them.” When they found out about the San Diego Symphony’s plan to renovate Jacobs Music Center, they decided they had to get involved and help realize this dream for San Diego. “For me the venue really is important,” says Martha. “That is why we’re so excited about this project.”

The San Diego Symphony has brought on HGA Architecture Firm, experts in historic hall renovations, and Paul Scarbrough to oversee the acoustical performance of the renovated Jacobs Music Center. Mr. Scarbrough recently completed the new Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. The new Jacobs Music Center will have superior acoustics for both musicians and audiences and will preserve the beautiful interior design features of the original Fox Theatre. The Dennises credit the enormous support of Joan and Irwin Jacobs along with the leadership of San Diego Symphony CEO, Martha Gilmer, for bringing this project to life. “The Symphony is filling a need in San Diego with what it is providing to the public,” says Martha. “The only piece left is a full-sized indoor symphony hall with great acoustics.”

Excitement and anticipation are mounting as the grand re-opening of Jacobs Music Center approaches in November 2023. Soon the new hall will be filled with the music of beloved classical symphonies as well as a collection of new compositions debuted during the California Festival: A Celebration of New Music. The preservation and continued growth of our art form is made possible with the support of donors like the Dennis’, who share in our mission of bringing music to the City of San Diego for generations to come. “We got involved because this organization is going places,” said Martha. “We hope that people will see this as a unique opportunity and will consider participating as well.”

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